Quakes Open 2017 With 1-0 Win Over Montreal

March 4, 2017

MLS, San Jose Earthquakes

sjearthquakes.com photo: Jubilation on the field at Avaya Stadium in San Jose as the San Jose Earthquakes take the home opener on Saturday night against the Montreal Impact 1-0

By Matthew T.F. Harrington

SAN JOSE, Calif. – While it’s just one match in, it looks like the question is when, not if the restocked San Jose Earthquakes will break their three-season MLS playoff drought under new General Manager Jesse Fioranelli. In its home opener Saturday night, San Jose bested the Montreal Impact 1-0, outshooting their opponents 17-5. The win over the 2016 Eastern Conference runner-ups is the first regular season win by San Jose over its foes from the North in franchise history.

“We were 2-0 last year and everyone said this the greatest team in San Jose in awhile,” said Quakes coach Dominic Kinnear when asked about the clear influx of talent on his squad this year. “We know how the season went. It all depends on health and guys’ hunger and desire to keep winning. I like the roster we put together. You can’t base off one game, but  it does show the potential you do have off this one game too.”

Aníbal Godoy scored in the 17th minute of a first half that saw the Quakes dominate on the shot counter 9-1. The Impact would be down a man for over 25 minutes after a red card in the second half, but the Earthquakes would settle for the lone tally against Montreal (0-1-0).

“They went deep into the playoffs last year and they haven’t made a whole lot of changes to their squad,” said Kinnear of Montreal. “You can pick from those playoff performances to show how dangerous they can be.”

San Jose (1-0-0) nearly made its mark just two minutes into the match after Simon Dawkins lofted a cross to the 2016 team goals leader Chris Wondolowski. Wondolowski would leap up to try to connect on a header, but his chance went over the crossbar.

Wondolowski would again nearly score his 122nd career MLS goal in the 7th minute on an aggressive play by Montreal keeper Evan Bush. Bush came out of the net to contest a lead pass from newcomer Marco Ureña well outside the penalty box. Bush’s boot would be blocked by Wondolowski with a vacant net in the distance, but Wondolowski’s shot at the empty goal would be deflected out of bounds.

“The two forwards, the energy the give the team was excellent on both sides of the ball,” said Kinnear.

Wondolowski finally broke through, settling for an assist on Godoy’s marker in the 17th minute. Godoy stripped an Impact player with a quick tip to Wondolowski. Wondolowski converted on the give-and-go, hitting Godoy on the run. Godoy was able to cash in on the quick passing, chipping the ball into the net for the 1-0 lead and the Panamanian’s fourth goal since joining the club midway through 2015.

The Impact opened up the second half as the aggressors, but slide tackle by Hassoun Camara in the 67th minute would shift the balance. Camara had earned a yellow card earlier in the game and was booked again for a red, leaving Montreal with 10 men over the remaining 23-plus minutes.

The offense didn’t immediately start clicking up a man, but an 80th minute bid by subs Danny Hoesen and Shea Salinas almost doubled the lead. Hoesen,on loan from FC Gronigen of the Dutch top tier, started a run but had his pass booted away. Salinas picked up the loose ball, firing it on net, beating Bush but seeing his shot go wide of the cage.

“The subs we made were all attacking players,” said Kinnear. “We wanted to make sure we kept the pressure on Montreal, especially with ten men. It’s been a good last two weeks of training. The intensity has been good. It definitely carried over onto the field tonight.”

A three-on-two break in the 86th minute again gave life to the Avaya crowd but Wondolowski’s shot would run wide of the net to keep the striker searching for his first goal of the season early in the campaign.

“One thing we can work on is we were just missing that second goal,” said Kinnear. “I think it would have made the game less ‘nervey’ for me at the end.”

The Earthquakes welcome another Canadian club to Avaya Stadium next Saturday, with the Vancouver Whitecaps making the trip south to Northern California. Vancouver finished one point ahead of San Jose last season for 8th place in the Western Conference.

 

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