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Quakes fall 3-0 to Minnesota United

SAN JOSE – The Matias Almeyda era is off to a rocky start.
Minnesota United scored three times in the second half to hand San Jose a 3-0 defeat at a half-full Avaya Stadium on Saturday night.
The Earthquakes (0-2-0) lost its season opener last week 2-1 to Montreal, but the team was still optimistic afterward because of how it controlled possession in the first game under Almeyda, the 2018 CONCACAF coach of the year. That was not the case against the Loons.
“Last week we played a lot better football than this,” Almeyda said. “Obviously I’m the one most responsible for the result.”
Even in San Jose’s historically bad four-win campaign last year, it swept its two games against Minnesota. While it was assumed that the team would need time to acclimate to Almeyda’s man-marking style, the Quakes now have two home losses to teams that missed the playoffs last year.
“It has nothing to do with our skills or our attributes. It’s our thinking,” captain Chris Wondolowski said. “We need to think our way through a game and understand what it takes to play 90 minutes.”
Wondolowski remained one score away from tying Landon Donovan’s MLS record of 145 career goals. He slid onto a cross from Cristian Espinoza in the 41st minute but his redirection hit off the post. He then missed wide from six yards out in the 90th minute.
New Quakes keeper Daniel Vega kept the game scoreless in the first half with three saves from close range, but Minnesota (2-0-0) scored twice in three minutes early in the second half.
In the 49th minute, fullback Marcos Lopez was called for a hand ball in the box after the referee consulted video review, and Darwin Quintero sent Vega the wrong way to convert the penalty kick.
San Jose pushed forward for a quick equalizer and earned a corner kick, but Minnesota was able to counterattack and Miguel Ibarra scored to make it 2-0 in the 52nd minute.
A free kick went off central defender Harold Cummings and in off the post in the 75th minute to put the Loons up 3-0.
“It’s embarrassing to lose 3-0 at home,” Wondolowski said. “(But) I still have the same optimism, I still have the same belief. I haven’t wavered one bit. In the locker room I know it’s still there.”
It won’t get easier for the Quakes. San Jose has its first road game of the season next Saturday against the New York Red Bulls (0-0-1), who had the most points in MLS last season.

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