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!
*NERD ALERT!!! This post is not for the faint of heart or those who “never got into” Star Wars.*
Buck Shaw Stadium, on the campus of Santa Clara University. It was a day so hot one felt like Anakin/Vader when he was set on fire by volcanic lava. Alright, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but it was unpleasantly warm.
For me, at least, the heat increased my irritation with yet another draw. Don’t get me wrong, a draw is far better than a loss–but at some point, we need to start getting those Ws. As pundits have been quick to point out, this is the Quakes’ longest winless streak since the dark and dismal days of 2011. I do not appreciate the reminder of that time, so I will send those memories back to the dark hole in which I have buried them.
So, back to the game at hand. The force was certainly strong with both San Jose keeper Jon Busch and Montreal Impact keeper Troy Perkins. Busch pulled out a few more Jedi mind tricks–stonewalling Felipe Martins in a one-on-one attempt–and Perkins busted out some moves against Wondo, et al that would have made Yoda proud.
Justin Mapp scored both the goals for Montreal, putting them up 2-0 by the 47th minute. Adam Jahn, starting in place of the suspended Steven Lenhart and Alan Gordon, got one back for the Quakes in the 59th minute–earlier than usual. Jahn slotted the ball into Montreal’s goal as coolly and precisely as Luke Skywalker firing torpedoes into a thermal exhaust port to destroy the Death Star. Granted, the goal did not explode like the Death Star did, although I would have greatly enjoyed that.
The tying goal came in a wholly goonie-like fashion–scored in the 91st minute–but from a somewhat unexpected source: midfielder Sam Cronin. Cronin is a workhorse who has proven his value time and again in holding down the center of the field alongside Rafa Baca. While it is not a rare occurrence for him to take the shot, it is rare that he actually scores (this marks his 2nd goal in his four years in San Jose). Much like Han Solo, he came through for his team when it mattered. [Side note: please do not read too far into this analogy, as I do not mean to imply that Cronin is a stuck-up, half-witted, scruffy-looking nerf herder or that Baca is a wookie.]
It was another draw that almost-but-not-really felt like a win. While it is encouraging that the Quakes are playing well–for they have in fact been playing well and creating several chances–at some point, luck needs to be on our side. Or the Force.
Fortunately, we have not yet reached the “help me Obi-Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope” stage of desperation. There is still much soccer to be played, many battles to be fought and many victories to be won. Who knows, in the end Princess Leia–er, Don Garber may present our beloved heroes with the MLS Cup trophy.
Image courtesy of SJEarthquakes.com
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)
Sunday night’s 1-1 draw between the San Jose Earthquakes and the Portland Timbers was not pretty. After the tension of last week’s meeting and all the fallout that ensued, I was expecting an interesting game.
First, I need to get one thing out of the way. If you read my post following the last game, you may have wondered why I did not mention anything about the Alan Gordon debacle. Truth be told, I somehow managed to not hear about it until the next day. Needless to say I was very disappointed by the news that he had directed a homophobic slur toward Portland’s Will Johnson. The topic has no doubt already been beaten to death by the media, so I will content myself with saying that while I was upset by the occurrence, I was glad that he came out immediately after the match to apologize. Some players wait a few days to do so, or fail to say anything at all. It is refreshing to see a player who is humble enough to admit he was in the wrong, without any public prompting or pressure.
In addition to all the less-than-friendly feelings between the two sides, the club recently put the 1906 Ultras (the Quakes’ biggest, most intense fan group) on probation due to events that transpired between San Jose and Portland fans following last weeks match. As such, Section 109 was ever so slightly more subdued than usual. On top of all this, there was a heightened security presence throughout the entire stadium due to the tragic events of this past week at the Boston Marathon. The atmosphere throughout the stadium seemed slightly off, as if no one was quite sure what to expect.
The Quakes came out and had some good chances, but were unable to convert any for most of the game. They went down 0-1 in the 58′ minute when DP Diego Valeri scored off a deflected Ryan Johnson shot. It looked like the game was going to end with the same scoreline as last week when the newest Goonie of the bunch–and hero in the game against the New York Red Bulls–rookie Adam Jahn scored in the 92′ off a multi-touch play that had started all the way in the back with a restart from keeper Jon Busch.
The other highlight of the night was seeing Steven Beitashour and Marvin Chavez make their first appearances of 2013 after having been out with injuries. Even that was somewhat marred by the fact that Gordon was not out there with them. It seemed to me that Steven Lenhart especially was feeling the loss of his fellow Bash Brother. He took the brunt of the physicality from the Timbers, and appeared even more fiery than usual.
While snatching a point at the end almost felt like a win for the fans, San Jose will be disappointed not to have gotten the full 3 points at home–especially as they have not beaten Portland since the Timbers entered the league in 2011. The Earthquakes will hope for a better result as they travel to LA to take on Chivas USA next weekend.
Image courtesy of SJEarthquakes.com (John Todd/ISIPhotos)
It was a somewhat lackluster night for the San Jose Earthquakes as they fell 1-0 to the Portland Timbers Sunday. Although Chris Wondolowski, Alan Gordon and Steven Lenhart all started for the first time this season, they were unable to create their usual magic. Wondo stayed under the radar for most of the night, which is fairly standard for him. Usually, however, he surfaces at the right moment to score goals. Tonight, his biggest chance came in the final minutes and was a header that went straight into the hands of Portland keeper Donovan Ricketts.
Neither side had very many chances, with San Jose logging three shots on target and Portland two. While Portland had most of the possession, the Quakes stayed in it up until the 69′ minute when Gordon was sent off for receiving a second yellow card. He jumped up to win a ball and (apparently unintentionally) caught Mikael Silvestre in the lip with his elbow, drawing blood from Silvestre and chants of “Send him off!” from the crowd. The ref did just that.
Following the send-off, I think the team would have been happy to accept a point. They managed to hold on for almost 10 minutes, until Ramiro Corrales tackled Kalif Alhassan. Will Johnson stepped up to take the free kick and sent it curling past Quakes keeper Jon Busch. Although the Quakes stepped up the pressure, they were unable to find the equalizer.
The sequel will be played out this Sunday. Tonight’s game was pretty chippy, with four bookings (including Gordon’s red card). I expect a few more will be handed out when the Timbers come to visit Buck Shaw.
Photo courtesy of SJEarthquakes.com
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
Saturday night’s San Jose Earthquakes game was a rough one to watch. I couldn’t quite put my finger on what was wrong, but something was definitely off for San Jose. They put some pressure on the Houston Dynamo, but their first touches weren’t clean and some of the decision-making seemed somewhat questionable. It was not the worst game I have ever seen, but it certainly was not the best.
I must give kudos to the Dynamo defense for keeping Wondo almost completely quiet for the whole game. He had an opportunity or two, but nothing that gave Houston keeper Tally Hall any problems. However, I DO take issue with the ref, but not for the usual reasons. Houston’s second goal seemed to be a direct result of a turnover that happened because the ref was in the way of a ball.
The Quakes had possession, but the ball bounced off the ref to a Houston player. This led to the sequence that ended with Giles Barnes heading the ball into goal–bravely beating Jon Busch who had come off his line with fists up to punch the ball away. This came after a goal by Will Bruin, also scored in the first half.
The highlight of the night was Alan Gordon coming off the bench to make his first appearance of the season. Unfortunately, he was unable to provide his usual spark and he had little, if any, impact on the game. Also of note is the fact that tonight marked captain Ramiro Corrales’ 300th appearance (300! The man is a beast!).
This was a night the players–and fans–will want to forget. Hopefully the boys can put it out of their minds and shake off whatever was holding them back. Next week’s home game against Vancouver cannot come soon enough.
(I suppose I should also mention that with tonight’s win, the Houston Dynamo tied the league record for a home unbeaten streak. I bring this up somewhat begrudgingly, but it is significant.)
Photo courtesy of John Todd/SJEarthquakes.com
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 know what our San Jose Earthquakes writer, Alyssa, would say right about now. “Goonies never say die!” And she would be right about that. Unfortunately. Yesterday the Earthquakes took on the Columbus Crew in the Crew’s first home game of the season. As a Crew fan, I was pretty pumped. The first Crew home game is always something Columbus diehards look forward to.
This week may have been Rivalry Week in Major League Soccer, but I wouldn’t call the San Jose v. Columbus games as rivalry-tastic as say Portland v. Seattle or New York v. D.C. But there is a little rivalry between the two teams. Like last year, Crew keeper Andy Gruenebaum denied Quakes forward Chris Wondolowski his 28th goal of the season, which would have been a league record. After Saturday’s, Crew fans now have a bit more to dislike about San Jose.
The game ended in a 1-1 draw, which is a bit disappointing for Columbus. Especially since the San Jose goal broke the Crew’s 349-minute streak at having a clean sheet at home. Neither one of the teams were particularly dominating, I guess you could say. San Jose came out swinging early, looking for a goal and had a few good chances. Gruenebaum was on point, however, and managed several saves.
On the other end, however, it took a bit for Columbus to get settled. Once they did though, they fired off a couple shots of their own to test Quakes keeper Jon Busch. Ben Speas was in for Eddie Gaven, who’s suffering from an ankle injury, and the kid did pretty well. His pass helped create the first almost-goal for the Crew. Defender Josh Williams tried to get in there too and notch his second goal of the season, but was also denied.
Columbus did, however, get on the board first in the 68th minute. Federico Higuain lobbed a nice corner kick in, which went off the head of Brazilian Glauber and into goal. It was a crazy header, too. But, of course, the whole “Goonies never say die” mentality had to kick in and the Crew defense couldn’t stop it. No, Justin Morrow had to fire in from 18 yards out and get the draw.
So the Crew are now 1-1-1. Not anything to get overly concerned about, of course. I mean, once again our forwards are showing us the promise they have. The hope of the “South American” hook up between Higuain and Glauber showed and I suspect as more training is logged and games tallied, it will grow, so I’m excited about that.
I am always worried about defense, I don’t care what team I’m talking about – the USMNT, Manchester United, whatever. The Columbus Crew are not immune to my worrying. The defense wasn’t overly terrifying Saturday, however, they only had to deal with Wondo as Alan Gordon and former Crew player Steve Lenhart were on the injured list for San Jose. I don’t even want to think about what this game could have been like if Lenhart had started. But it’s a moot point. No need to dwell on things like that.
Over all, it’s just disappointing the Crew lost the lead. But I think I feel pretty good about this season for the Black and Gold. I’ve said it before and I’ll stick by it for now. The pre-season was strong and the team has a lot of talented, seasoned vets on the pitch. With the new, younger faces in the mix, I think the Crew are on their way to a pretty good season.
Next week, Columbus is on the road again against one of their big East Coast rivals, D.C. United. That game will definitely be a test.
Remember when we were happy with that draw last week in Portland? The Rose City was electric and everyone went home sharing the point? Well, that almost happened again in San Jose…and then it didn’t. Oh Roy Miller…what are we going to do with you? Wait, did anyone check if he was in his seat or checked in with the luggage? Roy? Are you there? In any case…let’s talk about the good and the bad that happened in San Jose.
The Red Bulls took the lead in the 16th minute when Eric Alexander picked up his first goal as a Red Bull. New York held onto the lead heading into halftime and were able to hold the same one-goal margin as they edged into the final 10 minutes. But it was Adam Jahn who leveled the score for San Jose in the 83rd minute, and Chris Wondolowski who sealed the victory on a penalty kick in stoppage time.
But wait…what’s that you say? What’s this encroachment business that everyone is talking about? Luis Robles got the best of Chris Wondowlowski’s first PK attempt but it was Roy Miller encroaching that caused it to be called back. Wondo didn’t miss the second time and that was ultimately sealed the win for the Earthquakes. Dax McCarty later was quoted as saying “If you want me to be completely honest, every single time a penalty kick happens, if you want to go by the letter of the law, there is a guy that is stepping into the box every single time before a penalty kick is taken,” he continued with, ““I don’t want to point the finger at anyone. It was a little bit unlucky and a little bit of a mental breakdown. It happened in the playoffs last year.” Yes, a sad reminder of Kenny Cooper’s goal that was called back when an overeager Thierry Henry stepped into the box during the playoffs against DC United.
And while the fall to San Jose can firmly be placed on Roy Miller’s shoulders – the fact is that the team was not communicating and felt like the players were giving each other the silent treatment. Let’s hope everyone has settled whatever differences they have by the home opener on March 16th at RBA when the Red Bulls take on DC United.
As for our favorite NYRB player, Dax McCarty…he’s optimistic and can we say the hardest working player on the pitch – seriously, Jurgen – call him.