Earthquakes three unanswered goals top Austin FC in 4-3 comeback win

Austin FC goalie Austin Stuver gathers his thoughts after surrendering three unanswered goals to the San Jose Earthquakes at Q2 Stadium in Austin on Sat Sep 18, 2021 (AP News photo)

by Marko Ukalovic

AUSTIN, Texas—Minus their head coach, the San Jose Earthquakes flipped the script on their opponent just three days later after blowing a lead in the second half.

Down by a two-goal margin, the Quakes scored three unanswered goals in the second half for a 4-3 comeback victory over the expansion Austin FC on Saturday evening at Q2 Stadium.

San Jose are now 2-2-1 in their last five games. Austin FC have lost their last five matches in a row. With the win, the Quakes jumped from 11th to ninth place in the Western Conference. They sit just three points out of the seventh and final playoff spot with 30 points.

It was San Jose’s first win over the new expansion team. They are 1-0-1 in two matches this season against Austin FC.

Austin FC (5-16-4-19 points) didn’t look like the worst team in MLS as they jumped out of the gate early with the match’s first goal six minutes into the match.

Sebastian Driussi cleaned up a rebound off a header by Moussa Djitte that Quakes goalie JT Marcinkowski saved but wasn’t able to keep the ball out of Driussi’s reach as the center forward buried the ball into the back of the net for his third goal of the season.

San Jose (7-9-9-30 points) answered back in the 17th minute off a corner kick. Carlos Fierro centered the ball back to the middle where a running Marco Lopez from 12 yards outs powered in a header past the reach of Austin FC goalie Brad Stuver for his first goal of the season.

Austin FC played aggressive and attacked the Quakes as they scored two goals in the final 10 minutes of the first half.

A nice give and go between Alexander Ring and Daniel Pereira led to Ring finding Jon Gallagher all alone on the right side as the midfielder tapped home the ball into an empty net for his third goal of the season in the 35th minute.

Right before halftime Ring capitalized on the Quakes relaxed defense. He received the ball just into the attacking zone when he dribbled in and fired a shot from 25 yards out into the lower left corner of the net beating Marcinkowski for his fourth goal of the season.

San Jose, who were without head coach Matias Almeyda as he was serving a one-game suspension for un-sportsman like conduct he directed toward the officials in the match against Real Salt Lake, responded with a bang once the whistle blew to begin the second half.

Lopez serviced a ball from the left sideline into the middle where Benji Kikanovic made a brilliant one-time touch pass to the left to free Espinoza, who got behind the Austin FC defense before he fired a right-footed shot past Stuver into the lower right corner for his third goal of the season in the 49th minute.

The Quakes received a break when Ring was whistled for hand ball inside the box after a VAR review, resulting in a penalty kick for the visiting team in the 56th minute.

Two minutes later, Chofis, who had a hatrick in his last match, converted the penalty with a left-footed shot just inside the right post for his team leading ninth goal of the season.

Chofis wasn’t done, as he answered the bell again just five minutes later to give the Quakes their first lead of the match in the 63rd minute. A bouncing ball found Chofis in the attacking zone. He fired a shot from long range that Stuver punched back out. Chofis picked up his own rebound between three Austin FC defenders, faked a move right then went left before lasering in a shot past Stuver for his 10th goal of the season.

Choifis has been played like a man possessed in the past two matches with five goals.

“”I am very happy for him,” said Almeyda about his foward’s recent success. “There was great sacrifice in getting him to San Jose and reaching the level he is currently at after going a year and a half without playing. He changed the way he trains and lives football, including his professionalism and calmness. When I see him progressing in the sport, it makes me very pleased because he is progressing in life, and no one talks about that.”

Ring received his second yellow card of the match and an automatic red card when he made a hard tackle foul on Eric Remedi in the 65th minute. Ring will be suspended for the next match.

Despite being down a man for the final 35, plus nine minutes of stoppage time, Austin FC controlled the play of the rest of the match with numerous scoring chances and corner kicks in the final 15 minutes of play. However, the Quakes defense anchored down led by saves from Marcinkowksi to escape the Lone Star state with three points in the end.

“Resiliency is a great word,” said Marcinkowski when being asked how the team have been resilient this season. “I think it’s something we always talk about in our locker room. The belief and fight and just the will to win. I think we’ve been in so many close games this year and I think we’ve been a little bit hesitant or have been missing the final pass or final goal, or final save from me. I think we showed tonight that we can do it and have nine games left to show it and show the rest of the league that we’re a team to really watch out for.”

Marcinkowski finished the match with seven saves on 10 shot on target to earn his seventh win of the season. Stuver made four saves on eight shots in the losing effort.

GAME NOTES: Each team conceded eight corner kicks to each other.

The Quakes are now unbeaten in eight consecutive road matches, the longest such run in club history (2003).

San Jose’s last two matches have resulted in 14 total goals (for and against), the most in consecutive matches in club history.

Lopez now has three goals in his MLS career. His goal also marks the first goal against Austin FC in Earthquakes history.

Fierro’s assist on Lopez’s goal, marked his third assist of the season and 10th of his MLS career.

Chofis became the first Quakes player to score 5+ goals in a two-game span since Chris Wondolowski tallied six from May 18, 2019 (4) to May 26, 2019 (2).

Kikanovic’s assist on Espinoza’s goal, marked his first assist of the season and of his MLS career. The match also marked his second MLS start.

Defender Tommy Thompson started and played 68 minutes. It marked his first appearance since June 22.

UP NEXT: San Jose returns home to host LAFC on Saturday 9/25 at 7:00pm at Pal Pay Park.

Real Salt Lake score three goals in wild second half to clip Earthquakes 4-3

The score reveals the results from Wed Sep 15, 2021 game at Pay Pal Park in San Jose as the San Jose Earthquakes are defeated by Real Salt Lake FC (from @SJEarthquakes image)

by Marko Ukalovic

SAN JOSE–It’s beyond a frustrating night when your leading goal scorer scores a hat trick and you still lose the game.

Thus was the case as Real Salt Lake scored three goals in the second half to defeat the San Jose Earthquakes 4-3 in a wild affair on Wednesday evening at Pal Pay Park.

San Jose have lost two of their last three matches. Real Salt Lake is 3-3-0 in their last six matches. They snapped its five-match losing streak on the road.

Real Salt Lake scored the eventual game winner in the 81st minute. Albert Rusnak found Rubio Rubin on the left side of the box and Rubin one-timed a shot past Quakes goalie JT Marcinkowski to complete a brace for the striker from Beaverton, Oregon.

San Jose (6-9-9-27 points) drew first blood on Chofis’ first goal of the match in the 26th minute. Marcos Lopez sent in a long ball down the right wing over to Chofis. The native of Torreón, Mexico played the ball past RSL defender Erik Holt, dribbled inside the box and bent in a left-footed strike into the lower left corner of the net for his team leading sixth goal of the season.

Real Salt Lake (9-9-6-33 points) struck back with the equalizer just before halftime. Off of a corner kick, Rusnak, who proved to be a thorn in the side of San Jose all match long, centered the ball into the middle of the box where Quakes goalie JT Marcinkowski made a diving save on the header by Damir Kreilach but the rebound was cleaned up by Rubin for his sixth goal of the season and first goal of the match.

Real Salt Lake had seven shots on target, with the majority of those in the final 10 minutes, in the first 45 minutes while San Jose had just one, Chofis’ goal.

RSL carried over their momentum they gained at the end of the first half into the start of the second half. A Quakes turnover led to Pablo Ruiz finding Rusnak just outside the box and the Slovakian midfielder dribbled past Oswald Alanis before depositing the ball into the lower left corner for his seventh goal of the season to give RSL its first lead of the match in the 49th minute.

That lead didn’t last long as San Jose answered back immediately. Chofis received the ball along the right sideline and put on a clinical display. He dribbled in, deked out two RSL defenders just outside the box, including Donny Toia who fell to the ground. Choifis continued inside where he chipped a shot between the legs of Holt and past Real Salt Lake goalie David Ochoa for his seventh goal of the season and second of the match in the 50th minute.

The game opened up as both teams went back and forth with scoring chances on counter attacks and turnovers that led to the crazy finish.

San Jose was without the services of their defensive stalwart Nathan as he was suspended for receiving his second yellow card in the match versus FC Dallas last weekend. Real Salt Lake took advantage of the situation with their forwards being left unmarked during the second half.

Chofis completed his hat trick on what was an incredible shot. Real Salt Lake conceded a corner kick in the 64th minute. A minute later Chofis sent in a shot that curled just inside the right post that Ochoa had no chance at for his team leading eighth goal of the season that sent the crowd into a frenzy as the Quakes regained the lead 3-2.

Quakes head coach Matias Almeyda was so upset with the officiating that after the match he pulled his inner Marshawn Lynch when it came time to do his press conference.

“With all due respect to you guys who waited this long for me, I’m only here right now so I don’t get fined,” Almedya said.

Real Salt Lake scored the equalizer off a set piece in the 71st minute. Rusnak serviced the free kick into the middle of the box where Justin Meram was credited with heading the ball past Marcinkowski for his second goal of the season.

Kraeilach was initially issued a red card by referee Nima Saghafi in the 73rd minunte when he went up and elbowed Tanner Beason in the head while challenging for a ball in the air. After VAR review, the foul was down graded to a yellow card.

San Jose had chances to come away with one point when nine extra minutes of stoppage time were added by Saghafi. Their best chance came in the final minute when Alanis fired a shot on net that was saved by Ochoa. The rebound went right to Paul Marie but his header went wide right as RSL escaped Pay Pal Park with the three points.

Ochoa finished the match with three saves on six shots to earn the victory. Marcinkowski made nine saves, the most in his career, on 13 shots in the losing effort.

GAME NOTES: San Jose finished with one four corner kicks. Real Salt Lake had three.

The Quakes hold a 13-12-11 all-time record against Real Salt Lake, including a 9-6-4 record at home. San Jose was unbeaten in their last six home matches against RSL (5-0-1) until tonight.

Real Salt Lake has a 3-7-2 record away from home this season.

San Jose has won each of its last three matches against Real Salt Lake, including a 2-1 win on May 7. The run equals the longest winning streak by either team in the history of the series with the ‘Quakes also winning three in a row in the 2012 season.

San Jose earned its eighth draw in its last 12 games (W3 L1) after a 1-1 match at FC Dallas on Saturday. Prior to the Earthquakes this season, no team had recorded eight draws in a 12-match span since Columbus in May-July 2017.

RSL has won only two of its last 18 matches away from Rio Tinto Stadium (D4 L12) dating back to August 2020.

Wondolowski has scored 13 goals against Real Salt Lake in his career (including MLS is Back), having only scored more against Vancouver (14). His 13 goals are tied with Landon Donovan for the most against RSL in the club’s MLS history.

Damir Kreilach scored his ninth goal of the season in Real Salt Lake’s loss at LAFC on Sunday, his second-highest scoring regular season in MLS (12 in 2018). Kreilach is one goal away from becoming the third player to have multiple 10-goal regular seasons for Real Salt Lake after Álvaro Saborio (4 times) and Albert Rusnák (twice).

UP NEXT: San Jose travel out to the Lone Star state to take on Austin FC on Saturday 9/18 at 5:00pm at Q2 Stadium.

Earthquakes earn 1-1 draw with FC Dallas

FC Dallas defender (24) gives the ball a header to try and get it away from the San Jose Earthquakes forward Cristian Espinoza during the second half of action at Toyota Stadium in Frisco on Sat Sep 11, 2021 (AP News photo)

by Marko Ukalovic

FRISCO, Texas.—The San Jose Earthquakes scored early but couldn’t hold their lead in the second half as they battled to a 1-1 draw with FC Dallas on Saturday evening at Toyota Stadium.

San Jose are unbeaten in 11 of its past 12 matches. FC Dallas are 1-1-2 in its past four games.

San Jose (6-8-9-27 points) drew first blood early in the match when FC Dallas defender Matt Hedges was whistled for a hand ball inside the box for a penalty kick in the fourth minute.

Oswaldo Alanis converted the penalty firing a shot right right down the middle as FC Dallas goalie Phelipe Megiolaro guessed wrong and dove to the left in the sixth minute. Alanis scored his second goal of the season. Both of his goals have come on the penalty against FC Dallas.

FC Dallas (6-10-8-26 points) generated quality scoring chances in the first 45 minutes against San Jose. However Quakes goalie JT Marcinkowski frustrated the home team by stopping each scoring chance that resulted on a shot on goal. Marcinkowski’s best save came in the 40th minute when Jesús Ferreira was open in the middle of the box. Ferreria’s shot attempt was knocked away at the last second by the right hand of Marcinkowski. The ensuing rebound was cleared away by San Jose.

FC Dallas won the possession battle with a 60%-40% edge and generated 12 shot attempts in the first half.

FC Dallas scored the equalizer early in the second half as they carried the momentum they had in the first half to start the final 45 minutes. Justin Che serviced the ball inside the box where Ricardo Pepi headed home the ball past Marcinkowski for his team leading 12th goal of the season in the 50th minute.

San Jose came within inches of regaining the lead in the 58th minute. Chofis sent in a corner kick over to a wide open Chris Wondolowski on the left side. The All-time goal scorer in MLS history sent a header off the crossbar and the rebound was cleared away by FC Dallas.

Two minutes later, Marcinkowski was a thorn in Ferreira side once again as he stoned Ferreira’s shot attempt from point-blank range in the 60th minute.

Both teams had scoring chances late in stoppage time but neither converted their free kicks.

Marcinkowski was the man of the match as he finished the match with six saves on seven shots on target. Megiolaro made one save on two shots on target.

GAME NOTES: San Jose finished with five corner kicks. FC Dallas had eight.

Each team were issued two yellow cards.

The Quakes hold an all-time record of 29-20-18 against FC Dallas, including an unbeaten record of 4-0-4 in their last seven meetings. That unbeaten streak includes four matches played at Toyota Stadium (2-0-2).

UP NEXT: San Jose returns home to host Real Salt Lake on Wednesday 9/15 at 7:30pm

Rapids upend Earthquakes with late goal in 1-0 victory

image from ussoccerplayers.com

by Marko Ukalovic

SAN JOSE—Dominique Badji’s first goal of the season could not have came at a better time.

Badji entered the match in the 88th minute and a minute later scored the game winning goal to help the Colorado Rapids defeat the San Jose Earthquakes 1-0 on Saturday evening at Pal Pay Park.

Nicolás Mezquida won a 50-50 ball just past midfield. He raced down the middle of the pitch before placing a perfect touch pass behind two San Jose defenders over to Badji and the 29-year old midfielder from Senegal fired a strike past Quakes goalie JT Marcinkowski to break the hearts of the 14,142 in attendance.

San Jose (6-8-8) had a chance to score the equalizer in the second minute of stoppage time when Cristian Espinoza found Paul Marie inside the box with a cross from the right wing, but Marie’s header was knocked away at the last second by the left hand of Rapids goalie William Yarbrough.

Colorado (12-4-5) now have 41 points and jumped ahead of Sporting Kansas City into second place in the Western Conference standings. San Jose had its 10-game unbeaten streak snapped as they have fallen to 10th place with 26 points, four behind Real Salt Lake for the seventh and final playoff spot.

The match started out with a bang. As in a big head on head collision in the second minute when Jeremy Ebobisse and Lalas Abubakar had their heads bang against each other when both players went for a ball up in the air. Both players remained down on the pitch for several minutes before being helped off by the field. Abubakar received a yellow card on the dangerous challenge.

Neither player returned to the game and were still being evaluated after the match. Cade Cowell subbed in for Ebobisse in the sixth minute while Drew Moor came in for Abubakar.

Neither team generated many scoring chances in the first half as there was only one shot on target in the first 45 minutes.

San Jose’s best chance came in the 40th minute when Nathan sent in a long ball down the right wing that Cowell was able to chase down. The 2021 MLS All-Star dribbled in before firing a shot just wide of the net on the left side.

Andre Shinyashiki had the best chance for the Rapids in the first half but his shot went wide left of the net in the 41st minute.

The Rapids came close to breaking the ice in the 60th minute when Michael Barrios stripped the ball off Tanner Beason inside the box. He made a quick back pass over to Cole Bassett whose shot hit the left post.

A controversial no call happened in the 76th minute when Espinoza had possession inside the box when Moor apparently held on to him and took him down but referee Joseph Dickerson ruled no foul occurred and play continued on much to chagrin on the San Jose sideline.

Colorado’s Mezquida shot a bicycle kick on target from 10 yards out that Nathan headed out for a corner kick. in the 79th minute.

Espinoza sent a cross into the box over to an open Carlos Fierro but the pass was just a tad hot too handle for Fierro as the ball deflected off of his foot for a goal kick in the 86th minute.

Yarbrough finished the match stopping both shots on goal to earn his ninth shutout of the season and his 12th win overall. Marcinkowski made three saves in the losing effort.

GAME NOTES: San Jose did not have a corner kick in the match. Colorado has one.

With the loss, the Quakes hold an all-time home record of 17-9-9 against the Rapids, including their first loss at Pay Pal Park with a 4-1-2 mark.

The Quakes’ celebrated its annual Mexican Heritage Night, which featured a live luchador performance, themed airbrush tattoos and face paintings and a El jimador postgame fiesta.

UP NEXT: San Jose travel out to Dallas to take on FC Dallas on Saturday 9/11 at 5:30pm at Toyota Stadium.

Earthquakes take down Galaxy 2-1 in California Classico

San Jose Earthquakes edges the LA Galaxy at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson on Fri Aug 20, 2021 (@SJEarthquakes photo)

by Marko Ukalovic

CARSON, Calif–Don’t look now, but there is talk of playoffs in the South Bay.

The San Jose Earthquakes received an own goal late in the match to defeat the Los Angeles Galaxy 2-1 on Friday night in the third installment of the California Classico on Friday evening at Dignity Health Sports Park.

San Jose is on a season long 10 match unbeaten streak (3-0-7) and with 26 points jumped into the seventh place and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Los Angeles have lost two matches in a row and currently sit in third place in the conference with 35 points.

Los Angeles (11-8-2) conceded the game winning goal in the 71st minute when Chofis received a ball near the right end line. Chofis made a nice move around Sega Couliably as he dribbled in towards the net. His shot deflected off the leg of fullback Niko Hämäläinen into the back of the net for an own goal.

“That is the identity I try to transmit to this group and other teams I have coached,” said Quakes head coach Matias Almeyda. “There is a big commitment for each other, and there is a sense of belonging that they earn day-to-day when they put on the jersey.”

San Jose (6-7-8) controlled the pace of play throughout the match, especially in the first half when they had quality scoring chances that were either stoned away by Galaxy goalie Jonathan Bond or the crossbar.

Forward Jeremy Ebobisse had his best game as an Earthquake in just his fourth appearance. He had back to back point blank chances inside the box in the first minute of stoppage time in the first half. Both times Bond came up big, committing highway robbery on Ebobisse to keep the first 45 minutes scoreless.

The Earthquakes came out possessed in the second half as two minutes in off a corner kick, Ebobisse had a header hit off the crossbar and the subsequent rebound by Tanner Beason was stopped by Bond.

Ebobisse was not to be denied in this match. In the 52minute, Chofis sent a ball down the right wing where Luciano Abecasis settled it and made a perfect cross over to Ebobisse as the talented striker headed the ball past Bond into the right corner of the net for his first goal in a Quakes uniform.

“It’s easy to get demoralized in those moments,” said Ebobisee about his earlier chances in the match. “It’s also part of the growth in the development of a striker is being relentless and understanding that if you’re missing chances, if the goalie is making good saves, there’s another chance that’s coming your way. I was happy I was able to meet the quality of the cross that came in with a quality finish as well.”

In eight appearances against the Galaxy, Ebobisse has scored seven goals.

The Galaxy scored the equalizer in the 65th minute off a set piece play. Victor Vazquez’s corner kick knuckleballed just inside the left post as Quakes goalie JT Marcinkowski’s diving attempt was not enough to keep the ball out of the net. It was Vasquez’s first goal of the season.

Almeyda tactically went defensive in the final 15 minutes of play when he inserted fullback Paul Marie in the 81st minute for Chofis. A moved that paid off as the Galaxy, despite many corner kicks late, weren’t able to earn a point in the match.

“The mentality of the team to go find that game winner, that symbolizes what this team is capable of. To go on the road in the Cali Classico against an LA Galaxy team that is very strong, near the top of the table (in the Western Conference). To show the resilience, not put our heads down, not allow them to capitalize, equalizing the game shows what this team can be if we’re into it for 90 minutes,” Ebobisee said.

Marcinkowski finished with three saves on four shots to earn his sixth victory of the season. Bond, who arguably was the man of the match, made five saves on six shots in the losing effort.

GAME NOTES: San Jose had six corner kicks. Los Angeles had 12.

The Quakes first unbeaten stretch of 10+ matches in a single season since July-Oct. 2005 (11-0-3). The 10-match unbeaten streak is the third longest in Quakes history (2005-14; 2001-12).

The Earthquakes extended their unbeaten streak on the road to six matches (2-0-4). It marks the club’s longest unbeaten streak away from home since July-Oct. 2005 (6-0-0)

San Jose is now 27-24-16 all-time against the LA Galaxy, including an 9-22-6 record away from home.

The Quakes have now allowed one or fewer goals in nine consecutive matches, conceding a total of seven in that span.

Chofis recorded his second assist on the season on Ebobisse’s goal.

UP NEXT: San Jose returns home to host the Colorado Rapids on Saturday 9/4 at 7:00pm at Pay Pal Park.

Earthquakes left frustrated in 1-1 draw with Minnesota United

Chris Wondolowski of the San Jose Earthquakes gets a hug from his father after making his 400th career appearance as a substitute during the 85th minute against the Minnesota FC on Tue Aug 17, 2021 (photo from @SJEarthquakes)

by Marko Ukalovic

SAN JOSE—It’s usually not a good thing when an official makes himself a part of a match.

The San Jose Earthquakes found that out the hard way in a 1-1 draw with Minnesota United on Tuesday evening at Pay Pal Park.

Referee Victor Rivas, in his first full season as a referee in MLS, left the home team frustrated at the end of match with numerous non-calls against Minnesota that appeared to be fouls.

The worse non-call came in the 80th minute when Cade Cowell, a substitute in the 54th minute, came streaking in on a one-on-two break and DJ Taylor appeared to have drug him down. Rivas ruled to play on, much to the chagrin of Quakes head coach Matias Almeyda and the 10,353 fans in attendance.

“The truth is I’m really upset,” said an animated Almeyda. “I’ve been speaking out about these misses (calls) for a while. It’s not a justification. We’ve lost matches to our mistakes. If there is a DP on the other team and they protect them. (I want them to) protect my youngsters (too). Have the fouls be the same and have them call it the same way (on both sides). My complaint is to have it (the match) called even. And when we protest, we get sent off!”

San Jose, with the tie, extended its unbeaten streak to nine games. Minnesota United are 3-1-3 in its past seven matches.

San Jose (5-7-8-23 points) drew first blood in the 12th minute. A service from across the pitch left to right from Marcos Lopez found Cristian Espinoza along the right wing. Espinoza dribbled inside and fired a shot from just beyond the box that deflected off the leg of fullback Bakaye Dibassy into the back of the net for an own goal.

The tide turned in the 21st minute when defenseman Nathan slid hard into Dibassy with his cleats up that injured the Minnesota defenseman. Referee Victor Rivas initially issued a yellow card. After a VAR review, the infraction was changed to a red card and an automatic ejection. Nathan will be suspended for the next match against the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Minnesota United (7-6-6-27 points) made San Jose pay immediately. In the 22nd minute, Ethan Finlay centered a ball over to Adrien Hunou inside the box. Hunou made a back pass over to Wil Trapp open from 15 yards out. Trapp fired a shot into the lower right corner that beat Quakes goalie JT Marcinkowski.

Both teams had scoring chances in the final minutes of stoppage time in the first half.

Hassani Dotson’s right footed shot from the right side of the box was knocked away by Marcinkowski in the third minute of stoppage time.

Jeremy Ebobisse set up Espinoza in the fifth minute of stoppage time, but Espinoza’s right footed shot headed for the top left corner was stoned away by Miller.

Despite being down a man for the rest of the game, San Jose didn’t sit back and defend just to have a tie. They countered attacked in the second half when Cowell, Carlos Fierro and Paul Marie came into the match as subs in the second half.

The Quakes had a chance one minute into stoppage time in the second half to score the game winning goal when Jackson Yueill had a free kick from just beyond the box. However, his right footed attempt sailed high and wide right of the net.

Marcinkowski finished the match making two saves on the four shot attempts by Minnesota United. Miller made one save on three shots on net.

GAME NOTES: San Jose finished with three corner kicks. Minnesota United had seven.

Chris Wondolowski made his 400th MLS appearance as a substitute in the 85th minute.

The Earthquakes nine game unbeaten streak is the longest of the season and is the longest unbeaten streak since August-November 2012, going 10 in a row without a loss (including playoffs).

Minnesota United’s 1-0 loss to LA Galaxy on Saturday was its second loss in the last 14 matches (W7 D6). The Loons are tied with Nashville and New England for the fewest losses in MLS in that time (since May 12).

UP NEXT-San Jose travels out to Los Angeles to take on the Galaxy in the third installment of the California Classico on Friday 8/20 at 7:30pm at Dignity Health Sports Park.

Earthquakes extend unbeaten streak in scoreless draw with Whitecaps

Vancouver Whitecaps defender Javain Brown and San Jose Earthquakes midfielder Shea Salinas (6) get tangled up in first half action at Pay Pal Park in San Jose on Fri Aug 13, 2021 (AP News photo)

by Marko Ukalovic

SAN JOSE–The San Jose Earthquakes are going to wonder what could have been.

Missed opportunities were the theme of the night as San Jose ended up with a 0-0 draw against the Vancouver Whitecaps on Friday evening at Pal Pay Park.

San Jose extended the league’s longest unbeaten streak to eight games. Vancouver extended its own unbeaten streak to six games with its fifth consecutive draw.

The first half featured 11 combined total shots with San Jose winning the edge 7-4 over Vancouver. The Quakes also had a slight edge in possession in the first 45 minutes, 51.2%-48.8%.

San Jose (5-7-7-22 points) had its best chance of the first half in the 31st minute. Jeremey Ebobisse, who made his first start for head coach Matias Almeyda, received a cross from Luciano Abecasis and his sliding shot from a tough angle was knocked over the net by Whitecaps goalie Maxime Crépeau.

Vancouver (3-7-8-17 points) had their chance in the 27th minute when Déiber Caicedo serviced a ball in the middle to Ranko Veselinovic, whose header was stopped by Quakes goalie JT Marcinkowski.

In the second half San Jose controlled the play and had numerous scoring chances when they had the ball deep inside the box. However, most of those scoring chances ended in a turnover with mistimed passes and a few instances of hesitation by the Quakes.

Almedya looked for a spark from his offense in the 59th minute when he substituted in All-Star Cade Cowell and Marcos Lopez.

“I think the two outside players put in a huge effort,” said Almeyda. “The idea was to put in Cade (Cowell) and (Carlos) Fierro to get more energy and to win out wide. We wanted to win the game. There was a clear message regarding the subs.”

San Jose had its best chance of the match in the 62nd minute. Oswaldo Alanís found Ebobisse open on the right wing from just outside the box. Ebobisse made a move to the inside before firing a shot that Crépeau got a piece of with his left hand and the ball caromed off the right post.

“We took the risk (on being more aggressive on the attack) that could have hurt us on a counter (attack). But we ended up playing with almost all of the forwards that we have. We weren’t able to win but we still added points,” Almeyda said.

Both Marcinkowski and Crépeau finished the match with three for three on their save attempts. Marcinkowski has three shutouts this season and seven for his career.

GAME NOTES: San Jose finished with seven corner kicks. Vancouver had just two.

San Joes is 8-10-10 against Vancouver, including a 5-1-7 record at home and a 4-1-3 record at PayPal Park, in the overall series.
The Quakes have now allowed one or fewer goals in seven consecutive matches.

Forward Andy Rios made his 50th MLS appearance, entering the match in the 77th minute.

UP NEXT: The Quakes conclude its three-game homestand when they host Minnesota Unites on Tuesday 8/17 at 7:30pm at Pay Pal Park.

Earthquakes take down LAFC 2-1

San Jose Earthquakes get by LAFC at Pay Pal Park in San Jose on Sun Aug 8, 2021 the Quakes improve their record to 5-6-7 tenth place in the MLS Western Conference (@LAFC image)

by Marko Ukalovic

SAN JOSE—The San Jose Earthquakes welcomed their newest addition to their team with a 2-1 win over LAFC on Sunday afternoon at Pay Pal Park.

San Jose traded for Portland Timbers forward Jeremy Ebobisse this past Thursday in exchange for $667k of General Allocation Money (GAM) in 2022 and $500k of GAM in 2023. The also rewarded Ebobisse with a new contract through the 2024 MLS season.

San Jose won at home for the first time since May 1st. They are now unbeaten in seven straight matches (2-0-5) to give them 21 points and tied for eight place in the Western Conference. LAFC have lost two matches in a row and are winless in its last five.

The Quakes were looking for more scoring punch and head coach Matias Almeyda has another weapon added to his arsenal. Ebobissse has scored 26 goals to go along with his eight assists, including five game-winning goals and two game-winning assists, across 88 appearances (54 starts). He has scored 23 goals in 65 appearances since the start of the 2019 season, tied for 11th most in MLS during that time.

Ebobisse’s teammates were able to score two goals in the first 28 minutes of the first half.

San Jose (5-7-6) drew first blood in the 11th minute. Off a set piece, Cristian Espinoza serviced a ball into the box where fullback Nathan lifted his foot high enough to get a piece of the ball that went past LAFC goalie Tomás Romero for his second goal of the season.

Nathan’s goal came two minutes after Cade Cowell set up Jackson Yueill who shot the ball off the crossbar.

The Quakes doubled its lead in the 28th minute when Espinoza intercepted a headed ball down the right wing and cut back into the middle, making Tristan Blackmon slide past him, before finding a wide open Chofis who buried the ball into the lower left corner for his team leading fifth goal of the season.

“I think it’s fundamental that we continue to keep the order that we’ve had in these last few matches. The last three or four matches were against really good teams, the best in the league in my opinion. We’ve done well. We’ve been able to take the victory in two of them, so I think it’s about keeping order and continue to be a team that gets better physically,” Espinoza said.

Ebobisse made his Quakes debut in the 36th minute when he substituted in for Luciano Abecasis to a standing ovation from the Earthquakes faithful.

“I think he Is a player that will give San Jose a lot,” said Almeyda on Ebobisse’s debut. “Whenever a player wins on their debut, that is important. He and his teammates gave their maximum effort.”

Three minutes later, LAFC (6-7-5) cut the lead in half thanks to an own goal by Jackson Yueill. Carlos Vela sent in a free kick from 35 yards out into the middle of the box and unfortunately for San Jose, the ball deflected off of Yueill’s head and into the back of the net.

Latiff Blessing had a great opportunity to score the equalizer in the 65th minute when he cut back on his right foot inside the box and outdeked two San Jose defenders. However, his point blank shot was stopped by Quakes goalie JT Marcinkowski.

Ebobisse said it has been a nice, easy transition since coming to San Jose.

“It was a really warm welcome from everyone, starting with the fans and getting into the locker room with players, coaches. Everyone in the team environment has been super open and have been trying to make it as easy as possible for me to feel settled in. Once we get onto the field, we all speak the same language, the language of the sport and we start to see different connections popping up. It’s just really exciting and refreshing to be in this environment. There’s more for me to give from a personality standpoint and then from a footballing standpoint. The first couple of days, with the hectic nature of packing up, taking a flight and getting acquainted with a new system, meeting everyone and getting to know different names and different tendencies, I think it’s been a relatively smooth transition,” Ebobisse said.

LAFC did not generate any scoring chances in the last nine minutes of stoppage time.

Marcinkowski finished the match with six saves on six shots on target to earn the victory. Romero made two saves on four shots in the losing effort.

GAME NOTES: San Jose had six corner kicks. LAFC had three.

The Quakes extended their winning streak against LAFC to three. San Jose is now 3-5-0 all-time vs. LAFC, including a 2-2-0 record at home.

Chofis’ goal marked the first game-winning goal of his MLS career.

Espinoza tallied assists on Nathan and Chofis’ goals, marking his fifth and sixth assists of the season and 27th and 28th of his MLS career. It marks the first time an Earthquakes player tallied two or more assists in a single match since April 24, 2021 (Cade Cowell; two vs. D.C. United). Espinoza has now tallied six assists, including two game-winning assists, in six regular season appearances vs. LAFC.

Yueill made his 100th MLS appearance, starting and played the full 90 minutes.

UP NEXT: San Jose continue its three-game homestand on Friday 8/13 as they host the Vancouver Whitecaps at 7:30pm at Pay Pal Park.

Earthquakes duel to a 1-1 draw with Timbers

The Portland Timbers Diego Chara (21) gets away from a San Jose Earthquakes defender at Providence Park in Portland on Wed Aug 4, 2021 (photo from oregonlive.com)

by Marko Ukalovic

The San Jose Earthquakes battled to a 1-1 draw with the Portland Timbers on Wednesday evening at Providence Park.

San Jose has a six-game point streak (1-0-5) and have 18 points in the Western Conference. Portland snapped its two-game losing streak and sit in eighth place in the Western Conference, two points ahead of the Quakes.

San Jose (4-7-6) drew first blood in midway through the first half. Cristian Espinoza received a long ball along the right side. He serviced the ball into the middle of the box where Timbers goalie Steve Clark made a diving attempt but wasn’t able to corral the ball and the rebound leaked out to the left where Chofis buried the ball into an open net for his fourth goal of the season, tying him with Cade Cowell for the team lead, in the 24th minute.

Portland 6-8-2) scored the equalizer in the final minute of stoppage in the first half. A corner kick floated into the box where Bill Tuiloma headed towards the right corner and Felipe Mora was able to deflect it into the net past Quakes goalie JT Marcinkowski for his team leading fifth goal of the season.

Quakes head coach Matias Almeyda made his first substitute change right after halftime and brought in midfielder Jackson Yueill, who played in his first Quakes action since July 3rd when he left to join the US Men’s National Team for the Gold Cup.

“It’s been a while,” said Yueill. “It’s nice to be back with the team and with the group and it’s nice to be playing again with everyone. When I came in, [Matias] told me to do what I normally do, get comfortable again, get familiar with the team again and try to bring some energy and calmness to the game. Just go out there and play and get reacquainted with everyone. It’s fun to be back with everyone and I think the tie on the road is a good point.”

Almeyda put in three fresh legs in the final 10 minutes of the match with the intention of trying to score the go ahead goal when he inserted Chris Wondolowski. Andy Rios and Carlos Fierro.

San Jose had their best chances in stoppage time thanks to the second yellow card issued to Diego Chara in the third minute of stoppage time which resulted in a red card and automatic ejection. Chara stepped on the foot of Yueill when tried challenging for the ball near the D-line.

In the final minute, Fierro sent in a cross over to Yueill, whose shot was stoned away by Clark. The Quakes last chance came on a corner kick in the final seconds of the game but they weren’t able to convert having to settle for one point on the night instead of three.

“It makes me very happy for the players and for the whole team. Our intention is for everyone to run and play. That goal reflects our intentions. We want every player at San Jose to identify with the style. Those goals are always a prize. I think we’ve had similar instances in which we controlled the match but were just missing the finish that could have potentially won us the match tonight,” Almeyda said.

Marcinkowski finished the evening with three saves on four shot. Clark made seven saves on eight shots.

GAME NOTES: San Jose had four corner kicks. Portland had six.

Chara, with the red card, will be suspended for the next Timbers game.

San Jose is unbeaten in five consecutive road matches (1-0-4). It marks the team’s longest unbeaten run as visitors since the final four road matches of the 2012 season (3-0-1).

The Quakes earned their first point at Providence Park since Sept. 7, 2014, snapping an eight-game losing streak at the venue.

The Quakes are now 5-14-9 all-time vs. Portland, including a 0-10-4 record on the road.

UP NEXT: The Earthquakes return to San Jose to host LAFC on Saturday 8/8 at 4:00pm at Pay Pal Park.

Earthquakes take down Sounders 1-0 snap winless streak

The San Jose Earthquakes celebrate their win over the Seattle Sounders at Lumen Field in Seattle on Sat Jul 31, 2021 (@SJEarthquakes photo)

by Marko Ukalovic

SEATTLE–It has been a long time coming, but the streak is finally over.

Cristian Espinoza scored in the first minute of extra time in the first half to propel the San Jose Earthquakes to an upset victory over the Seattle Sounders 1-0 on Saturday afternoon at Lumen Field.

That would be all that San Jose needed to snap an 11-game winless steak. They now have points in five straight games and moved into a tie for ninth place with Houston with 17 points. They also snapped a 14-game winless streak against their Western Conference rival. Seattle, atop of the Western Conference with 32 points, have lost two games in a row for the first time all season and back-to-back at home.

“It’s a big joy because we deserved the victory considering the quality of the opponent, Quakes head coach Matias Almeyda said after the victory. “Whenever we played this team, we were always routed. I think we played a really smart game and fortunately we got the win.”

San Jose (4-7-5) earned the game’s first scoring chance in the seventh minute. Shae Salinas serviced a ball over to a wide open Chofis. The Mexican striker’s shot sailed up and high over the net.

Seattle (9-3-5) controlled play in the opening 45 minutes from the 10th minute on. Kelyn Rowe made a nice pass into the middle where Raúl Ruidíaz one-timed a shot that was knocked up and over the net by Quakes goalie JT Marcinkowski.

The Sounders had their best scoring chance in the first half in the 34th minute when Ruidíaz, the league’s leading goal scorer, found a streaking Reed Baker-Whiting inside the box but the 16-year old’s point blank was stopped by Marcinkowski to keep the game scoreless.

“I think I’m just trying to be more present. Just trying to be more in the moment and focus on doing everything well, having a really positive mindset and not letting big things get out of control”, said Marcinkowski.

The Quakes took advantage of a Sounders turnover when Florian Jungwirth, who made a start in the midfield, headed the ball over to Espinoza along the right side. Espinoza dribbled into the D and buried a low line shot through the legs of Xavier Arreaga (as three Sounder defenders converged on Espinoza) to the right corner that beat Sounders goalie Stefan Cleveland for his second goal of the season.

“When the team was losing so many games in a row, there were matches in which they played well. Obviously, the results weren’t what we expected. We believe in hard work, humility, and desire. When you believe in your work and virtue, sooner or later the sun will shine”, Almeyda said.

Despite winning the possession battle 63-37%, Seattle were left frustrated heading into the intermission.

In the second half both teams traded scoring chances in the first 20 minutes.

Sounders midfielder João Paulo’s right footed shot from outside the box was just wide left of the net in the 59th minute.

Chofis had a chance to give the Quakes some insurance but his attempt from 10 yards out was easily handed by Cleveland.

Chris Wondolowki thought he had scored his 167th career MLS goal in the 89th minute when his right footed shot beat Cleveland to the right corner of the net. However after a VAR review the goal was overturned as video showed the Andy Rios did not keep the ball in play when it crossed the sideline out of bounds.

Things got chippy in the final eight minutes of stoppage with each team being issued a yellow card. Joshua Atencio (90+3) and Nathan (90+4) both earned the infraction for hard fouls they committed.

Marcinkowski finished with three saves on the day to earn his second shutout and first victory shutout of the season. Cleveland made one save on two shot attempts in the losing effort.

GAME NOTES: San Jose only had one corner kick. Seattle had seven.

This was the Quakes first win in Seattle since June 20, 2015. This was also Almeyda’s first win against the Sounders since becoming the head coach in 2018.

The Quakes are now 11-14-8 all-time vs. Seattle Sounders FC, including a 6-10-2 record on the road.

UP NEXT: The Earthquakes travel out to Portland to take on the Timbers on Saturday on Wednesday 8/4 at 7:30pm at Providence Park.