The San Jose Earthquakes had one big thing going for them when they took on the New York Red Bulls Wednesday evening — they were on 10 days rest having last played a truly competitive match on July 10 in U.S. Open Cup action.
Unfortunately for the Quakes, they failed to take advantage of that in losing to the Red Bulls 5-1 — definitely not the return to the pitch they were hoping for.
Here are five takeaways from a Wednesday evening, lopsided loss to NYR.
— The Quakes had no answer for Sacha Kljestan. The Red Bulls midfielder, who frequented the U.S. Men’s National Team roster at one point, was not called to international duty for the ongoing FIFA Gold Cup and San Jose paid the price for that — the man finessed the Quakes to death on Wednesday evening, factoring in three New York goals with his use of spacing in the Red Bulls midfield.
— There were a couple of big debuts for San Jose. First, newly signed designated player Valeri Qazaishvili — who the MLS world is calling Vako — made his league debut when in he came as a substitute for Danny Hoesen at halftime. The Georgian native showed flashes with his early touch, but never really factored in the game until the 88th minute when he scored the Quakes’ lone goal on a volley tap courtesy of a nifty Jahmir Hyka cross. It’s a nice debut on the scoresheet, but San Jose is expecting DP-esque things from the Georgian.
— And second, welcome back, Quincy Amarikwa. The forward has been sidelined since September of 2016 when he suffered ACL and LCL damage that required surgery. Amarikwa has been documenting his recovery on social media and surprised Quakes fans when he make his on-pitch return last week in a friendly against Germany’s Eintracht Frankfurt. On Wednesday, he made his official return in the 76th minute. Amarikwa has nine goals and seven assists in 41 career appearances with the Quakes.
— It definitely wasn’t the homecoming head coach Chris Leitch was hoping for. Leitch played for five seasons over with the New York club. He made 101 appearances for the Metrostars/Red Bulls, assisting on five goals during his career.
He’s now 0-1-0 as an opposing head coach.
— It’s unfair to nitpick on a single defensive effort, given that soccer is a team sport, but the Red Bulls attacked center back Andres Imperiale often Wednesday afternoon — and more often than not, they were rewarded with a scoring opportunity. It’s the second straight poor showing on the road for the Quakes defense as a whole after surrendering a four-spot to Atlanta United FC on Independence Day.