|photo by Matt Kremkau
With both head coaches Gerhard Struber and Matias Almeyda expecting more from their respective teams during the winter transfer window before the 2022 Major League Soccer season, Struber, had a hard time hiding his disappointment when the targets he wanted were not acquired during the press conference with the local media on Wednesday.
“I think I am a realistic man, I am not a dreamer,” Struber said. “I know when everything goes in the right direction when we make the right progress the next two weeks, then I think we are an interesting team. But this needs time right now. We are very, very young without many experienced players. This is the situation. I have to manage that. I have a big trust in my players that we progress in the next few weeks, but this needs time.”
Meanwhile, San Jose's head coach Matias Almeyda hinted at leaving the Earthquakes after first reporting that things were "great" during his tenure, but since then, things have changed dramatically.
“This is the fourth year that I’m given the chance to coach at this club and this league, which I'm thankful for,” said the Argentine on the “particular subject” of his contract situation. “I have 10 months before I’m free, and obviously whenever this happens in football, there's always interest – there’s personal interest and there’s interest from other people.
“I live day by day, I can’t avoid that there are people that try to sign us as a coaching staff. I was very clear at the end of last season with both the owner and our GM, and I was very clear with them at the beginning of this season as well. But I live day-to-day, and I always try to give it my max.”
And so, with recent signees Luquinhas and Tom Edwards not available because of visa delays, and Andrés Reyes and Wiki Carmona out with foot injures suffered during the preseason, Gerhard Struber had to rely on understudies in key positions to try to grab three points on the road in the first match of the season at the heart of Silicon Valley.
San Jose looked like the more dangerous side early and often right for kickoff, putting constant pressure on New York with a series of attacks that kept the visitors at bay. In one exchange, Cade Cowell took a deflection and prepared to shoot it a goal, but Lewis Morgan came up with the timely block to keep the Red Bulls off the board.
Sean Nealis nearly got the Red Bulls' on the board from a corner kick as the ball was deflected and was just sitting in the box, pounced on it with a shot, but was denied by San Jose goalkeeper J.T. Marcinkowski with a save.
However, just one minute into stoppage time, the Red Bulls broke through the stalemate. After Dru Yearwood broke up the Earthquake's counter-attack, he got the ball over to Omir Fernandez, passed to Lewis Morgan, who then delivered a great pass across the box to a wide-open Patryk Klimala, who did not miss from close range in front of the net.
But the lead would not last as the visitors would be victimized by a goal coming from a set piece. Cristian Espinoza whipped the ball into the box where it met the head of Javier López and it would up in the back on the net to level the match at one in the 69th minute.
But the visitors would not be denied. Just three minutes later, New York would retake the lead as Frankie Amaya kept the ball in play after an initial block from the initial attack and found Omir Fernadez, and his shot squeezed between the legs of San Jose keeper J.T. Marcinkowski for his first goal of the season, thus bringing all of that momentum the home side was building at that moment to a screeching halt.
Two minutes into stoppage time, Caden Clark gathered the ball and drove straight at San Jose defenders. He then laid the ball off to Tom Barlow who slipped it past a helpless J.T. Marcinkowski for the insurance goal to ice the game and delivered all three points before heading off north of the border to Toronto next weekend.
Buoyed by the result on the road, coach Struber said "It's a very good feeling, shows (team) on the right way" to start the season. In addition, he mentioned that "1 or 2" more transfers are "in the pipeline" for New York, and he has a "big trust" and a good relationship with Sporting Director Denis Hamlett following Kevin Thelwell's exit to Everton FC this week.