This game would force the San Jose Earthquakes to literally and figuratively face the music, as Music City’s soccer club presented the next challenge in their quest for the first win of the 2022 season.
The Earthquakes know Anibal Godoy well from his five seasons in the Bay Area spanning 2015 to 2019, and feature top quality players in attack such as Hany Mukhtar and defense in captain Walker Zimmerman. The drama and uncertainty surrounding Matías Almeyda’s future loomed large going into this match.
Fittingly, rather than a complete collapse or a stunning performance, the Earthquakes delivered an on brand chaotic game with ups and downs and the visitors were happy to add to this narrative. Whatever music this game would represent, the players would meet it with a mosh pit, not unlike what transpired in Houston last week.
Both sides welcomed back key players for this fixture. Dax McCarty returned from his two game suspension earned for his foul and stepping back on Real Salt Lake’s Bode Davis, while Nathan made his first appearance since having to be taken off due to an ongoing injury in San Jose’s season opener against the New York Red Bulls.
San Jose Earthquakes played out a thriller against Nashville SC
Hany Muhktar initially stole the show and came close to scoring when Paul Marie dove to provide a goal saving block with JT Marcinkowski caught off his line. That should have provided ample warning for the San Jose Earthquakes to get organized defensively. Instead, Mukhtar’s next run would be met unchallenged. His pace and skill on full display, he left his opponents in his wake and finished in the bottom left corner.
Luckily for San Jose, Jeremy Ebobisse stepped up once again. Mukhtar and Ebobisse exchanged shots and goals like two evenly matched tennis rivals. At times, it felt like everyone else faded to the background. The end result was a stalemate that Nashville will feel slightly better about as the road warriors approach their long awaited home debut in 2022 on May 1st against Philadelphia Union. Before then, they take on LA Galaxy in the next MLS matchweek.
Nashville got thrust into the Western Conference via Charlotte FC’s introduction, which made an already stacked conference even more daunting. San Jose Earthquakes started this season with a low probability of making it to the playoffs, and with only 3 points in the first 7 games in the season (even if they came in multi goal thrilling draws), that percentage is pretty close to 0%. While Nashville will look to improve their set piece defending, the Quakes need to step their defending game up all around. They’ll get a boost with Nathan back (although Marcos López is out with injury) but hosting Seattle Sounders next will test this club’s resolve even further.
When you face the music, you’re not going to like the song that plays on the radio. You can either wait to get a win like a caller entering a radio contest, or you can try writing a new song. Whether or not Matías Almeyda will be in the studio to record it feels less certain as each day passes.
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Quick Match Report
Saturday, April 16, 2022 12:30 pm PST
San Jose Earthquakes 2-2 Nashville SC
38′ 0-1 Hany Mukhtar (Godoy)
52′ 1-1 Jeremy Ebobisse
63′ 1-2 Mukhtar (Sapong, Romney)
72′ 2-2 Ebobisse (Greguš)
21′ Cowell, 51′ Lovitz, 90+5′ Haakenson
Earthquakes Lineup (4-1-4-1; Matías Almeyda)
GK: JT Marcinkowski (USA/HG)
RB: Paul Marie (FRA)
CB: Nathan (BRA)
CB: Francisco Calvo (CRC)
LB: Tanner Beason (USA)
CDM: Jackson Yueill (USA/captain)
CDM: Ján Greguš (SVK)
RM: Cristian Espinoza (ARG) (DP)
CAM: Jamiro Monteiro (CPV)
LM: Cade Cowell (USA/HG)
ST: Jeremy Ebobisse (CMR)
68’ Tommy Thompson (USA/HG) for Beason
83’ Ousseni Bouda (BFA) for Espinoza
Matt Bersano(USA), Jack Skahan, Oskar Agren(SWE), Eric Remedi(ARG), Niko Tsakiris (USA/HG), Will Richmond (USA/HG), Siad Haji (SOM)
Nashville SC Lineup (3-4-2-1; Gary Smith)
GK: Joe Willis (USA)
CB: Jack Maher (USA)
CB: Walker Zimmerman (USA/captain)
CB: Dave Romney (USA)
RWB: Alex Muyl (USA)
CM: Sean Davis (USA)
CM: Aníbal Godoy (PAN)
LWB: Daniel Lovitz (USA)
RW: Randall Leal (CRC)
ST: CJ Sapong (USA)
LW: Hany Mukhtar (GER/DP)
73’ Taylor Washington (USA) for Lovitz
78’ Dax McCarty (USA) for Godoy, Aké Loba(CIV/DP) for Sapong
88’ Luke Haakenson(USA) for Leal, Brian Anunga(CMR) for Davis
Bryan Meredith(USA), Eric Miller(USA), Ahmed Longmire(USA), Ethan Zubak(USA)