The Earthquakes are fit to be tied.
And frankly they are too good to be tied twice in two home games. A 3-3 result with Chivas USA Saturday followed a 2-2 game with the New England Revolution a week before. What is really eating at the Quakes is the fact that in both games they had late leads. They had a 2-1 lead over the Revs and gave it up in the last 20 minutes (There was that little matter of playing a man down for 20 minutes). They had battled back to take a 3-2 lead against Chivas and gave it up in second half stoppage time.
"We were two or three minutes away from feeling fantastic about the effort," said left back and captain Wade Barrett. "And now we have a long week ahead of us. It's hard to stomach right now."
On Saturday afternoon it was a good news and not-so-good news day for the fans. It was 90 plus minutes of soccer entertainment on a sunny, windy day at Spartan Stadium. The Quakes were down 1-0 and 2-1 before taking the late lead; both the Quakes fans and the Chivas fans were having a good time. Then the Quakes blew the late one-goal lead and the fans were sent home one more time having watched the team leave a couple of points on the field.
"That is four points over the last two games we feel like we've given away," Barrett said.
Two home games to open the season, two late leads blown, and for these guys, a big fat knot in their stomach.
"Sorely disappointing doesn't begin to describe it," said the veteran center back Troy Dayak. "It's painful, very painful. We're very young and I'm making mistakes as well. We're not doing the right things to close out the games."
Even the young left wing Brad Davis, after scoring a goal and dishing out two assists in the tie with Chivas, couldn't help but talk about the big fish that they threw back into the lake.
"You go through such an emotional high," he said, "and then an emotional low and that's what we're leaving with, the low part."
When Dominic Kinnear and Alexi Lalas acquired Davis from Dallas they expected him to be much better than his two-goal/two-assist season in 2004. Davis now has a goal and three assists in two games in black and blue.
"It feels great. When I came here they expected me to make an impact. Whoever it is making the impact, if you don't come away with three points it's going to hurt."
There they go again. These guys can't talk about the good things happening with a team that has scored five goals in two games without talking about the five goals they've allowed, and two games they let get away.
"Extremely frustrating," says Brian Ching, who has scored twice on Brad Davis assists early this season. "It's something we're going to have to remedy soon."
And there's a chance to take care of matters Saturday in Chicago.
For those of you who will watch it on FSN Bay Area and listen on 1590 KLIV (in Ray Hudson's debut as Quakes color analyst), one can only hope this week's game is as thoroughly entertaining as the first two games of the season.
"We battled and battled and battled and got ourselves back in the game," said Davis, who has been one of the lead actors in this drama for two weeks. "We went up 3-2, did the hard part and then fell asleep on a set piece. We can't do that late in the game."
Five goals up and five goals down, that's the story of the 2005 season so far. Two points after two home games just isn't good enough by any standard.
"We just aren't playing very intelligently," said Dayak, who along with Ching and Davis scored the goals for San Jose on Saturday.
Good teams learn from their mistakes, and this is a good team. And a team that - for better or worse - makes it interesting to the very end. Stay tuned ... until the whistle blows for the very last time.
John Shrader has been the voice of the Earthquakes since 1996 and has worked in television and radio in the Bay Area for the past 20 years.