How’d 2013 Treat ‘Em: 14-11-9 (W-L-T), 35 gf, 42 ga; 6th in the West
There are times I think San Jose is one of the least popular teams in MLS. Given the way they play – e.g. direct and physical – that’s not so surprising. Throw in a player like Steven Lenhart, the big blonde git who gets under people’s skin like a friggin’ boss, and, y’know, small wonder. They won some “darling props” in 2012 with the Goonies schtick, but that style of play wore thin in 2013 when the drama went missing. The surprising thing about their 2013: San Jose’s trouble with scoring. Look at that number up top and consider that Wondolowski scored nearly that many all on his lonesome in 2012. The defensive numbers were decent, so that issue with scoring probably tells the tale. Know what the crazy thing is? Put the ‘Quakes in the East with as many points and they’re in playoffs right next to New England and Houston. Funny. And it tells another tale.
Exciting Additions! – Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi, Tommy Thompson, Andreas Gorlitz
Tricky Departures… – Justin Morrow, Rafael Baca, Marvin Chavez, Steven Beitashour (and a lot more)
Quality Parts: Victor Bernardez, Clarence Goodson, Steven Lenhart, Shea Salinas, Chris Wondolowski
It Gets Better If They Come Good: Sam Cronin, Alan Gordon, Gorlitz, Atiba Harris, Jason Hernandez, Thompson,
What I’d Expect Based on the Above:
I heard a podcast today – Soccer By Ives’ thing – and the analysis there focused on how little fresh blood the ‘Quakes brought in, or rather how thin that blood was. I know nothing about Pierazzi or Gorlitz, and I’m not going to learn jack from a highlight reel, so I can’t say much about the additions. I do know, however, what the ‘Quakes gave up – e.g. a crap-load of their wing play in the form of Beitashour, Morrow and Chavez. No, Baca didn’t have a 2013 like his 2012, but he had…capabilities. Those all count as losses. Though, again, something didn’t work last year, so… In their favor, San Jose has a rock-solid central defensive pairing; I rate Bernardez with just about anybody so long as he keeps his head. And Jon Busch, who really should be somewhere above, provides steady service in goal. They’re not lacking for good personnel, then, but it does all look somewhat…limited on paper. That wouldn’t be such a big deal if, as noted above, the ‘Quakes didn’t play in the West. They do, though. I count something like one free spot in there – and San Jose’s going to have play very well in 2014 to claim it. That said, I expect their lack of depth gets exposed fairly early in.
2014 Season Opener: v. RSL, March 15