Minnesota United uses set pieces to dominate Earthquakes 5-2

photo from bayareanewsgroup.com: San Jose Earthquakes’ Danny Hoesen (9), front right, fights for the ball against Minnesota United FC’s Romain Métanire (19) in the first half of an MLS soccer match in San Jose, Calif., Saturday, March 7, 2020

by Marko Ukalovic

SAN JOSE, Calif- In a game that featured the heavans opening up with a steady rain throughout the match, the Minnesota United scored four goals in the first half to dominate the San Jose Earthquakes in 5-2 victory on Saturday evening at Earthquakes Stadium.

The game went on despite warnings earlier in the week from Santa Clara County officials regarding the Coronovirus in wanting to cancel large group outings such as sporting events and concerts.

Minnesota United (2-0-0) scored the opening goal at the 13th minute mark off a corner kick. Jon Gregus floated a ball into the center where defenseman Ike Opara cleanly headed the ball past Quakes goalie Daniel Vega for his first goal of the season.

San Jose (0-1-1) scored the eqaulizer thanks to a controversial non-call. Minneota United defender Chase Gasper tripped up Tommy Thompson just inside the box as Thomspon tried dribbling the ball around Gasper. There was no call on the initial play but after video review referee Baldomero Toledo awarded a penalty kick to the Quakes.

Quakes captain Magnus Eriksson finished off the penalty kick into the lower right corner of the net for his first goal of the season a minute later at the 19th minute.

Minnesota United didn’t need much time to regain the lead. Luis Amarilla led a rush into the Quakes zone. He made a nice pass over to Jan Gregus who fired a shot from outside the box past Vega for his first goal of the season at the 26th minute.

“A football team that wants to fight for important things, can’t give away so many defenseive mistakes. I told the players these are losses you should remember your whole life. Because if you always make three mistakes a game, you’re being very generous to your opponents and it’s impossible to win in football that way,” Quakes head coach Matias Almeyda said.

Six minutes later Minnesota United caught the Quakes napping on defense. Team leading point scorer Kevin Molino centered a ball into the middle where Amarilla was left all alone to head the ball into the upper left corner of the net for his second goal of the season at the 32nd minute.

“There’s a great collective spirit,” said Minnesota United head coach Adrian Heath when asked about his team’s start. “They do what’s asked of them. They hold each other accountable which is always important. It doesn’t surprise me they start we’ve had.”

Minnesotsa United went up by three goals right before half time. They were awarded a penalty kick in the third minute of extra time off a set piece. Goram Kashia tackled Opara inside the box resulting in the penalty. Amarilla’s shot was saved by Vega, but Robin Lod came in and cleaned up the rebound for his first goal of the season.

The Quakes cut the lead in half in the 53rd minute. Off a corner kick, Eriksson’s attempted cross was deflected into the middle of box where Vako collected the ball, made one touch, and then buried a shot past United goalie Tyler Miller for his first goal of the season.

Opara scored his second of the game off an identical corner kick in the 71st minute. Once again he was left unmarked and his header split two Qukes defenders and past the reach of Vega.

“Honestly Jan (Gregus) is great with his services. If we do our runs consistently, we got enough guys more than capable getting chances. It wasn’t San Jose (doing a poor job of defending), that’s just how much we believe in what we can do. Tonight it finally came through,” said Opara.

Miller made four saves on six shots on target to earn his second victory of the season. Vegas eight saves on 10 shots on target in the losing effort.

GAME NOTES: San Jose finished the match with 20 shots. Minnesota United has 17.

San Jose finished with 6 corner kicks. Minnesota United had 8.

Cade Cowell substituted for Danny Hoesen to start the second half. At 16 years old and 150 days, he is the youngest player to make his Quakes debut. He is the fifth youngest ever in MLS history.

Amarilla was issued a yellow card in the 67th minute for unsporting behavior.

UP NEXT: The Earthquakes travel out to Philadephia to take on the Union on Saturday 3/14 at 4:30pm at PPL Park.

Controversial calls doom Quakes in 2-1 loss to Union

Photo credit: @SJEarthquakes

By Marko Ukalovic

SAN JOSE, Calif. — A pair of controversial calls in the second half were too much for the San Jose Earthquakes, fighting for their playoff lives, to overcome in a 2-1 loss to the Philadelphia Union on Wednesday night at Avaya Stadium.

The loss is the fourth in a row for San Jose and continued a winless September. They are on the outside looking in as they currently sit in eighth place in the Western Conference with 44 points, one point behind FC Dallas and Portland, who are currently tied for the seventh and final playoff spot with only two games remaining in the season.

The Quakes were without the services of two of their top players, Chris Wondolowski and Cristian Espinoza, as they were both suspended for the match after getting ejected in their last match against Atlanta United FC. It was also the second time this season they were without their head coach Matias Almeyda, who was also ejected from the match last week.

San Jose (13-14-15) went with a 4-4-2 lineup with Danny Hoesen and Vako serving as the main strikers.

The Quakes drew first blood in the 35th minute when Guram Kashia sent a ball into the box that Hoesen chased down to the middle of the end line. He then fed a pass between the legs of Jack Elliot to an on-running Jackson Yueill, who one-timed the ball passed Union goalkeeper Andre Blake into the back of the net for his third goal of the season.

Carlos Fierro came very close to giving San Jose a 2-0 advantage in the 41st minute when he was all alone to the right of the box when Blake came out to challenge Fierro and made a point-blank save that ricochet back to the goal, but was calmly swept away by Elliot.

Philadelphia’s (16-9-7) best chance to score in the first half came early on in the 16th minute. Marco Fabian’s shot from the left side of the box was stoned away by Quakes goalkeeper Daniel Vega.

The first of the two controversial calls came at the start of the second half. An offsides call on Hoesen took away a goal from the Quakes in the 46th minute. After a pretty give-and-go between Hoesen and Yueill just outside the box, Yueill’s shot was saved by Blake. Magnus Eriksson cleaned up the rebound in what he thought was his seventh goal of the season. However, Union head coach Jim Curtin challenged the call and won to the dismay of the Avaya faithful.

Philadelphia scored the equalizer in the 70th minute when Ramon Gaddis dribbled in from the right side and while falling down serviced a ball back into the middle of the box where captain Alejandro Bedoya needed all but three touches before firing a shot back towards the left side of the goal for his fourth goal of the season.

The Union struck again six minutes later to snatch the lead away when substitute Fabrice-Jean Picault centered a ball from near the left sideline into the middle where Kacper Przybylko had inside position on Kashia, and was able to head the ball into the back of the net for his team-leading 15th goal and the eventual game-winner.

Once again, San Jose was on the wrong end of a controversial call late in the match. Aurelien Collin dragged down Andres Rios near the end line in the 80th minute that referee Baldomero Toledo initially ruled a penalty on. However, after the video review, the penalty call was overturned despite evidence to the contrary.

Despite having seven minutes of stoppage time, the Quakes couldn’t score the equalizer and were left wondering “what if?” as time expired in the match and possibly their season.

GAME NOTES: Union defender Kai Wagner was issued a yellow card in the seventh minute after pushing down Eriksson from behind. In the 23rd minute, Quakes midfielder Judson was issued a yellow card for his sliding tackle attempt on Fabian. Both Haris Medunjanin was issued a yellow card in the first minute of stoppage time in the first half for unsportsmanlike conduct. Przybylko received a yellow card in the 57th minute for unsportsmanlike conduct against Florian Jungwirth.

Corner kicks: San Jose–6, Philadelphia–6

Offsides: San Jose–6, Philadelphia–1

Wondo sat in the stands alongside the San Jose Ultras, the superfan group that sits in the south endzone during every game.

Yueill’s goal snapped a three-game streak where San Jose had conceded the first goal of the match.

UP NEXT: San Jose plays its final home game of the season on Sunday, September 29 against the Seattle Sounders at 4:15 pm at Avaya Stadium.

Headline Sports podcast with London Marq: Harper, Phils call it a season, eliminated at Nats Park; Giants finish up their regular season; plus more

Photo credit: wtop.com

On Headline Sports with London:

#1 How ironic is it that last meeting between Bryce Harper and the Philadelphia Phillies in Washington against the Nationals turned out to be a loss that mathematically eliminated the Phillies in Washington DC? The Nats fans found that to be poetic justice.

#2 The San Francisco Giants end their 2019 homestand and regular season this week as they opened a three-game series with Colorado. The Giants have some young prospects and veteran players who are looking to come back next season so everyone will play hard to the final game on Sunday.

#3 The Giants’ Bruce Bochy set to retire, Pablo Sandoval out with an injury for the rest of the season and Madison Bumgarner may not be back all have been a direct force in the Giants’ more successful days.

#4 The Oakland A’s are holding a 1/2 lead over the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL wild card race. The A’s are finishing up their regular season on the road against the Angels and Mariners. Can they pull it off?

#5 The San Jose Earthquakes, who won two out of their last seven games, faceoff against Philadelphia on Wednesday night, and on Friday, they host the Seattle Sounders. This is their best chance to put together a couple wins at home.

London does Headline Sports each Wednesday night at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Quakes fall into “Sea of Red” in 3-1 loss

photo from sjearthquakes.com

By Pearl Allison Lo

San Jose went into Atlanta Saturday, went down a man, Coach Matías Almeyda was ejected again and Captain Chris Wondolowski received a red card from the bench as another Bay Area team entered a “sea of red” and emerged with a loss.

The Quakes remain winless versus Atlanta United as their road game losing streak stretched to six as they faced the second place team in the Eastern Conference this time.  

San Jose’s Cristian Espinoza’s run which tied the game was sandwiched in between two yellow cards to him as well, putting the Quakes down a man in the 34th minute. 

With just a game in between free, Almeyda was forced to leave the game again late in the match.

Wondolowski received his penalty from the bench in 91st minute in between Atlanta goals for a foul and abusive language.

An added note to Espinoza’s run, it ended up being an own goal by keeper Brad Guzan, that came after fellow keeper Daniel Vega sent a rainbow from his side to Espinoza.

A different Bay Area team that was also involved with an own goal recently, happened in the hockey world versus red-clad fans in the stands too. The last goal of the San Jose Sharks game Wednesday was an own goal by the Sharks, which was credited to the Calgary Flames’ Johnny Gaudreau. 

Returning back to soccer, the game started with the Quakes going down early after Justin Meram scored in the fourth minute. The ball was helped by a deflection off defender Florian Jungwirth on the way into the net. 

Espinoza’s first card came in the 16th minute for interfering with the throw-in

The second yellow and subsequent red came after a tussle with Franco Escobar. 

Atlanta’s Emerson Hyndman had an opportune chance in the 46th minute, especially with a defensive breakdown, but missed to the left. 

Besides the obvious uphill battle, ended up being outshot 4-0 in the first half after four minutes of stoppage time. Atlanta had the slight possession edge 51.3% to 48.7%

It was quiet and even in the second half at first with Gonzalo Martínez having one attempt saved, the other missed, teammate Brandon Vázquez’s attempt saved and San Jose substitute Danny Hoesen’s attempt saved.

Then Atlanta took a hit in the second half when Josef Martínez (who did not have a shot in the game) was found on the sidelines twice and eventually pulled off on a stretcher because of presumably his knee. His MLS goal-scoring streak had been active since May 24 for 15 games. Martínez’s substitute Mohammed Adams took his place in the 79th minute. 

Martínez’s teammates then amped up their play. Leandro González, Vázquez and Julian Gressel had misses in the 79th through 81st minutes before Vega stepped up with saves versus Hyndman, Darlington Nagbe and Miles Robinson in the 82nd, 84th and 85th minutes.

It would be too much though as the Quakes’ chances dissolved when Hyndman scored a redemption goal in the 90th minute, Wondolowski got his red card for perhaps the first time in his 300th MLS start and Martínez made it 3-2 in the 92nd minute.

San Jose substitute Andrés Ríos made two more attempts, which were saved and blocked as did Gressel and Adams (both saved) before the final whistle was blown. 

Atlanta finished with 18 shots (Hyndman and Martínez four shots apiece) to the Quakes’ three and with 60.7% possession. 

Up Next: Despite key pieces missing now, San Jose will look to right the ship when they host the Philadelphia Union Wednesday at 8 pm for the first of a two-game homestand.