Newly acquired San Jose Earthquakes fullback Rodrigues awaits a corner kick from the Vancouver Whitecaps at Pay Pal Park on Sunday Sep 4, 2022. (Dario Cruz-Tectonic Takes)
by Marko Ukalovic
SAN JOSE — Jeremy Ebobisse stayed as hot on the field as the temperature was at kickoff
The San Jose Earthquakes scored twice in the first half en route to a 2-0 shutout victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps on a blistering hot Sunday evening at Pay Pal Park.
San Jose has won two of its past three matches. Vancouver has lost two matches in a row.
‘Quakes head coach Alex Covelo inserted recently acquired fullback Rodrigues into the starting lineup as the Brazilian defender made his Earthquakes debut since being acquired on loan from Brazilian club Grêmio back on August 6th. Rodrigues filled up one of the open international spots San Jose had.
Rodrigues’ debut got off to a shaky start with a couple of turnovers inside the ‘Quakes zone in the first 15 minutes of the match. As the match prolonged, Rodrigues settled down and played well in the second half with tackles that helped contain counter attacks from Vancouver.
“He is a physical and powerful player that could also help us out with aerial balls. With the ball, he was very comfortable today. He had a very good game defensively and offensively. Obviously physically he is not in the best of conditions but will improve step by step,” Covelo said.
Ebobisse helped San Jose (7-12-9-30 points) draw first blood early in the match. Cade Cowell, who started the match at left wing, split two defenders before centering the ball into the middle. Captain Jackson Yueill made a one-touch back pass over to Ebobisse who buried a left footed shot into the upper left corner of the net for his team leading 15th goal of the season in the fourth minute.
I tried flicking it if he (Ebobisse) was a little bit in front of me,” said Yueill on the team’s first goal. “Luckily it went right to him and he (Ebobisse) had a phenomenal finish, so all the credit goes to him because it’s a tough goal, and to Cade (Cowell) as well because of his speed and the correct path he chose to do. Great team goal and credit to Jebo (Ebobisse).”
The ‘Quakes had the Whitecaps (9-13-7-34 points) on their heels for the majority of the first half with quality chances.
Covelo said, “We knew that Vancouver was going to present this 3-4-3 with those wingbacks divided a little bit more and leave the three center backs a little bit behind. We knew that as soon as we could rotate the ball and create some pressure, we had to go for the one vs. one, whether with Cristian [Espinoza], Jebo [Jeremy Ebobisse], Cade [Cowell], or Jamiro [Monteiro] charging and find the ball to the wings. They read it very well and I think I was sitting on the bench for the majority of the first half.”
San Jose doubled its lead in the 34th minute. Cristian Espinoza came in from the right wing and centered a ball over to Jamiro Monteiro inside the box. Monteiro beat Whitecaps goalkeeper Thomas Hasal with a low right footed shot the right corner of the net for his fourth goal of the season.
Espinoza tallied his 12th assist of the season. He is now two assists away from tying Eddie Lewis for the most assists in a single season in club history. Espinoza is also now two assists away from tying Richard Mulrooney for the second most assists in club history.
Vancouver played more aggressively in the second half generating scoring chances near the net. However, the ‘Quakes defense and goalkeeper JT Marcinkowski kept Vancouver off the scoreboard when the Whitecaps had shots on target.
Marcinkowski finished with six saves to earn his third clean sheet of the season. Hasal made three saves on five shot on target in the losing effort.
GAME NOTES: San Jose finished with three corner kicks. Vancouver had nine.
San Jose is now 9-10-12 all-time vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC, including an 6-1-8 record at home.
The Earthquakes are now 7-8-6 in MLS play under interim head coach Alex Covelo
Vancouver had its unbeaten streak of five matches (2W, 3D) against San Jose snapped.
Vancouver has only won once in San Jose in 15 trips to Silicon Valley. Their last victory at Pay Pal Park was in August 2018, 3-2 win.
UP NEXT: San Jose begins a two-match road trip when they visit FC Cincinnati on Saturday 9/10 at 4:30pm at TQL Stadium.