July 7, 2011MLSSCOREBOARD EARTHQUAKESPAGE
The Earthquakes just cant seem to find their way around Chivas USA. The team came out flat in their midweek road trip to Southern California, falling 2-0 thanks to two second half strikes from the home team. The result gives Chivas USA the season series over San Jose, having also won 2-1 in the Bay Area following another flat Quakes performance. This time, San Jose never really threatened Chivas USA goalkeeper Dan Kennedy, while two well-taken goals punctuated an otherwise lackluster matchup between the California rivals. Neither team was able to gain a foothold in the first half, though Chivas was able to find some soft points in the San Jose defense and bring a few saves out of Quakes goalkeeper Jon Busch. Steven Lenhart and Chris Wondolowski looked to test Kennedy from long range, but neither presented any serious threat. To be honest, I thought the first half was really poor; no life in it, Earthquakes head coach Frank Yallop said. Maybe its from the weekend games, and our travel on top of that sort of adds to the tiredness. But we, or me myself, dont make excuses about why we dont play well. For whatever reason we just couldnt string it together.
RECAP: Earthquakes skunked by Chivas USA 2-0
Indeed, the Earthquakes found themselves frustrated in the middle of the field and often struggled to get the ball forward to Lenhart and Wondolowski, playing together at forward after Wondolowskis stint on the right wing the previous Saturday against New York. The Earthquakes also fielded three new faces from Saturdays 2-2 draw and gave season debuts to Tim Ward and Omar Jasseh, who have been struggling to overcome injuries. Yallop insisted that it wasnt necessarily the quick turnaround that hampered his team on Wednesday evening, saying, I think all of us collectively struggled tonight. Guys that played in the weekend, guys that had come in to the team, it was just one of those nights. Yeah, absolutely, Wondolowski said, asked if he felt the team was disjointed. To be honest, I think both offensively and defensively our whole team was on a different page from each other. We couldnt connect any passes, and couldnt defend well together as a team defensively. The disjointedness was evident when second half substitute Simon Dawkins found himself surrounded by three Chivas USA players with no San Jose player offering the support. Dawkins was easily dispossessed, and the ball found its way to Chivas USA midfielder Ben Zemanski, who thumped the ball home from 30 yards out. Meanwhile, the Earthquakes managed eight shots, but only three of them came from inside the penalty area, and only one of those was on target. Even more damning was the fact that the team completed just two of 15 crosses and made three successful passes into the Chivas USA area. Given that Lenhart and Wondolowski are the type of forwards that thrive on accurate service in the box, it is easy to see how the Quakes offense couldnt get it going on the evening. We were just losing it on our first and second pass way to often, and I think thats been one of our better points this season keeping the ball, said Ward, who replaced the injured Steven Beitashour just prior to halftime.
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Despite the teams struggles, Wondolowski was positive that the team could bounce back from the poor performance and get back in the win column after four games winless.I think its just one of those games thats a one-off, he said. I still think our team is doing well and is headed in the right direction, tonight was just one of those off-nights, but its a quick turnaround and we want to get out there and try to get a win as soon as possible. The Earthquakes will have the opportunity to deliver a positive result, but will face a tough challenge in doing so on Saturday. The Philadelphia Union, who have lost just one of their last eight MLS games, will come to Buck Shaw Stadium looking to plug ahead with an excellent season. No matter the opponent, though, the Earthquakes will have to come out with a little more energy in the beginning of a potentially trying month.For more Earthquakes, MLS and soccer musings, you can follow Nick Rosano on Twitter: @nicholasrosano