Millions of Americans are wrapping up their tax filings this weekend.
In that same spirit, the San Jose Earthquakes would like to take a giant write-off.
There wasn’t much the Quakes could say after absorbing a 3-0 walloping from New York that was almost matched in strength by the pelting rain at Red Bull Arena. With the match basically decided after 15 minutes on a pair of goals by Red Bulls forward Luke Rodgers, the only thing left for San Jose (1-2-2) to do was initiate a memory dump and try to recapture their higher-quality form of earlier this season.
“It’s one kind of hiccup,” Quakes defender Chris Leitch told MLSsoccer.com. “I think when we look at tape, we’re going to be pissed off at ourselves that we could (have done) a whole lot more.
“Even though guys were mad and disappointed in the locker room, I know the spirit of this group. We’re going to rebound … We’ve just got to let this game go.”
That should be easy enough, since the Quakes never really had a handle on the match from the opening whistle. New York places a similar value on quality ball possession as the Quakes do, and on Saturday the Red Bulls were dominant in that area.
San Jose had barely gotten a handful of touches on the ball when New York forced a corner kick from the left side in the second minute. Rafa Márquez’s delivery deflected to the far post, where Dane Richards pounded it into the slick turf.
Rodgers was released by his marker, Quakes back Jason Hernandez, when the ball was arching high over the goalmouth. Nobody picked up the slack, so Rodgers was left all alone to snap-head home the goal from four yards out.
Things got worse in the 15th when Thierry Henry dispossessed – or nudged, depending on your point of view – Quakes captain Ramiro Corrales deep in the San Jose end. Henry’s perfectly placed ball set up Rodgers for a right-footed tap-in, again from four yards.
A team with as much high-priced talent as New York is going to create chances on their own -- as the Red Bulls did in the 87th minute, to finally bring Henry’s scoring drought to an end. That’s why you can’t afford to give them any extra help if you want to come away with points from RBA.
“The first two (goals) that killed the game off were basically our poor play,” Quakes coach Frank Yallop told MLSsoccer.com “You’ve got to cut out the silly mistakes, especially in a game like this. I think that we’ll find out what we’re made of mentally, because we’ve got to now perform. We’ve got to win (next Saturday) against Chivas.”
In the meantime, the Quakes will try to answer the question of where their motivation slipped off to. Perhaps it was washed away by the driving rain in which the game was staged. Whatever the case, San Jose certainly lacked spark in all areas of the pitch.
“You try to put your finger on it, (but) it’s got to come from within,” Yallop said. “You’ve got to start the game like it’s the last game you’re going to play, every game.
“What it is is desire and fight and heart. It’s doing it from minute 1 to minute 90, and making sure that you are accountable.”
Geoff Lepper covers the Earthquakes for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at email@example.com. On Twitter: @sjquakes