Earthquakes

Earthquakes face daunting task against L.A. Galaxy

Earthquakes face daunting task against L.A. Galaxy

Aug. 19, 2011EARTHQUAKES PAGE MLS SCOREBOARD Nicholas Rosano
CSNBayArea.com SAN JOSE Its not going to get any easier for the Earthquakes this weekend. Alreadysuffering through a franchise-record 11 game winless streak, the team faces thedaunting task of taking on the league-leading Los Angeles Galaxy on the roadthis Saturday, complete with new star signing Robbie Keane.
RELATED: L.A. Galaxy sign Ireland's Robbie Keane
Saturdays game kicks off the final 10 games of the seasonfor San Jose,with seven of those games on the road. With the Earthquakes six points off aplayoff spot and winless since June 11, the circumstances promise a dauntingroad ahead should the team be looking to repeat its 2010 playoff experience.The first task on hand will be to get something out of a trip to the GalaxysHome Depot Center, a venue where the team hasnt won since its 2008 return toSan Jose, against either the Galaxy or the venues other tenants, Chivas USA. Its a tough game. Theyre a top team in the league, themost points, so obviously with its about regrouping and trying to get aresult, Earthquakes head coach Frank Yallop said. We can get a result out ofmost games that weve played this year weve been close but obviously notwon enough games.
RELATED: MLS Standings
Indeed, the Earthquakes have endeavoured to play well intheir last few games, especially during the two most recent home games, buthave come out with little to show, thanks to a combination of bad breaks, smallmistakes and sloppy finishing. Its a tough stretch for us, weve had some injuries, wevehad some unfortunate unlucky falls, unlucky bounces, whatever you want to callit, Earthquakes defender Bobby Burling said. The bottom line is, we need towin. Not making things any easier for the Earthquakes will be thefact that Keane, whose signing was announced earlier in the week, adding toLAs list of marquee players including Landon Donovan and David Beckham. The Republic of Ireland captain brings a longgoalscoring pedigree with him, and is not only his countrys leading scorer butis also tied for 10th place on the list of all-time goal scorers inthe English Premier League. Hes a quality player, hes got a fantastic pedigree, sonothing changes, Yallop said of Keane. Weve just got to be aware of hisstrengths and weaknesses, tell the players as much as we can and what heslike, hes just very sharp around the goal, very quick player, hes dangerous.The Earthquakes can take one small advantage with them downto Los Angeles,though: theyve seen Keane before. Last summer, Keane was part of the TottenhamHotspur team that toured the U.S.in the summer, kicking off its tour at Buck Shaw Stadium, where Keane startedand the two teams played to a 0-0 draw. Still, the Earthquakes werent readingtoo much into their encounter with him a year ago. At least its a player we have stood on the field against,so our defenders in Bobby and Jason, our center backs will at least know whathe looks like, Yallop said. Goalkeeper Jon Busch argued the importance of the upcominggame far outweighed what was simply an exhibition last summer, responding whenasked if the team had any sort of advantage, Nah. I dont even remember if hedid anything in that game. That was a friendly, a fun Saturday afternoonkickabout, and this is a league game, so big difference. For their part, the Earthquakes will hope their own newsigning Ecuadorian forward Edmundo Zura could be available to featureagainst the Galaxy. While not quite the same caliber of signing as Keane, Zurawill nonetheless be counted on to help revitalize the Earthquakes by providinga consistent partner up top for Chris Wondolowski. Zura was scheduled to get his visa in Quitoon Wednesday, and the most likely scenario for the Earthquakes will be that hejoins the team in Los Angeles,where he would be available to play. With or without Zura, though, the onus is on San Jose to conjure up aresult in one of the venues in which it has struggled the most in MLS. Any other game of the year, I think a draw down there ispretty good, but obviously with the streak weve been on lately I think a winwould be huge, Burling said. The Earthquakes can take hope from the fact they actuallycame close to finding that elusive win in last years game at the Galaxy. Theystaked themselves to a 2-1 lead in the late stages of the game, only to bepegged back in the 90th minute by a tying goal Landon Donovan, astoryline with tinges of this years struggles. With a different team in a different season, though, theEarthquakes are not even trying to look back at their recent struggles, muchless a game from a year ago. It seems that were getting punished for any tiny mistakewe make, but thats football, Yallop said. Weve got to get ourselves out ofit and its 11 on 11, were ready to go.For more Earthquakes, MLS and world soccer musings,you can follow Nick Rosano on Twitter: @nicholasrosano

Road woes continue, Quakes fall to Dynamo

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USATSI

Road woes continue, Quakes fall to Dynamo

BOX SCORE

HOUSTON  — Alberth Elis and Vicente Sanchez each had a goal and an assist, and the Houston Dynamo blanked the San Jose Earthquakes 3-0 on Saturday night.

Houston (10-7-7) joined Seattle and Sporting Kansas City at the top of the Western Conference standings by improving to 9-0-3 at home.

Elis got his head on a corner kick by Boniek García to open the scoring with his seventh goal in the 21st minute. It was the Dynamos' league-leading 17th goal off a set piece.

Elis helped ice the game in the 86th minute with a nifty touch to get around a defender before Sanchez beat his defender and the goalkeeper to the centering pass for his first goal.

Sanchez gathered a loose ball just before it crossed the end line and centered it to Mauro Manotas for his eighth goal in stoppage time.

Tyler Deric had three saves for his fourth shutout.

San Jose (9-10-5) has lost five straight on the road and remains one point up on Vancouver for the final playoff spot.

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Quakes' 2-1 win over Columbus

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USATSI

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Quakes' 2-1 win over Columbus

BOX SCORE

It appears that stretches at Avaya Stadium for the San Jose Earthquakes are showing up on the schedule at just the right times. 

Not too long ago, the Quakes were reeling after a miserable stretch of soccer on the road. But now, after two straight wins at Avaya -- the latest a 2-1 victory over Columbus Crew SC on Saturday -- San Jose is once again knocking on MLS' playoff door. 

Marco Ureña scored in the 42nd minute and Chris Wondolowski added the eventual game-winner in the 56th. 

It's going to make for a nail-biting latter part of the season for sure in the super tight Western Conference. But for now celebrate with these five takeaways from the Earthquakes' ninth win of the season. 

-- Don't look now, but the win on Saturday means the Quakes have already surpassed their total from last year. The victory jumps their point total to 32, good for fifth in the Western Conference as of this article's publication. Dallas' loss and more importantly Vancouver's draw were huge results for San Jose as the season turns to the scoreboard-watching phase with eight teams jockeying for six playoff spots. 

-- Have a game, Tommy Thompson. Columbus controlled the first 20-25 minutes but it was around that time that the midfielder began to put his stamp on the match -- much to the appreciation of his San Jose teammates. He gave Columbus fits purely with his work rate and along with his assist, he came within inches of his second goal of the season. It was undoubtedly one of Thompson's most complete matches. Not only did he facilitate Wondolowski's goal, but defensively, Thompson was a visible and noticeable force. One has to wonder if he's turned the corner with that aspect of the game -- it was his defense that many speculated was keeping him out of the lineup during Dominic Kinnear's time as the head coach. 

-- Marco Ureña scored his third goal of the season and his first since a 2-1 win over Real Salt Lake on June 24. Ureña was a mainstay in Kinnear's lineup and hasn't really gotten the opportunity to earn the trust of new head coach Chris Leitch -- with a lot of his time spent on international duty since the Leitch was hired. Keep an eye out on that relationship. 

And, it's also time to acknowledge another round number for Wondolowski. With his goal in the 56th minute, the forward has hit the 130 career goals mark -- 123 of those have come since 2010. 

Wondolowski is still fourth on the all-time list but now he's only three behind Jaime Moreno and four behind Jeff Cunningham. 

-- That's now back-to-back impressive performances for David Bingham. And that has to feel super good for the former Cal keeper considering the defensive disaster that was San Jose's most recent road trip. 

-- After years of research and MLS flirting with the idea, Video Replay is here. And like most new things that are introduced into a sport rich in tradition, there is plenty of chatter -- for and against the change -- floating around. 

There will be four main areas of focus for MLS' new VAR: goals, penalty calls, direct red-card incidents and cases of mistaken identity (when it relates to yellow and red cards). 

On Saturday, the system was not truly tested except for the couple of minutes it took to analyze Adam Jahn's goal for Columbus.