SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Through their first 518 league matches, the San Jose Earthquakes had never lost this big.
Now the Quakes have to find a way back from a 5-0 thrashing by FC Dallas, a defeat that represents the worst league loss in the franchise’s history, dating all the way to San Jose’s first incarnation as an MLS original club in 1996.
Coach Mark Watson wasn’t sure what, exactly, he should tell his 6-9-6 side after Dallas rookie Tesho Akindele rang up his first professional hat trick and Fabian Castillo nabbed a brace and an assist to smash the Quakes’ season-best four-game unbeaten streak.
“I’ve got to digest this and look at the video,” Watson said. “We’ll spend a lot of time going over that, because it’s very poor and it’s very disappointing. I thought this team was in a good moment. There was a good feeling about the team, and to have that kind of performance in what was a pretty important game is really deflating.”
Goalkeeper Jon Busch put things more bluntly: “They kicked our ass from minute one to minute 90.”
Castillo tormented a Quakes defense which came into the game ranked fourth in goals allowed at 1.10 per match, simply ravaging the home team time and again. The 22-year-old Colombian repeatedly carried the ball with seeming impunity into San Jose’s penalty area, zig-zagging around defenders before firing one of his eight shots on the evening.
“He’s obviously got a ton of pace, incredible individual ability,” Watson said of Castillo. “We looked at a bunch of ways of trying to stop him, and No. 1 was, prevent him from turning and running at you. Even while we’re attacking, we need to be organized, because they want to feed off of that. They want to feed off the counterattack. It wasn’t even the counterattack. We couldn’t handle him in any phase of the game. Once he’s running at you, it’s difficult, so the more you can prevent him from turning and getting the speed up, the better. We did a very poor job in all aspects of it tonight.”
The question now: Where do the Quakes go from here? With a date Wednesday at Seattle looming, San Jose’s mini-recovery after pairing Yannick Djalo with Chris Wondolowski and adding Matias Perez Garcia is in danger of dying on the vine.
“We’ve got to throw this one away,” Busch said. “It’s embarrassing. I’m embarrassed. Every one of us should be embarrassed. If I was a fan, I would be pissed off with that performance from every single one of us tonight. We’ve been on a roll and that was a kick in the nuts. It can’t happen again. It’s embarrassing.”