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.

Warriors' minority owner announces new pro SF soccer team, stadium intentions

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Lyndsay Radnedge

Warriors' minority owner announces new pro SF soccer team, stadium intentions

New details are emerging as the soccer boom in the Bay Area continues. 

San Francisco FC, a prospective new Division II soccer team fronted by the co-founder of Zappos.com Nick Swinmurn, announced their intention to build a new 6,000 seat stadium just south of San Francisco International airport. The report, out of San Francisco Chronicle, says SFFC has applied to the United Soccer League and plans to start playing in the spring of 2019, if approved. 

Swinmurn already owns Burlingame Dragons FC -- a Division IV team that plays in the Premier Development League and recently completed its third season. 

SFFC comes at the heels of the San Francisco Deltas' first season. The Deltas, who finished second during the NASL's latest season, played their inaugural season at Kezar Stadium -- with a capacity for 10,000, the Deltas finished eighth (out of eight) in attendance with an average of 4,502 fans per game and a total of 288,132 attendees, this according to numbers accumulated by SoccerStadiumdigest.com

SFFC will face stiff competition in a crowded Bay Area soccer landscape. Along with the Deltas and Dragons, San Francisco FC will have to compete against San Francisco City FC, another PDL team, and or course, the San Jose Earthquakes, who are in the middle of their most successful season since building Avaya Stadium. 

According to the Chronicle, the new stadium would cost SFFC $3 million. The site is located in Burlingame, near its Bayside Park. Swinmurn, and team president Jordan Gardner, are also looking at other sites in San Francisco. 

“Our ambitions are big. But big doesn’t always mean going to the biggest league you can find," Swinmurn told the Chronicle. "It means creating the best soccer experience that appeals to all kinds of fans. You have to assume that bigger is not always better.”

Swinmurn is also a part of the Golden State Warriors minority ownership group and owns several businesses through his entrepreneurial hub, Lucha Ventures. 

The USL has 30 teams now with plans to expands to as many as 42 in the very near future. 

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Quakes' lopsided loss to Red Bulls

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USATSI

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Quakes' lopsided loss to Red Bulls

BOX SCORE

The San Jose Earthquakes had one big thing going for them when they took on the New York Red Bulls Wednesday evening — they were on 10 days rest having last played a truly competitive match on July 10 in U.S. Open Cup action.

Unfortunately for the Quakes, they failed to take advantage of that in losing to the Red Bulls 5-1 — definitely not the return to the pitch they were hoping for.  

Here are five takeaways from a Wednesday evening, lopsided loss to NYR. 

— The Quakes had no answer for Sacha Kljestan. The Red Bulls midfielder, who frequented the U.S. Men’s National Team roster at one point, was not called to international duty for the ongoing FIFA Gold Cup and San Jose paid the price for that — the man finessed the Quakes to death on Wednesday evening, factoring in three New York goals with his use of spacing in the Red Bulls midfield. 

— There were a couple of big debuts for San Jose. First, newly signed designated player Valeri Qazaishvili — who the MLS world is calling Vako — made his league debut when in he came as a substitute for Danny Hoesen at halftime. The Georgian native showed flashes with his early touch, but never really factored in the game until the 88th minute when he scored the Quakes’ lone goal on a volley tap courtesy of a nifty Jahmir Hyka cross. It’s a nice debut on the scoresheet, but San Jose is expecting DP-esque things from the Georgian. 

— And second, welcome back, Quincy Amarikwa. The forward has been sidelined since September of 2016 when he suffered ACL and LCL damage that required surgery. Amarikwa has been documenting his recovery on social media and surprised Quakes fans when he make his on-pitch return last week in a friendly against Germany’s Eintracht Frankfurt. On Wednesday, he made his official return in the 76th minute. Amarikwa has nine goals and seven assists in 41 career appearances with the Quakes. 

— It definitely wasn’t the homecoming head coach Chris Leitch was hoping for. Leitch played for five seasons over with the New York club. He made 101 appearances for the Metrostars/Red Bulls, assisting on five goals during his career. 

He’s now 0-1-0 as an opposing head coach. 

— It’s unfair to nitpick on a single defensive effort, given that soccer is a team sport, but the Red Bulls attacked center back Andres Imperiale often Wednesday afternoon — and more often than not, they were rewarded with a scoring opportunity. It’s the second straight poor showing on the road for the Quakes defense as a whole after surrendering a four-spot to Atlanta United FC on Independence Day.