Philadelphia Union beat San Jose Earthquakes: Yueill regret this

Jackson Yueill (Photo by John Todd/ISI Photos/Getty Images)
Jackson Yueill (Photo by John Todd/ISI Photos/Getty Images) /

After three games in the 2022 MLS  season, not much is clear. But one thing is: Jackson Yueill is not a center back. Nathan’s injury absence and Jamiro Monteiro’s suspension hindered the San Jose Earthquakes’ chances of getting a result on the road at Subaru Park. The stage was all but set for Jim Curtin to clinch his 100th victory as Philadelphia Union head coach.

Had Matías Almeyda started Tanner Beason, a less experienced player but a proven MLS quality center back, alongside Francisco Calvo, Philadelphia could’ve still won this game. But Beason might’ve done better closing out Sergio Santos than Jackson Yueill. That sequence was akin to how badly Gareth Bale burned Maicon in that infamous UEFA Champions League game.

Handballs are always dicey and I don’t like overly criticizing players who concede them, but tonight it happened to Jackson Yueill. That’s direct responsibility for both goals the Earthquakes conceded. Yueill has had a difficult past 12 months with poor USMNT performances and his form for the Quakes being inconsistent at best. Now being asked to play out of position just gives him another hurdle that he hasn’t cleared.

Jackson Yueill is not a center back

The problems do not stop there, particularly offensively. Philadelphia boasts one of the best defensive structures in MLS. Andre Blake is a top-tier goalkeeper, their backline is filled with capable pros albeit with some contributions from homegrown player Nathan Harriel.

Before you can test any of those five, you have to get through Venezuelan international Jose Martinez. The truth is, this could’ve been an average MLS defense and they still would’ve barely struggled against the offensive effort shown by the Quakes. San Jose has yet to score from open play this season, their four goals consisting of one penalty and three set-piece situations. Set-piece goals can complement an offense but they cannot be the entire offense.

While the Union suffers some issues offensively as well, largely due to the lack of availability from their four strikers due to injuries and suspensions, they’ve managed to surround whichever attacking options appear for them with good service from the midfield and fullbacks. Marcos López and Cristian Espinoza have not been able to do the same for Jeremy Ebobisse so far this season.

Ultimately, this game exemplified why these two clubs are where they are despite the respectable pedigree of their managers. Jim Curtin’s tactics suit his personnel more than Matías Almeyda’s. Philadelphia Union aims to contend for the Eastern Conference, Supporter’s Shield, and MLS Cup titles, while the San Jose Earthquakes merely target stability and respectability (with neither appearing close).

While Union captain Alejandro Bedoya aims to lead his team to glory, Quakes captain Jackson Yueill might have more on his plate than he can handle. Moving him back to center midfield and choosing one of him or Ján Greguš might not be Plan A, but it can help.

Quick Match Report

Saturday, March 12, 2022 4:30 ET

Philadelphia Union 2-0 San Jose Earthquakes

Union Lineup (4-1-2-1-2; Jim Curtin)

GK: Andre Blake (JAM)

RB: Nathan Harriel (HG)

CB: Jakob Glesnes (NOR)

CB: Jack Elliott (ENG)

LB: Kai Wagner (GER)

CDM: Jose Martinez (VEN)

RM: Alejandro Bedoya (USA) (c)

CAM: Daniel Gazdag (HUN)

LM: Leon Flach (USA)

ST: Corey Burke (JAM)

ST: Sergio Santos (BRA)

Used Subs

68’ Paxton Aaronson (HG) for Burke

82’ Quinn Sullivan (HG) for Gazdag

90’ Matthew Real (HG) for Flach

Earthquakes Lineup (4-1-4-1; Matías Almeyda)

GK: JT Marcinkowski (HG)

RB: Paul Marie (FRA)

CB: Jackson Yueill (USA) (c)

CB: Francisco Calvo (CRC)

LB: Marcos López (PER)

CDM: Eric Remedi (ARG)

RM: Cristian Espinoza (ARG) (DP)

CM: Chofis López (MEX) (DP)

CM: Ján Greguš (SVK)

LM: Benji Kikanovic (BIH/USA)

ST: Jeremy Ebobisse (CMR/USA)

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68’ Ousseni Bouda (BFA) for Kikanovic and Will Richmond (HG) for Marie

77’ Niko Tsakiris (HG) for Chofis

86’ Tommy Thompson (HG) for Espinoza