I’ll keep this short and sweet because I’m writing this late on a Wednesday night: We won!!! Goals from boy wonder Adam Jahn and Chris Wondolowski gave the Quakes the 2-1 victory over Toronto FC. Enjoy the highlights!
While a point on the road is a decent result, last night’s 2-2 draw with Chivas USA felt more like a loss. The Quakes held the majority of the possession and logged three times as many attempts on goal as the Goats–but as we all know, the only stat that matters in the end is balls in the back of the net.
Chris Wondolowski got himself on the score sheet in the 40′ with a glorious trademark one-touch ball. Chivas pulled ahead in the opening minutes of the second half off goals from Mario de Luna and Tristan Bowen, both scored within 5 minutes of each other.
The game really started to get exciting as the second half wore on. There were a few “how-the-heck-did-the-ball-not-cross-the-goal-line” moments, mainly all in Chivas’ defensive end which made it doubly frustrating to watch. The newest San Jose hero Adam Jahn came on in the 70′ for Steven Lenhart, who looked dangerously close to receiving a booking.
Needless to say, Lenny was not thrilled to be pulled; however, Jahn has more than proven his worth in the final minutes of a game. He did have a few fantastic chances, but it was simply not to be.
Instead, the equalizer came courtesy of another first-year Quake–Cordell Cato, the 20-year old Trinidadian. In his sixth appearance in the blue and black, Cato scored his first ever MLS goal. (P.S., this is what I always think of when I see Cato–and I always want to say “Now is the time!” I wouldn’t mind having a ninja Quake.) Although this result marks the fifth straight game of San Jose’s winless streak, I do take pride in the fact that our new guys are taking advantage of their opportunities and proving their mettle.
However, everyone knows that draws are not enough, even this early in the season. San Jose has yet to win a game on the road. Perhaps this is due to the fact that the squad is only just now returning to “normal,” with most of the starters finally healthy again.
One player who must be recognized for an outstanding performance last night was Shea Salinas, who ran his butt off and provided assists to both goals.
The Earthquakes host the Montreal Impact next Saturday at home. Montreal currently sits on top of the Eastern Conference standings with a record of 5-1-1. San Jose is sorely in need of a win, and it will feel good to get it against a team that has been doing so well.
Image courtesy of SJEarthquakes.com (Kelley Cox/USA Today Sports Image)
In last night’s draw against the Vancouver Whitecaps, the San Jose Earthquakes redeemed themselves after last week’s lapse. Mostly.
They played well throughout most of the game and had several good chances–especially in the final minutes, when Sam Cronin’s shot went off the crossbar and Wondo’s follow-up was blocked by a defender. It was one of those sequences that causes you to hold your head and ask “HOW is that ball not going in?!”
However, there was one “what the heck?” moment that, unfortunately, cost the Quakes the win. In a somewhat inexplicable move, both Victor Bernardez and Alan Gordon came off the pitch to change their boots at the same time. According to statements made after the game, the players thought that they could be waved on by the ref as soon as they were ready. Naturally there was extreme frustration as Bernardez and Gordon were forced to wait helplessly on the sideline until the ball went out of play–which was not until Corey Hertzog, in his first start of the season, equalized for Vancouver.
Had San Jose been aware of Law 4 in FIFA’s Laws of the Game, they would have known that a player who leaves the field for an equipment change can only come back during a stoppage in play. It turns out that not many of those on the field knew about this rule. Even Whitecaps keeper–and former Quake–Joe Cannon admitted that it might be one of those moments when you see something you’ve never seen in your life. However, referee Fotis Bazakos was fully aware of Law 4, and the Quakes were left with a 2-man deficit which the Whitecaps were quick to take advantage of.
This incident deflated the whole stadium. The fans rallied in the closing minutes to try to push their team to a win; and indeed, as I mentioned above, it was almost achieved.
One thing is for sure: never again will two Quakes come off at the same time for any reason, much less to change boots.
On a more cheerful note, Steven Lenhart made his return to Buck Shaw last night, coming on as a sub in the 79th minute to loud cheers. Slowly but surely we are getting our team back, and it feels so good.
Photo courtesy of SJEarthquakes.com/John Todd – ISIPhotos.net
Last night’s game between the San Jose Earthquakes and the Seattle Sounders was truly a tale of two keepers. Michael Gspurning kept his team in the game, blocking shots with his lanky frame. Jon Busch performed straight up acrobatics, and even a Jedi mind trick or two, to prolong his team’s streak of dominance over Seattle.
There were opportunities for both sides, but it was thanks to these two players that the score was only 1-0. Honestly, I almost can’t fault Gspurning for allowing the one goal through. It was scored, not surprisingly, by Chris Wondolowski, but it was far from a typical Wondo goal. Anyone who has watched Wondo play knows that he is a poacher, usually tapping the ball in from within the 6 yard box. Even I doubted he was going to score from 22 yards out. I saw him take the shot, and in the half second it took for it to hit the back of the net I thought, “It’s not going in.” I should know by now not to be surprised by anything that man does.
I have also learned to not be surprised by the heroics of our stalwart keeper, Jon Busch. At 5’10”, he is on the short side for a keeper. And, having the privilege of working at field level, right on the other side of the boards, I could not help noticing how tall many of the Sounders are. Gspurning himself has Busch beat by a good 7 inches. But the height difference was of no consequence last night. Busch made himself big all night long. He even managed to psych out David Estrada, who seemed to have him beat to a short back pass outside of the box, only to overrun the ball and allow Busch to boot it out of harm’s way.
It seems as though the Quakes have shaken off whatever held them back in the home opener, and are learning to thrive even with so many key players out with injury or for national team duty. Next week San Jose is on the road to face the Houston Dynamo (or the Zombie-Quakes, as they are sometimes referred to at Buck Shaw). I look forward to seeing what other tricks Busch and the rest of the Goonies will pull out of their hats!
Photo courtesy of San Jose Earthquakes Facebook page.
I’ve got four words for you: Goonies never say die. While last week’s loss to Real Salt Lake did not quite reassure me that the Goonies were indeed back, tonight’s last minute win over the New York Red Bulls certainly did. Even with the likes of Steven Lenhart, Alan Gordon, Marvin Chavez and Steven Beitashour still out due to injury, the boys did work and got a result. Once again we saw multiple new faces take the pitch, and while there were moments in which all the players did not seem to be entirely on the same page, they did what Goonies do best—persevere. In fact, it was a few of the less familiar faces that provided the spark needed to turn the game around after going down 0-1 to the Red Bulls in the 17th minute.
Which brings me to two more words: Adam Jahn. Or as I refer to him, Adam Jahn — J-A-H-N. For some reason I always feel the need to spell his last name. But that is beside the point. Jahn, a first year rookie out of Stanford University, was taken by the Quakes in the Supplemental Draft. His size and his (albeit much tamer) blond hair are reminiscent of Lenhart, although his style of play is significantly less physical.
I have been excited about this dude since seeing him play in the preseason tournament in Portland. I have been talking about him (and spelling his name aloud every time) to my friends and family. So I felt supremely justified after his performance as a sub tonight. Not only did he score the game-tying goal in the 83rd minute, Goonie-style — he also set up Wondo’s penalty kick winner by heading a ball into the arm of NY defender Roy Miller in the 90th minute.
Naturally there was a little drama with the penalty kick, with NY keeper Luis Robles saving the first attempt. However, the ref called for a retake as Miller had encroached on the area. Wondo made no mistake the second time.
So, I believe it is official, and hopefully not at all premature: the Goonies are back. And Adam Jahn has earned his place among them. I look forward to seeing what else this kid, and all the rest of the newbies, have in store for us. At the same time, I eagerly await the return of Lenny, Gordo, Beita, and all the rest of our injured players. The league better watch out for that day. The combination of new, raw talent, forced to step up out of necessity, and the experience and steadiness of last year’s Goonies may just prove to be unstoppable.
Image courtesy of SJEarthquakes.com
Try saying that 10 times fast!
Ok guys, I’ll be honest. I am too emotionally worn out by the Quakes final regular season match to give much analysis, but I will present to you my (possibly somewhat confusing) thoughts after tonight’s game at Portland:
1. Sigh. Wondo. With 27 goals, you were so close, yet so far.
2. But then again, WONDO! Tying a record that has stood for 16 years is no small feat. He is still in the history books. He is still awesome. Extra points for keeping cool enough to convert a penalty kick. We’re still ok.
3. We’re still OK?! We’re fantastic! We won the Supporters’ Shield, for crying out loud!
4. But San Jose just tried too hard to get the ball to Wondo. His teammates wanted it so badly for him.
5. Then again, lest we forget, Wondo has won the Golden Boot. By like a hundred goals. Ok, closer to 10, but still. And he is the first in MLS history to be the top scorer 3 years in a row. We’ll take it.
6. But we have never beat Portland. ”How can that be?” you may ask. Who knows?
7. And oh yes… we are going to the playoffs!
So now you have a small idea of what is going on in my mind. Prepare yourself for the emotional roller coaster that will be the playoffs. I kid. (Not really.)
Image courtesy of Center Line Soccer’s Facebook page.
What a weekend. The Quakes finally, officially, clinched the Supporters’ Shield. Ground was finally broken in preparation of building their new stadium, and 6,256 fans (myself included) were on hand to participate in breaking the Guinness World Record for largest groundbreaking ceremony. Also present were Lew Wolff and John Fisher, the club’s owners (and also the owners of the Oakland A’s!), MLS Commissioner Don Garber, and various other league and city dignitaries and even a few of the Quakes players who were not playing later that day.
San Jose then battled rivals LA Galaxy to a hard-fought tie, thus finishing out the regular season unbeaten at Buck Shaw Stadium. I will spare you the details of the game–suffice it to say it was not the prettiest, either on OR off the field. I have to give credit to the Galaxy; despite missing a few key starters, they looked the strongest in the first half. However, my boys did what they do best and turned it on in the second half, with Marvin Chavez and Chris Wondolowski answering Robbie Keane and Edson Buddle’s goals with tallies of their own.
Which brings me to Wondo. Wondo Wondo Wondo, why must you do this to us? His goal on Sunday brought him to within a goal of tying Roy Lassiter’s record of 27 in a single season. Meaning, his team will be feeding him balls like crazy on Saturday when the Quakes face the Portland Timbers in their last match of the regular season. Also meaning, we San Jose fans will be on the edge of our seats clutching our stress balls or the hands of the unfortunate people sitting near us.
I was so emotionally drained at the end of the weekend, I didn’t even know how to put into words what I was feeling. I kept trying, but usually just ended up saying “I’m so happy… that was crazy….” The only thing that would have made it better would have been beating LA (and a hat trick for Wondo). But I am satisfied. I love my team.
The Quakes are 3 points closer to the Supporters’ Shield and Wondo is 3 goals closer to Roy Lassiter’s league record of 27 goals in a single season. Oh, and one more thing–tonight he broke the franchise record for all-time goals scored. Guys. This is big. This is history in the making.
Those Rapids’ fans who braved the below-freezing temperatures at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park may not have been happy about it in the moment, but in the years to come they may be able to say that they witnessed Chris Wondolowski score goals 23, 24, and 25 en route to breaking a 16 year-old league record.
Having already been eliminated from the playoffs, Colorado coach Oscar Pareja decided to rest a few of his usual starters who have been struggling with injuries. San Jose, on the other hand, despite having long ago clinched their playoff spot, rolled out the big guns as they continued their pursuit of the Supporters’ Shield (and Total League Domination).
Well, the proof is in the pudding–er, the scoreline. San Jose’s Marvin Chavez scored in the 2nd minute, assisted by none other than Chris Wondolowski himself. Chavez returned the favor in the 11th minute, as he and Alan Gordon provided assists on Wondo’s first goal of the night. Wondo added his second in the 51st minute with an easily slotted ball that took a deflection off Rapids’ defender Drew Moor. He rounded out his hat trick in the 83rd minute off an assist from Sam Cronin.
The only event to mar the night was the red card shown to Quakes’ defender Jason Hernandez for a challenge from behind in the box, and the subsequent penalty converted by Colorado’s Andre Akpan. San Jose will have to do without Hernandez as they face the LA Galaxy on October 21; fortunately, center back Victor Bernardez should be back in the lineup after having sat out this game due to yellow card accumulation.
The Earthquakes now have 2 weeks to rest up and prepare for their final regular season home game. While there are pros and cons to having a bye week this late in the season, the team will no doubt take this time to ensure they are physically and mentally ready to
crush and destroy defeat LA.
Image courtesy of mlssoccer.com
By now you have probably already seen the score for last night’s game against the Seattle Sounders. The Quakes swept the 3 game series with a chippy 2-1 win over the Flounders, as Quakes fans (not so) affectionately refer to them.
Simon Dawkins put San Jose up in the 2nd minute with a beautiful golazo, virtually from out of nowhere. Steve Zakuani tied it up in the 14th minute with his first goal since last year’s season-ending injury–even as a Quakes fan, I was happy to see that. Not, however, happy enough to be content with it ending that way.
In the 30th minute, Chris Wondolowski did what he does and notched his 22nd goal of the season–and the game winner–with a nifty little back heel past Seattle ‘keeper Michael Gspurning. I was especially stoked as I totally called it.
Additionally, with Seattle out of the way, San Jose will only face one other opponent who currently sits in playoff position–until the playoffs start, of course. While they must come into each game expecting a tough battle, especially so close to the end of the season when teams are fighting for their lives, it is no doubt a relief to have this win and the 3 extra points under their belts.
The Earthquakes have a week off before they host FC Dallas next Saturday. Dallas sits just a point out of playoff position and will come in firing on all cylinders, while San Jose will look to continue their momentum and defend the fortress that is Buck Shaw stadium.
Image courtesy of SJEarthquakes.com/Getty Images
Yes, friends, the scoreless-in-the-run-of-play streak has finally ended. It could not have come at a more perfect time. Sitting in the stands during Wednesday night’s game against the Portland Timbers, I thought we were staring into the face of the San Jose’s first loss of the season at Buck Shaw Stadium. It had been a while since we had a classic Goonie match, so maybe we were overdue.
This time, however, it was none other than Chris Wondolowski who provided the stoppage time magic. With the Quakes already comfortably into the playoffs, Frank Yallop decided to rest Wondo and Alan Gordon. Fortunately both were on the bench, because both were needed, along with Steven Lenhart, to score that first goal and pull the team to within a goal of the Timbers.
I will admit, it was a bit of a shock to go down 2-0 to Portland, after Danny Mwanga scored in the 45th and 62nd minutes. All credit must be given to the Timbers, who nearly snuck in to secure their first road win and become the first visitors to prevail at Buck Shaw this season. The key word is “nearly;” Wondo was having none of it. He was visibly fired up, more so than usual, during his 32 minutes on the pitch. He himself put it this way:
Although we need not worry that he will ever be kept off the starting lineup for any significant period of time, he came in and did the work of a super sub, scoring in the 73rd and 92nd minutes to salvage a draw and snatch a point. Oh, and his brace puts him at 21 goals on the season–the league’s best total since Carlos Ruiz scored 24 and good ol’ Taylor Twellman scored 23 in 2002. Hopefully this signals the start of one of his signature late-season scoring frenzies.
A couple of additional players deserve shout-outs after last night’s game. Timbers’ third string ‘keeper Joe Bendik managed to preserve a clean sheet for 73 minutes against the team with the highest goals scored total this season. He seized the opportunity and made some huge saves against the team’s top goal scorers.
The man on the other end of the field, Jon Busch, deserves props as well, as he has apparently been ill for the past few days. He has been solid for the Quakes over the past couple of seasons, and much of that is his intensity and focus–even when he is not quite feeling up to par. Last night he even found himself in the role of peacekeeper when tempers flared up after the final whistle, following a pretty chippy second half. And to top it all off, he held a meet-and-greet with fans after the game. Now THAT’S commitment!
Seattle, sitting in second place in the Western Conference, is the next stop for the Earthquakes in this run of 3 games in 8 days. San Jose defeated the Sounders 1-0 the first time they played in Seattle this season, and more recently defeated them 2-1 at home. Seattle will no doubt have heard the news that Wondo is back–but since when has a defense been able to shut Wondo down when he’s on? Look for him to score at least once, if not multiple times. I sure will be!
Image courtesy of SJEarthquakes.com (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)