San Jose Earthquakes stay focused on playoff quest despite Toronto blowout

TORONTO – If the San Jose Earthquakes are looking to continue their push for a playoff spot, they will most likely want to put Saturday's 4-0 loss to Toronto FC far out of their mind.

The loss to the league leaders kept San Jose one point below the playoff line, helped by sixth-place FC Dallas' loss in Atlanta on Sunday. And though Dallas do hold a game in hand over the Quakes, rookie goalkeeper Andrew Tarbell – who made his fifth straight start in goal thinks the Quakes have what it takes to bounce back and book a first postseason berth for the club since 2012.

“[It was] a tough one. Whenever you concede four goals it’s not the best defensive performance,” he said after the game. “We’ll look to bounce back. We’ve got plenty of games left. We’re still on that line to make the playoffs.”

In addition to the overall team performance, Tarbell himself had an evening to forget and took fault for the first goal, where he misjudged the flight of Steven Beitashour's cross, losing it in the setting sun and allowing it to fall for Victor Vazquez, who found the back of the unguarded net.

“I’m not going to make excuses for myself,” said Tarbell. “I misread it; misjudged it. My fault on that first goal. [And] we couldn’t bounce back from it.”

The 23-year old keeper did come up with a massive double save late – on Jonathan Osorio and Justin Morrow – to prevent further embarrassment, but as Quakes coach Chris Leitch said of his young keeper, “I think Tarbell has better nights in him.”

Now, Tarbell, Leitch and the Earthquakes must turn their focus to the remaining six matches of the regular season, where they will aim to put this rough patch of form behind them.

The side had hoped that a 3-0 defeat of the LA Galaxy at the StubHub Center on August 27, a result that snapped a three-game winless run, would be a turning point, but after the international break their struggles on the road once again came back to haunt them.

Even with the shutout in LA, San Jose have conceded 13 goals in their last five matches, including the 4-0 loss to Toronto and another to Real Salt Lake prior to the win in Southern California.

Given that it hasn't mattered which 'keeper starts – in three matches at Atlanta United, the New York Red Bulls, and the Seattle Sounders in July, San Jose with David Bingham in net conceded 12 goals – what ails the San Jose defense runs beyond who is between the posts. Their 48 goals against is third-worst in the league; a goal-differential of -17 is similarly ranked.

The solution?

“Right back into training tomorrow,” said Tarbell. “Get ready for our home game against Houston.”