After a disappointing draw at home, the feeling of a lost opportunity to put some distance between them and the Houston Dynamo surrounded Avaya Stadium.
The game is over now and so are the thoughts about it as Quakes (1-2-2) take their show on the road to visit Orlando City FC (3-1-2) for an interconference clash Saturday.
Head coach Mikael Stahre made changes to the side that started the first four games Last Saturday against Houston (1-2-2), selecting some of the younger players along with adding a midfielder in place for a forward. The goal was to afford his club more possession against the fast, counter-attacking Dynamo.
Things started out great for the Quakes as they took an early 1-0 lead but simple mistakes, along with sloppy passing plagued San Jose, causing them to lose another second-half lead — their third in a row — having to settle for the 2-2 draw at home.
It wasn’t good enough, but overall coach Stahre was not too down on the performance. Despite the two goals allowed, one great one, and one truly unlucky after a bad give away and deflection, they still gained a point. He said:
“If you look back on the previous game, I think we handled the pure defensive work, quite well actually, very few conceded chances.”
Fullback Nick Lima shared Stahre’s observation:
“Even in this last game, they are fixable errors. It’s not like we’re getting beat athletically, the errors are fixable things.”
The Quakes play the next two weeks on the road for the first time this season and hope to be back towards the middle of the Western Conference when they return. Stahre wants these road trips to be just like any other games:
“The most important thing about being on the road is to have a clear game plan, to focus on the tactical and technical things. That’s the most important thing. That keeps us stable. We can’t change the traveling so we must focus purely on the game in possession and after possession. The performances are everything and that’s the focus.”
Orlando City is ranked in the top-half of the league in possession with 52.4 percent, and are also scintillating form. The Lions are the only team in the league to win their last three contests after a slow start where they only gained one point through three games.
Part of that great form has been the return of leading scorer Dominic Dwyer. After missing the first three games of the season, the forward has scored four of the Lions nine goals during a current three-game win streak, including game-winners in last two games. The Lions currently sit tied for third place in the Eastern Conference with 10 points.
On facing Orlando City Lima Said:
“They are a good team, but I don’t think they’re a team we can’t go into their house and get a victory against. With a team that’s going to have a lot of possession, we need to stay compact and can’t get spread out. Staying organized, especially on the road and putting the pressure on and keeping them on their heels will be extremely important.”
The Quakes enjoyed their highest possession of the season against the Dynamo having the ball 56.3 percent of the time, but Stahre isn’t counting on having the same amount of possession, or having to bunker up and counter for that matter, rather, taking the game as it comes:
“We can’t travel to Orlando to just sit back, and hope to score twice in 5 minutes, and we can’t travel there and be naive thinking you’ll possess the ball 85 percent so you must find a balance. They are a quality team and they have good individual players. They are challenging, but it’ll be a fun game to play.”
Whether it be against Orlando, Columbus, or any other team, the next steps Stahre hopes to implement have been worked on the practice pitch:
“Next step now is to handle the ball better in the midfield in order to create chances. I think we are still good in the last 40 yards of the field. My job is to find a way to play there more.”
The Quakes will be on the road facing Eastern Conference foes for the next two weeks. After their matchup against Orlando City FC on Saturday, San Jose will visit the Columbus Crew (3-1-3) at Mapfre Stadium on April 28, before returning home to Avaya Stadium for their Cinco De Mayo clash against the struggling Portland Timbers (1-2-3).