Earthquakes rebound to down Real Salt Lake

June 24, 2017

San Jose Earthquakes

By Ben Leonard

SAN JOSE—Riddled with injuries and suspensions, the Earthquakes had spent 243 minutes in scoreless agony—until Danny Hoesen did something about it.

The same player who scored slumping San Jose’s last goal all the way back on May 27 against the Los Angeles Galaxy broke the Earthquakes’ goalless streak in the 13th minute, helping lift San Jose to a 2-1 victory against Real Salt Lake, giving the team its first victory in over a month.After failing to score in his first 12 MLS matches, Hoesen now has two goals in his last five.

“I think sometimes he’s looking like he’s really aggressive going forward toward goal, and sometimes he’s looking a bit unselfish and that may be a confidence thing on his part, but great finish,” Earthquakes head coach Dominic Kinnear said. “I think he has good ability. We try to get him in positions to face the goal because that’s when we think he’s very good, so yeah, he was a threat tonight, which is nice to see.”

San Jose’s offense, worse than just three MLS teams, had been scuffling with seven players out due to injury, two to suspension, and one to international play in its last match against Kansas City, a 0-0 draw—until Saturday. With forward Marco Ureña, who provided the decisive goal in the 68th minute, and midfielder Darwin Ceren back in the lineup from suspensions, the Earthquakes had more energy and controlled the game on offense, holding the ball for 60 percent of the first half—albeit facing inferior competition than in previous weeks. Kansas City had the league’s No. 1 defense, while Real Salt Lake’s was ranked No. 21 before Saturday.

But San Jose could have had a larger lead against the team with the worst goal differential in the league if they had captivated on a number of promising scoring opportunities. The Earthquakes came out the of the gates blazing, with Hoesen getting a one-on-one attempt with Real Salt Lake goalie Nick Rimando within the first minute of the match, but the native of Heerlen, Netherlands missed just wide right.

“We could have created more chances,” Hoesen said. “We should have scored more as well. I’m just happy that we were positive today, kept attacking and kept trying to score more. That’s what this team should do.”

After several other close calls, Hoesen needed just 12 more minutes before delivering a goal from the center of the box to break the scoreless streak. After Ureña clanked a shot off the left post, Hoesen eventually recovered the ball and found the upper left corner of the net.

After setting the tone early, San Jose kept up the pace, finishing Saturday outshooting Real Salt Lake 17-11, including 6-3 on shots on goal. On top of their improved offense, the Earthquakes kept up their defense that they had leaned on all year, including a diving stop by Anibal Godoy in the 32nd minute. Goalie David Bingham only had to make two saves, yielding just a goal to Jose Hernández in stoppage time.

Cover image: San Jose Earthquakes forward Danny Hoesen, center, kneels as he celebrates his goal with teammates during the first half of an MLS soccer match against Real Salt Lake, Saturday, June 24, 2017, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)




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