The funny thing about San Jose heading into the third week of the season is that I feel like I know less about them than every other team in Major League Soccer. With a Week 2 Bye, it feels like forever since the Quakes have been on the pitch.
Here's what we know:
1. Danny Hoesen is a really good. There was a lot of hype about him in the preseason and he put it on full display in match number one. Both of his goals were of extreme importance (the opener and the game winner), and he made good on all the promise he showed in 2017. Now, I'm not expecting a brace from Hoesen every game, but when a guy like Chris Wondolowski (you might know of him) says you have a chance of being a golden boot winner, you pay attention. Speaking of Wondo...
2. Wondo made the biggest play of the game. Yes, Hoesen had the two goals, Vako had an assists, as well as a goal, but Wondo started the entire sequence by causing the turn over that led to the assist on the Vako goal. The second goal, in less than a minute, that gave the Quakes a 2-0 lead. Right then and there, the entire complexion of the game changed. You can credit Vako for burying the cross, or Hoesen for being a beautiful shield, but it was Wondo's tenacity that made the entire play happen. The Quakes ran a beautiful press that created havoc in their favor, but it also created havoc distinctly NOT in their favor.
3. The Quakes looked gassed at the end. Was it a result of the high press? I don't know. I also don't know if it was because it was week one, or if it was because Minnesota finally woke up and decided to go full tilt for the last ten minutes. All I do know is that the Quakes tanks were on empty when the game ended. Nick Lima, he of endless energy and speed, went down looking pained when the final whistle sounded. That was unusual to see. The other thing to note is that Minnesota, in light of a huge Week 2 win on the road in Orlando, may have been better than we give them credit for. I say "may have" due to the unfortunate loss of Kevin Molino due to a season ending injury.
4. Walking away with a point in KC is going to be big. I'm not saying Sporting Kansas City is some super team (they're not), or that they won’t score four goals for a second consecutive week (do you remember SJ on the road last year?), but going into Children's Mercy Park and leaving with a point would be big. I want the Quakes to win, don't get me wrong, but I also know when and how to be realistic, and this is one of those instances. SKC is coming off an amazing blown lead, comeback win over the Fire. They have an excellent head coach in Peter Vermes. They have two DPOYs in their back line. They have Graham Zusi on their back line. They now have a very dangerous DP by the name of Felipe Gutierrez (he had the game opening and game winning goal this past Saturday). In the paraphrased words of Andy Edwards of prosoccertalk.com, "...he was immediately the best player on the field for SKC." Everything about this team, combined with the Quakes recent road history makes me think a point would be just fine.
5. We're probably not the only ones thinking about what happened on the road last year to San Jose. It was brutal. Defeats of that nature take a while to exorcise. Yes, it is a new year, but it has to be on the minds of a lot of the guys who'll be taking the pitch on Saturday, especially those populating the defense.
6. We're still not going to know much about the Quakes when Sunday morning comes around. Win, lose, or draw, it will still only be the second game of the season. Going to SKC is a tremendously difficult task no matter who you are. Don't expect the Quakes to be as aggressive in the press, and don't expect three goals. This is a 1-1, 1-0, or 0-0 type game. It won't be pretty, it won't be beautiful, it won't be filled with goals.
Or maybe it will be a beautiful 3-2 game of back and forth soccer, wide open. I don't know. I mean, I just wrote an entire article telling you that we still don't know what this team is and or isn't. That's fine, though, that's why we play the games. Let's get learnin', let's get a "W." See y'all in KC.