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San Jose Earthquakes Flaws Exposed in 2-0 U.S. Open Cup Loss

The Earthquakes flaws were painfully exposed in their 2-0 loss to the Portland Timbers in U.S. Open Cup play on Tuesday night.

The San Jose Earthquakes lost 2-0 to the Portland Timbers in U.S. Open Cup play Tuesday night at Providence Park. The loss not only demoralized the team, it exposed a glaring problem in the San Jose roster.

Earthquakes Flaws Exposed

For the fourth time in five years, the Quakes have lost to their first MLS opponent in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. The Quakes lost to the Seattle Sounders in 2012 and 2014, the L.A. Galaxy in 2015, and now to the Portland Timbers in 2016. In 2013, San Jose lost to the USL’s Charleston Battery. Many fans were hopeful that tonight might break that streak, but the loss in Portland revealed an ugly truth few fans wanted to admit: the Quakes cannot win without Wondo.

In the previous three games San Jose has played without forward/captain Chris Wondolowski, the Quakes are scoreless. Three straight shut-outs, one against FC Dallas and two versus the Timbers. In those games, Quakes forwards have managed 14 shots, with just two on target: Quincy Amarika has six shots with on on target, Chad Barrett has four with one on target, Adam Jahn has two shots with none on target, and designated player Innocent has two shots with none on target. This gives the Quakes forward corps a 14% shot conversion rate; atrocious for players whose responsibility is putting balls on frame.

The results shouldn’t be surprising, as the Quakes offense has shown signs of its impotence prior to Wondo’s departure. The season totals for the Quakes forwards are as follows:

2016 Shot Efficiency Season Totals

2016 Minutes Shots On Target Conversion Rate Shots per 90 Average Shots on Target  per 90 Average
Wondo 1080 29 11 37.93% 2.42 0.92
Barrett 340 7 3 42.86% 1.85 0.79
Amarikwa 824 26 7 26.92% 2.84 0.76
Innocent 172 7 1 14.29% 3.66 0.52
Jahn 173 4 1 25.00% 2.08 0.52

Wondo is the Quakes’ stalwart goal-scorer, but his success has waned as the rest of the Quakes forwards have failed to make any significant impact. Wondo began the year with 1.2 shots on goal per 90 in his first five games, but that rate has dropped to 0.92 shots on goal per 90 as teams have focused their defense on him. He had scored in seven of his first eight games, but has not found the net since April 24th.

Amarikwa has struggled: 26 shots, just seven on frame for a 26.92% conversion rate. Quincy is third in shots-on-target per 90 average, generating a measly 0.76 shots on goal per game despite being a starter. He needs to begin converting more of his shots to challenge goalkeepers. His one goal in 10 games puts him at a three total goals scored pace by season’s end.

Chad Barrett has logged 340 active minutes, and generated seven shots with three on goal, giving him an average of 1.85 shots per 90, and 0.80 shots on goal per 90. The shots he takes are effective (42.86% conversion rate), but he fails to find space to generate more than two shots per game, ranking last for Quakes forwards in shots per 90 at just 1.85.

However, the two biggest culprits to the Quakes offensive woes have to be Innocent and Adam Jahn. Innocent’s play tonight put him at 172 active minutes in 2016, of which he has generated seven shots with just one on goal, giving him an average of 3.66 shots per 90, but a horrendous 0.52 shots on goal per game, and equally horrendous conversion rate of just 14.29%. Adam Jahn, in 173 minutes of play this season (counting Tuesday’s loss) has put up four shots with one on goal, giving him an average of 2.08 shots per 90, and equaling Innocent’s egregious shots on target per 90 at just 0.52. Neither of these two seem to be producing any real threat to score.

The Quakes have struggled without Wondo, but it should be no surprise. The rest of the Quakes forwards were not effective when Wondo was on the pitch, and are equally ineffective with him off it.

Until the rest of the Earthquakes forwards prove they can be a genuine threat to score, expect teams to continue to swarm Wondo every chance they get upon his return from international duty. If the those forwards cannot be relied upon to produce offense, as they have proven during this latest three-game scoreless streak, it could be a disappointing end to the 2016 season.


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