The 3252 Breakdown - San Jose

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Well that was an insane game! Back and forth, I felt all the emotions in 90 minutes. Let’s get into the 3252 breakdown! 

 

3 THINGS THAT WENT WELL AGAINST THE EARTHQUAKES

 

1.     The amount of pressure that we added towards San Jose. They never looked comfortable in their own half, giving up the ball frequently. This ended up leading toward our second goal of the game. The pressure also created the Earthquakes to get panicky and miss some easy tackles. We got into their heads early, never allowing them to get into a rhythm. 

2.     For the first time possibly all season, we OWED the midfield. San Jose had no answer to Nguyen or Feilhaber or Kaye. It was really refreshing to see the number of passes and control within the middle third. 

3.     Fighting until the very end. After we went down 3-2, I was worried that the wheels were going to come off. With our main leaders gone, I didn’t know who was going to push the Black & Gold to come away with some points. While I still don’t know who pushed everyone on the pitch, it was obvious that we were not going to quit. 

 

2 THINGS WE NEED TO WORK ON

 

1.     Transition passing. We had some major opportunities to have a great counter attack against San Jose, but our passing on the run let us down. If we could connect a pass or two more, we easily could have had some more chances on goal. 

2.     Committing towards goal when we are in the final third. I know we are missing Ureña and Vela, but we need to make sure that in the next month plus, we are able to move the ball towards the box and actually take the shots on goal. There were a couple of times in which we missed out on our chance to go forward and challenge the Earthquakes goalie, instead just passing the ball around the box. Take the shot, boys! We all know you can hit the target!

 

5 KEY MOMENTS OF THE MATCH

 

1.     San Jose’s first goal. It was at this moment I truly realized how much we were going to miss Ciman during his World Cup absence. One of the most howler goals we have allowed so this season and might be the worst we allow all year (spoiler: just wait for point 3). Defense broke down and the Earthquakes took advantage. 

2.     Beitashour’s goal in the 19th minute! Our boys in black and gold had gone down 1-0 early and unfairly. We had held the possession and controlled the tempo of the game but ended up giving away a pretty awful goal. To score 2 goals in a manner of minutes gave us the confidence in order to pressure San Jose and not change our game plan. 

3.     Tyler Miller’s awful give up goal in the 62nd minute. In a game in which I thought we gave away the worst goal in franchise history, I was shown up in the second half. Miller HAS to understand that one of the best goal scores in MLS history was going to be pressuring him. He HAS to get rid of the ball, even if it goes out of play. A throw-in is always better than a goal. 

4.     Dio’s equalizer. LAFC had a free kick in the 90th minute and all we needed was a goal to split the points. Kovar’s free kick into the box missed everyone, but Rossi never gave up on the play. He threw it back into the box, Zimmerman passed it back, and Dio didn’t miss this one, and placed it into the back of the net.  1 point is better than 0 points! (So I thought)

5.     THE WINNER! There has always been an aspect to Bob Bradley’s teams where ever he coaches, and that’s the grit and determination that his teams always have. He had it in 1998 with the Chicago Fire, he had it with his various national teams, especially the United States, and now, we are starting to see it with LAFC. Not only to get an equalizer, but to also get a winner, digging deep and pulling it out, it’s just extraordinary. A perfect high to go into a 10-day break. Also, 3 points is better than 1 point! 

 

2 KEY PLAYERS

 

1.     Dio. 2 goals in the game allowed us to stay in it. He is also doing exactly what a striker should be doing, stalking the goal and placing himself exactly where he can get a clean shot at goal. First goal was a bit of luck, but the second goal was what I expected when we signed him. Since we won, we’ll just forget about the miss in the 69th minute. 

2.     Lee Nguyen.  This is the game in which I knew we found our central mid. It’s been a glaring hole all season long, but finally, we had a lot of cohesion in that part of the field. Nguyen was moving the ball cleanly and had some great balls into the box. He also got to join the exclusive 50-50 club for MLS. He put away his 50th assist on the winner, making that goal just a little bit sweeter. 

 

In the end, 3 points on the road is always going to be great, especially when are coming into a 10-day break for the World Cup. I have new found confidence for the next month while our main superstars are trying to bring glory to their home countries. Enjoy the 3 points and stay golden!  

 

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