SAN JOSE, Calif. – Mark Watson’s first instinct was correct.
The San Jose Earthquakes coach said Saturday he would need some time to digest what went wrong in his club’s 5-0 debacle of a loss at the hands of FC Dallas. But he did point out the obvious in his first answer to the media that evening.
“Defensively, it wasn’t acceptable,” he said. “You can’t defend like that at this level and expect to have any chance of getting a result.”
After 36 hours to stew on San Jose’s biggest defeat in 519 MLS matches, Watson didn’t alter his initial stance on how things unraveled so quickly and totally.
“More than anything, after looking at the game … we gave them the opportunities to score goals,” Watson told reporters after training Monday. “In the end, they had the quality to take their chances and punish us for our mistakes, but they came from our mistakes. … It was a major part of the game.”
The night was rough on all of the San Jose defenders, but perhaps no one had it tougher than Victor Bernardez. The Honduran international wore a clear plastic face mask to protect his nose, which had been broken the previous weekend against LA Galaxy, and seemed little like the player who has been a mainstay of the Quakes’ defense since arriving from Anderlecht in 2012.
First, Bernardez’s attempted pass ricocheted off an FC Dallas player to spring Fabian Castillo for the game’s initial tally. He was then left on his knees by a spin move from Tesho Akindele before the rookie slotted home the first of his three goals on the night.
“I think the mask is uncomfortable,” Watson said. “I don’t know exactly how much it affected him, but he didn’t seem like himself on Saturday.”
It’s not clear if he’ll be himself by Wednesday, when the Quakes travel to Seattle (10 pm ET; MLS Live). That’s one of a couple of questions along the backline that Watson will have to answer before lining up against the Sounders, who still lead the Supporters’ Shield race in terms of points per match.
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The Quakes are hoping veteran Shaun Francis, who helped stabilize the right back spot in recent weeks, will be able to return Wednesday after suffering a bruised left leg in a first-half collision against Dallas. The Jamaican had to come off after 13 minutes, replaced by Brandon Barklage.
Whoever lines up against the Sounders won’t need to look far for motivation.
“This team has to show their resolve,” Watson said. “I know everyone’s hurting today. We need to take that and have it motivate us because it was an embarrassing night for us. They paid good money to see the game, and it wasn’t acceptable. And we all feel that. We need a good response Wednesday night.”