Defense key to Quakes early success

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Defense key to Quakes early success

Joe WashingtonCSNBayArea.com
Four matches into the 2012 season and the San JoseEarthquakes have surrendered only one goal; and that off a penalty kick. They are proving to themselves and the restof the league they are going to be a factor in the quest for the 2012 MLSCup. Each year there is turnover on theroster, but the moves made this off season as a whole are the best managementhas made since the reformation of the team, especially on the defensive side ofthings.Position by position, Frank Yallop has more quality playersto choose from. The Quakes now haveflexibility and options based on their opponents strengths which they have notshown in previous years. With thesupport of an aggressive combination of midfielders, it took most of the nightfor the explosive Seattleside to generate much offensively and the Quakes sent home about 40,000 Sounderfans unhappy.San Josehas turned a massive weakness into one of its strengths. Through a series ofmoves and non-moves, management has put together a beautiful blend of developedyoung talent and veteran experience. Victor Bernardez, the Honduran national team member, hasbeen everything the Quakes said he would be and more. His tenacious attitude, size, strength, andfearlessness on the back line has virtually eliminated the seemingly weeklyheartbreaks and bouts of bad luck that cursed the teams central defense lastseason. He is a closer defensively and is the main reason why the Quakes haveheld on to both of their 1-0 victories.Equally impressive has been the growth of a couple of formermid-fielders on the back line, Justin Morrow and Steven Beitashour. Morrow has been an Earthquake for a whilebiding his time on the reserve unit. Theleft footer has the speed to track down any striker in the MLS and hasdeveloped his decision playing in reserve matches over the years to the pointnow where he has the full confidence of his teammates in either a central orleft side defender. He has good ballskills which also helps the Quakes build their attack from the back. Morrowwaited a long time to get a chance to play and has not faltered in any of hischances. He has been truly impressive.Steven Beitashour is in his third season with the Quakes andthe San Josenative has made the right back position his own. He has become a lock down defender on theright side, consistently making good decisions on when to pressure and how tojump the passing lanes, especially on long balls. His speed and ball skills have helped createmany scoring opportunities for the Quakes as well. In 2011, he led the team with 7 assists in 22games. The end-zone angle of his run in the Toronto on March 24th, whichcreated Shea Salinas goal in the 56th minute, perfectly displayedhis speed, sense of timing, elusiveness and touch with the ball. Waiting in the wings for his opportunity to crack the lineup is Ike Opara who has spent a lot of the early season busy with the USNational U23 team. Over the course ofthe long season, the Quakes could present the leagues most athletic back fourif Opara comes in to the middle with Bernardez and Morrow plays left whileBeitashour anchors down the right side.It would be difficult for any club to match that groups ball skills orspeed or athleticism.Finally, there are the two veterans who are extremelyimportant to this equation. RamiroCorrales started the first 4 games as the left back, suffered an injury in the Seattle game. If the injury is not serious, he will continueto be a solid option for coach Yallop.Jason Hernandez took his place after the injury. Hernandez has started 99 matches for theQuakes and played in his 100th match for Frank Yallop when he wentin for Corrales. He is a smart and solidalternative at central defender and should one of the others need to sit forany reason, he will do an admirable job.The Quakes turn around from a truly miserable campaign in2011 is built on a firm defensive foundation as sturdy as Victor Bernardez onthe ball. Too many times last year San Jose gave up lategoals that cost them points in the standings.To a man, most of the team feels like last years squad would havesquandered the 1-0 victories they have this year and they are thrilled with thenew pieces that are preserving their hard work.

Quakes complete MLS Superdraft with local talent; announce two signings

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USATSI

Quakes complete MLS Superdraft with local talent; announce two signings

The San Jose Earthquakes completed their participation in the 2017 MLS Superdraft with a nod to local soccer talent.

A couple of days after selecting a pair of midfielders in rounds one and two, the Quakes chose winger Christian Thierjung from the University of California with their third-round selection.

Thierjung joins Nick Lima, San Jose’s second-ever homegrown signing, as offseason moves that involve Golden Bears.

Thierjung, 22, goes to the Quakes after four seasons at Cal, where he appeared in 73 games, tallying 27 goals and seven assists.

As a senior, Thierjung was named First-Team All-Pac-12, Third Team All-Far West Region and Second-Team Academic All-Pac-12. He was selected First-Team All-Pac-12 and Second-Team All-Far West Region in 2015.

Thierjung also played for the Quakes' PDL affiliate Burlingame Dragons FC during the 2016 season, tallying two goals in five total appearances.

With their fourth-round selection, the Quakes took Auden Schilder, the 22-year-old goalkeeper from the University of Washington.

Schilder was selected Second Team All-Pac-12 Conference and Second Team All-Far West Region in 2016 after surrendering just 18 goals in 20 appearances and posting five shutouts.

During rounds one and two, the Quakes selected Generation Adidas midfielder Jackson Yueill with the No. 6 overall selection and University of South Florida midfielder Lindo Mfeka.

Also making local soccer news, Thierjung’s teammate on Burlingame Dragons FC, three-year captain Joshua Smith, was selected in the fourth round by the New England Revolution. Smith also captained the University of San Francisco.

On Tuesday, San Jose announced the signings of Marvell Wynne and Tommy Thompson. Per league rules, terms of the deals were not disclosed.

Thompson, 21, became the Earthquakes' first-ever homegrown player signing in 2014, following one season at Indiana University where he was named the Big Ten Conference Freshman of the Year. He’s yet to score a point in an MLS match.

Wynne has appeared in 301 games during his 11-year MLS career, recording two goals and 21 assists. He was an invaluable member of a Quakes team that was hit hard by injuries in 2016.

Wynne helped the Colorado Rapids win MLS Cup in 2010. He has also represented the United States National Team and was a starter during the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

Day 1 of MLS 2017 Superdraft: Quakes take pair of midfielders

Day 1 of MLS 2017 Superdraft: Quakes take pair of midfielders

The San Jose Earthquakes began their 2017 draft by taking a UCLA Bruin. And if he pans out to play anything like the player he emulates his game around, the Quakes might have themselves a true superstar. 

Jackson Yueill, a midfielder, was selected by the Quakes with the sixth pick in the 2017 Superdraft. Yueill, who models his game around FC Barcelona and Spanish National Team legend Andres Iniesta, is a Generation Adidas Signing for the Earthquakes.

"I'm super excited," Yueill said. "I love the west coast. I'm excited to move to San Jose. It's a really good environment with the team and the fans. I've heard great things. I'm excited to try and bring another cup to San Jose." 

The UCLA product played in 40 games during his college career, scoring nine goals and notching 17 assists during those contests. His 11 assists in 2016 led the Pac-12. 

Considered a high-upside player, Yueill joins the Quakes in what already is a pretyt stacked midfield. "I see myself as an 8," Yueill said of his fit in the MLS game. "A box-to-box midfielder who can get into the attacking zone and create goal scoring opportunities." 

Yueill was named to back-to-back NSCAA First Team All-Far West Region and First Team All-Pacific 12 Conference teams. He has represented the United States on the U-20 team.

As a member of Generation Adidas, Yueill's salary will not count against salary cap. 

"I'm a player that loves to learn," Yueill said. "It's always great to come to a team where the coach believes in you."

With the 28th pick of the draft, the Earthquakes selected another midfielder -- Lindo Mfeka of the University of South Florida. 

A four-year player with the Bulls, Mfeka scored 16 goals and notched 18 assists in his college career. 

Mfeka is a two-time First Team member of the All-American Athletic Conference. He was born in Durban, South Africa.

Day 2 of the MLS Superdraft will happen via conference call next Tuesday. The Quakes have two picks remaining -- the 50th and 72nd overall selections. 

Rounding out local Superdraft News: Two members of the Quakes' Premier Development League affiliate, Burlingame Dragons FC, were selected in Day 1. Brian Nana-Sinkam (Stanford) was selected by the MLS-champion Seattle Sounders and Brian Wright (Vermont) went to the New England Revolution.