Riding an improved run of form that has them above the playoff line, the San Jose Earthquakes didn't quite get the result they wanted in Sunday's 0-0 draw with the Seattle Sounders.
Still, head coach Matias Almeyda said he still came away from the match seeing more signs of improvement in going toe-to-toe with a team that drubbed them 7-1 last time they met in September. After Sunday's match, Almeyda said he feels as though the Sounders are the best team in MLS, and have who he considers to be the league's best player on their roster in star playmaker Nicolas Lodeiro.
While the Sounders were without star striker Raul Ruidiaz in the contest, San Jose still managed a clean sheet with Lodeiro and fellow star attacker Jordan Morris still in the lineup.
"There are a lot of positive things [to take from the game]," Almeyda said. "From my way of seeing football we played against the best team in the league, against a team that scored seven goals on us not long ago. A team whose coach I respect greatly and I think they have the best player in the league in Lodeiro. They really had an intelligent game, the players had a magnificent delivery, where you couldn’t tell they played four days ago. I believe with this concentration, with this attitude, and this mobility, that this is a team we like to see and want to see."
Highlights: San Jose 0, Seattle 0
Asked what strides he's seen since that 7-1 beatdown at CenturyLink Field, Almeyda attributed it to confidence and unity within the group that has seen the Quakes slowly but surely work their way back into the playoff mix.
“I think that the players have regained their confidence and we have worked hard to be able to compete again,” Almeyda said. “It wasn't easy to get back up after so many losses and conceding so many goals. We insisted, based on our path, to recognize that when the team is doing bad, they suffer, but when they are united and play as a team, they compete.
“I think we now see a team that works hard, where everyone runs and everyone plays. The players now play with a confidence that they didn't have a month ago. I hope they can keep this momentum, stay calm, and strive for more.”