Facing the Charleston Battery in the Open Cup's third round on Tuesday, the Quakes offered up more of the same as they have during their current 1-4-5 funk in MLS play: enough offensive industry to win, but lacking in that final touch of artistry to dent to the back of the net.
San Jose outshot the Battery 9-8 and held a 7-1 advantage in corner kicks, yet never found any reward in a 1-0 loss to the USL PRO side.
“You look at the game as a whole, we missed a ton of chances again,” Quakes coach Frank Yallop said. “They stuck to the task, stopped us from scoring and, in the end, got their goal. Disappointing. We knew it was going to be a tough game, but we’ve got to soldier on. We’ve got to keep going.”
For the most part, Charleston adroitly absorbed San Jose’s pressure, frustrating a Quakes side that desperately wanted to ditch the tired, familiar script – yet found itself unable to craft a new ending.
“I thought we controlled the game in the first half and we tried to come out and get one in the second half and we just couldn’t do it,” Quakes midfielder Shea Salinas said. “They were difficult to break down. We tried to move the ball side to side and get them out of their shape, but you have to give them credit, they played well. I think next time in a game like this, we need to be a little more patient.”
Arriving in South Carolina directly from a 1-0 loss in Dallas on Saturday, Yallop opted for fresh legs at nine spots, and one set in particular made a large impact at both ends. With Jason Hernandez still banged up and Nana Attakora and Ty Harden unavailable due to injury, defensive midfielder Brad Ring lined up at center back alongside holdover Victor Bernardez.
Ring nearly put San Jose on the board with their best chance of the first half, a well-struck back-post header off a free kick from wide on the right wing in the 22nd minute, but Charleston goalkeeper Odisnel Cooper slid across just in time to parry the chance.
And the Quakes’ chances of pulling out a late goal dwindled when Ring was sent off in the 75th minute for knocking over Battery striker Dane Kelley as the pair chased down a long countering pass from Charleston.
Even so, San Jose nearly forced overtime when Chris Wondolowski – who came on in the 58th minute in a bid to keep him fresh – took a free kick in second-half stoppage time that found the woodwork. It was close enough to tantalize the Quakes, yet still so far away from getting them the result they desired.
“They shut us out, and any time you shut someone out, you have a good chance of winning,” Quakes forward Steven Lenhart said. “I think we need to believe in each other, and just tie together every part of our game.”