Dynamo win by two in Tucson

By Pearl Allison Lo

Houston came back with three in the second half in a 2-1 win over the San Jose Earthquakes Saturday, to close San Jose’s friendly play in Arizona, 3-1.

The Earthquakes’ Chris Wondolowski, Clarence Goodson and the Dynamo’s Brad Davis returned from National Team duty.

In the 13th minute, San Jose’s Jordan Stewart and Shea Salinas led a counterattack across the field.

After teammate Steven Lenhart headed off Houston’s second corner kick and Wondo got the ball, in a similar matter to the 13th, Stewart and Salinas combined to lead to a kick. Tyler Deric saved the ball, but then Wondolowski saw an opportunity after Deric fell and lost the ball, as he quickly raced to finish the play with a goal in the 21st minute.

In the second half, the Earthquakes replacedall of their first half starters.

San Jose’s Mike Fucito nearly had another goal for the second game, in the 57th minute. A long ball by A.J. Corrado led to AJ Cochran being Fucito’s sole field defender and Fucito had to switch from his oft used foot to avoid the quickly approaching Deric.

Bryan Meredith came in as the Earthquakes’ goalkeeper for David Bingham in the 60th minute.

In the 65th minute, Corrado passed to Shaun Francis who passed to Fucito in front of the net again. Before Fucito could pull off a shot, however, Servando Carrasco came up from behind with a challenge.

On the same play going the other way, Omar Cummings leveled the score at one apiece. He was able to score from his left foot with the help of a deflected shot off San Jose.

Cummings nearly had another chance two minutes later, but the ball was offsides and wide.

An offsides call gave the Dynamo the ball back. Draft pick Mark Sherrod passed to trialist Sito Seoane who scored as his defender and Meredith collided in the 74th minute to give Houston the 2-1 lead.

Tony Cascio, on loan from the Colorado Rapids, scored the Dynamo’s third goal and put the game further out of reach in the 84th minute. As Meredith approached him, Cascio punched the ball the opposite way.

Game notes: The Earthquakes will travel to Fresno for their next preseason friendly, Saturday February 15 at 7p versus the LA Galaxy.

Wondo a late game hero for the Quakes

By Ivan Makarov

At this point in the MLS season, and given their position in the standings, San Jose Earthquakes could not afford to lose any points in the remaining four games to still have a chance to make playoffs.

Sunday night game in Los Angeles against Chivas USA proved to be a thriller, as  it took the Quakes 87 minutes to break through and keep their playoffs chance  alive going into the final stretch of the season. They won the match 1-0, thanks to the late game heroics from their top goalscorer Chris Wondolowski.

After largely uneventful first half, with the only memorable moment being a yellow card to Stephen Lenhart, as he injured Steve Purdy in an airial challenge, things started to pick up in the second. Lenhart was in the middle of the action again after a corner kick taken by Shea Salinas. Lenhart ran into the box toward the cross, and put the header into the net. However, a quick whistle from the referee negated an apparent goal, as he indicated that Lenhart fouled on the play. A video replay did not show any point of contact or where the foul was committed, but the score remained 0-0.

Quakes continued to push the ball forward, and looking like a better team, but could not find that final touch they needed to put the ball into the net.

The earlier booking on Lenhart proved to be pricy later on the 81st minute as the Quakes forward went to challenge the high ball against Chivas goalkeeper Dan Kennedy, and instead of reaching the ball, he ran into the keeper. Referee showed no hesitation in booking Lenhart again with the second yellow, followed by the red card. That left the Quakes with one man down for the rest of the game. But it didn’t stop them from pushing forward, with their season on the line.

With only six minutes remaining in the regulation, the fortune finally turned to the Quakes. Alan Gordon had the ball just outside the Chivas box, and took a long shot. It wasn’t the strongest of kicks, but it dipped down, bounced off the grass and went up when it reached Dan Kennedy. Up to this point, Kennedy was nothing short of spectacular for his team, but he made a mistake this time, as the ball rebounded off his chest and back into the field. Quakes’ most dangerous man Chris Wondolowski was the first to the rebound, and he flicked the ball above Kennedy and into the net, breathing life into Quakes playoffs chances this season.

Quakes went on to defend their lead in the remaining minutes in the game, and improved their standing to 44 points with three games remaining and just one point outside the playoffs spot in the West. Their chances for post season keep improving, but the task is still hard, as they likely need at least two more victories in the remaining three games to qualify for playoffs.

The Quakes next host Colorado Rapids at home at Buck Shaw Stadium on Wednesday, October 9.

Big win keeps Quakes hopes alive in the Champions League

By Ivan Makarov

SANTA CLARA, CA – Facing elimination in the CONCACAF Champions League with a draw or loss, San Jose Earthquakes delivered one of their best performances this season against Montreal Impact on Tuesday night at Buck Shaw Stadium, defeating them 3-0.

After trading chances early on, the Quakes scored first on the 21st minute. A long throw in the Montreal’s zone landed on Steven Lenhart’s head who passed it back to Chris Wondowski. This caught Montreal’s defense by surprise and there was no one able to stop Quakes forward as he put the ball into the net, scoring first Champions League goal for the club in the tournament.

While the game looked even prior to the goal, the lead gave the Quakes needed confidence and they started to take over the pocessing and the scoring chances.

“The game changed a little bit [after the first goal],” said Montreal’s center back Alessandro Nesta. “We had some opportunities, and some chances, but as it happened today, if you don’t score, you start losing these opportunities.”

Impact’s best moment of the first half came at the very end when the cross from the left zone came within inches of Daniele Paponi’s foot and the empty net. Justin Morrow read the play and cleared it away from danger last moment.

Marvin Chavez delivered the second blow on the 57th minute. The ball was inside Montreal’s penalty box and Matteo Ferrari cleared it outside the box. It wasn’t a good clear, however, and it fell to Chavez chest who stopped it and put a hard volley on the net right after. It flew fast and into the net, giving the Quakes two goal lead they desperately needed to improve their standings.

Desperate for change, Montreal head coach Marco Schallibaum made double substitution on the 63rd minute, sending Felipe and Marco Di Vaio (current leading MLS goalscorer) onto the field. That didn’t help, however and neither forward had a scoring chance the rest of the game.

Coming on as a substitution for Marvin Chaves, Shea Salinas scored a similar goal as Chavez on 84th minute. It was another failed clearance by Montreal, and Salinas got the ball just at the top of the penalty box, with only Jeb Brovski and the goaltender to beat. Salinas accelerated with his signature takeoff speed, and blew past Brovski who couldn’t keep up. With just the goalkeeper Troy Perkins in front of him, Salinas put the ball into the net with the low kick to make it 3-0 for the Quakes.

Salinas could have made it 4-0 when he got the ball on the edge of the box during stoppage time, but he shot the ball straight into Perkins.

How pleased was the Quakes interim coach Mike Watson with the three goals in one game after scoring just once in the last three games?

“Very pleased,” he said after the game. “I thought at 1-0, there was still a lot to do in the game. We still had to defend a lot. It shows our persistence. We feel very good about our performance. Maybe three goals is what we need to get going offensively.”

Quakes are next back in action on Saturday when they travel to Salt Lake City on take on Real in the MLS regular season. Their next Champions League game is at home against CD Heredia on October 23.

Quakes Falter in Guatemala

By Elliot Alagueuzian

August 28, 2013

The San Jose Eathquake’s hopes of qualifying for the last 16 of the CONCACAF Champions League are all but over after losing 1-0 to Heredia in Guatemala City. The Quakes are now left with 0 points out of two games away from home.

Fortunately the final two games will be at Buck Shaw stadium but even maximum points from those games may not be enough to save the men in black. A substantial goal difference may be the Quakes best to salvage whatever they can from this Champions league campaign. In other words they must blow out Montreal and Heredia at home in order to give them a chance of progressing through the group stage.

The Quakes first real chance of the game fell to Chris Wondolowski who skied a cross coming from the near post over the bar from about 8 to 10 yards out. Ramiro Corrales then hit a freekick from about 30 yards out the just grazed the top of the crossbar and that was about as close as the Quakes got to scoring a goal in the second half.

Enrique Miranda from Heredia though broke the deadlock in the 68th minute with a right footed shot outside the penalty area. It was one of two shots on goal that Heredia had and the Quakes only had one.

With having already traveled to Dallas and now Guatemala City the Quakes will now head off to SoCal to face arch rivals LA Galaxy in the California Clasico this Saturday at the StubHub Center.

Quakes win crucial encounter against SKC

By Elliot Alagueuzian

SAN JOSE- San Jose Earthquakes will be happy that their playoff hopes got a big boost Sunday night as they shutout Sporting Kansas City 1-0 at Buck Shaw Stadium. After a disappointing result in Vancouver the Quakes were looking to bounce back against one of the top teams in MLS.

The game started out pretty slow for both teams with SKC hunkering down their defense and not letting the Quakes create too many chances. Both teams enjoyed good spells of possession but never created anything that made the crowd stand on its feet and cheer.

It wasn’t until Steven Beitashour served a great ball into the box to forward Chris Wondolowski that the Quakes finally took a chance and finished and one of the most hardest defenses in MLS. Wondo was about 10 yards away from goal and got a powerful header to the far post that beat the outstretched fingers of KC goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen.

Wondo had a lot of great things to say for the back line who kept great organization throughout the game. “I thought we kept our defensive shape and were hard to break down.” An amazing night for one Quake in particular, Jon Busch celebrated his 100th win in the league as well as his 37th birthday. Wondo could not emphasize how big Busch has been since joining the Quakes. “He’s such a true professional, he comes in works hard everyday. Day in day out. Couldn’t be happier for him and he definitely deserves it.”

The Quakes will face FC Dallas in Frisco Texas next Saturday.

Whitecaps shutout Quakes in Vancouver

By Elliot Alagueuzian

August 10, 2013

143VANCOUVER–The San Jose Earthquakes will be disappointed they did not finish their chances after conceding two goals and losing 2-0 to the Vancouver Whitecaps at BC Place. The Whitecaps offense was led by Nigel Reo-Coker, Kenny Miller and Camilo Senvezzo. Reo-Coker took on Clarence Goodson and beat him out wide before crossing into the box to Senvezzo who tapped the ball into the back of the net to give the Caps a 1-0 lead.

Earthquakes tried to respond when Sam Cronin took a shot inside that rebounded off a Whitecaps defender and above the head of Shea Salinas who attempted an overhead kick whoever, the shot lacked power and fell straight into the arms of goalkeeper David Ousted.

The second goal came when midfielder Russell Teibert passed the ball into the box from the right hand side, Reo-Coker missed his shot but Kenny Miller didn’t and made it 2-0 Vancouver.

Quakes Head Coach Mark Watson was disappointed his team couldn’t take their chances against a good team away from home. “The game quite simply was they took their chances and we didn’t, we had a couple opportunities to score one or two early on that would’ve changed the game.” Said Watson who believes his team still have a great chance to qualify for the playoffs. “We’re disappointed but we know that there are enough points on table so we keep working, we get back to work next week and prepare for our next game.”

Vancouver made the game’s first great chance when Senvezzo hit a freekick and Miller headed the ball inches over the crossbar. Quakes created a few chances to try and take the lead but the best chance of the first half came when the ball fell to Cordell Cato who struck the ball very well but Ousted made a fantastic save.

Chris Wondolowski thinks the team can bounce back against Sporting Kansas City next week. “They’re very good, it’s good to be home but we have to go out there and play to the best of our capabilities.”

Wondolowski shines in his return, nets two in Quakes victory

By Ivan S. Makarov

August 3, 2013

After being gone for almost a month on the U.S. National Men’s team call up, Quakes captain Chris Wondolowski made his return count in the very big way against Chivas USA in the Saturday night contest at Buck Shaw Stadium. The team’s top goalscorer of the past few seasons showed he’s in top shape as he scored both goals for the team in 2-0 home victory.

“Tonight was great for Wondo,” said Quakes interim head coach Mike Watson after the game. “He’s been away for a while with the [U.S.] National Team, but I know he wanted to come back and make a contribution for us and he did that very well for us.”

Wondo’s presence was felt by the home side since the beginning. After successful run with US National Team that saw San Jose’s forward play a key role in CONCACAF Gold Cup championship, it seemed as though Wondolowski had an extra quickness and confidence to his game. It was something he might have lacked in the first half of the season, which saw him struggle to score goals at his usual pace. This time Wondo was focused and often ahead of defense by a step or few during many attacks by the Quakes. It really was the same Wondo that won the title of the top goalscorer in the league in the last regular season.

That confidence translated into two goals for Wondolowski.

The first one came at the very end of the even first half that saw both team exchange a few good, but not great chances on goal. Steven Beitashour delivered a long but accurate pass to the edge of the box for Victor Bernandez, who headed it towards open Wondolowski. The header fell straight into Wondo’s head who directed into the top corner for a nice finish.

The second goal by Wondolowski came towards the end of the second half, when Chivas USA were already playing with the man down after Carlos Bocanedra was sent off with the red card for two footed challenge on Shea Salinas. Wondolowski picked up a rebound inside the box after Chivas goalkeeper Dan Kennedy made a difficult save on a great shot by Shea Salinas. With Kennedy down, Wondolowski put the ball just over him and into the net, scoring his seventh goal of the season.

Chivas USA had their share of chances during the game, but another great night in goal by Jon Busch, and his third clean sheet denied them any points in San Jose this time.

With the win, the Quakes improved their playoff chances, as this was their third straight victory in MLS action.

“I think the way we’ve been playing can carry us into the post-season,” said Chris Wondolowski. “That’s the great thing about this team: It’s not just one player who carries the team; it’s all 11 men out there working for each other. We have to fight for every ball, capitalize on our chances and play solid defense. I feel we’ve been doing that as of late and that’s a great recipe to make a playoff push.”

The Quakes are still out of the playoffs in the MLS standings, but are now only three points out of the fifth playoff spot in the West. Their next game is against Montreal in CONCACAF Champions League on Wednesday. After that, the Quakes are playing Vancouver Whitecaps in MLS action on Saturday, a team they’re chasing for that playoffs spot.