SAN JOSE, Calif. — Following the San Jose Earthquakes’ collapse against LAFC over the weekend, coaches and players said that they were glad that their game against the New England Revolution was right around the corner. After all, the less time they had to dwell on the disappointing result, the better.
The Quakes host the Revs Wednesday night at Avaya Stadium, and as well as the sour taste of the LAFC result still fresh in their mouths, they carry the lingering odor of a five game winless streak. Earn a win against New England, and both of those unpleasantries can be washed away, and the team can enjoy its 10-day break in league action, coinciding with the start of the FIFA World Cup.
For Earthquakes head coach Mikael Stahre, who will be pulling for his native Sweden in the World Cup, the focus is on having his team prepared to face the Revolution. He wants his team to enter the break on the right track, and he has been working almost nonstop to make it happen.
“Right now, all of my time is being spent on turning this ship and working hard to find a way to improve the team,” Stahre told Pro Soccer USA. “Especially in the recent games, I think we can see some improvements, but we are not, obviously, rewarding ourselves with results.”
The Quakes have a 2-9-3 record and only 9 points — only the Colorado Rapids are in worse shape in the Western Conference — and time is running out to make anything of this season. Certainly, San Jose is far from being mathematically eliminated from rising above the playoffs line, but with so many teams to catch in the standings, it is becoming more unrealistic with every loss, especially one as demoralizing as the 4-3 setback to LAFC.
“For me, you can’t get any closer than we did last Saturday, you can’t get closer than that,” Stahre said. “We are not playing as good as we can, absolutely not, but we are not as bad as the standings show. It must turn sometimes. We can’t keep going down that path.”
After the game, Chris Wondolowski spoke about his role as captain, and the need to motivate his teammates past these challenging times. On the field, he did his part against LAFC, scoring two spectacular goals before illness forced him from the game. It was an inspirational performance, on that didn’t go unnoticed at the time.
“The spirit is good,” Stahre said, “and if you look at the effort of the guys, it was there, especially in the second half. We changed the style play in order to provoke them more, and we scored three goals at home, which must be three points.”
The Quakes could easily have hung their heads and let the loss to LAFC affect their preparation for the Revolution, but the energy level in training to start the week was encouraging. Stahre will have some lineup decisions to make, especially at left back, where Shea Salinas and Joel Qwiberg are out due to injury, and Kevin Partida will be suspended due to his red card on Saturday. He declined to tip his hand as to who will get the starting nod.
The rest of the starting eleven against the Revs will feature many familiar faces, especially on offense. Wondolowski, who pronounced himself fully healthy at training this week, looks prepared to start at forward, looking to continue the momentum he brought to the team on Saturday. If his teammates can match their captain’s level of effort and commitment, a win against New England would be a just result.
When: June 13, 7:30 p.m. Pacific Time
Where: Avaya Stadium, San Jose, CA.
Broadcast: NBC Sports Bay Area, KNBR 1050
Live Stream: ESPN+
Earthquakes injury report: Out: Shea Salinas (hamstring); Questionable: Joel Qwiberg (knee)