Earthquakes focus on points, not L.A. rivalry


Earthquakes focus on points, not L.A. rivalry


SAN JOSE -- Its that time of summer again. For most Earthquakes fans, Saturday's game is one of the biggest occasions of the season. David Beckham and the Los Angeles Galaxy will make the trip north to Buck Shaw Stadium in a match that more often than not provokes passionate reactions from the Earthquakes fans and provides yet another chapter in the seemingly ceaseless sports rivalry between Bay Area and Los Angeles.

The Earthquakes themselves, though, arent necessarily looking to get one over on the Galaxy because of any sort of rivalry, or even because the Galaxy is the top team in the league.

They're a good team, we know that. Our job is just keep trying to win games at home for sure and picking up your points and you wins when you can get them away from home, head coach Frank Yallop said.

For Yallop, the Galaxys visit provides another opportunity to face the team he coached for a season and a half between 2006 and 2007. However, Yallop insisted there was no extra emotion surrounding the Galaxys fourth visit to the Bay Area since he left the team. When asked if there was any personal meaning for the game, Yallop replied, It never did.

When you play against a team that you've coached the first time's a little uncomfortable, because it's not normal, he continued. You used to be with the guys on the field on the other side, but then once you've done it once it's over. I don't know many of the players now, anyway.

Yallop worked with Landon Donovan in both Los Angeles and in his early years in San Jose, but he'll be happy not to see him this weekend. The U.S. national team star, along with Earthquakes forward Chris Wondolowski, will be representing the United States against Mexico in Saturday evenings Gold Cup final, which is set to kick off less than an hour after the conclusion of the Earthquakes-Galaxy match.

Despite the absence of their offensive centerpiece in Wondolowski, the Earthquakes will be looking to extend their three-game home winning streak and continue their rise up the Western Conference standings.

While a win would still leave San Jose six points behind Seattle Sounders FC in the race for an automatic playoff berth, it would allow the Earthquakes to maintain a hold on one of the four at-large playoff spots while having played fewer games than most teams around them.

We're three wins in a row right now at home, so we've got good momentum going into this game, we've just got to concentrate on this game, just take it as another season game and try to get another W, Earthquakes rookie midfielder Anthony Ampaipitakwong said.

Theyre the best team in the league, record-wise, but for us its about making sure were ready to play any game we play, Yallop said. Columbus came in here on a seven game unbeaten streak and they were top of the East at the time, and it didn't matter where they were in their league, it's about winning for us and that's all we worry about, not the opposition.

However, it would be impossible to say fans desire to see a victory over the teams biggest rivals is something that the players are completely blocking out.

Big games, thats what we want to play, said Earthquakes forward Ryan Johnson, after being asked what effect the fans desire to see a win might have on the team. We want to play in big games, so we want to win this one for the fans first off, they really want this win against LA and we want it to.

Johnson, often a left winger with the Earthquakes, will be high on confidence after a successful Gold Cup campaign with Jamaica in which he netted two goals. While Jamaica eventually fell 2-0 to the U.S. in the quarterfinals, Johnson said of his goal scoring exploits, It only helps, so Ill just try to keep the same form coming back for the team.

Yallop shared a similar line of thought, saying after practice on Thursday: He looked sharp this morning, so he should be good to go for the weekend. He did well before he left and he had a good Gold Cup so Im excited to get him back on the pitch and he should do well.

Whether Yallop calls on Johnson, or any of the other number of players who have contributed to the teams recent success, the message to the team is the same: Its just another game.

For more Earthquakes, MLS and soccer musings, you can follow Nick Rosano on Twitter: @nicholasrosano

Earthquakes announce roster moves ahead of 2017 season


Earthquakes announce roster moves ahead of 2017 season

The San Jose Earthquakes announced today that the club has exercised 2017 contract options on six players: goalkeeper David Bingham, defenders Victor Bernardez, Kip Colvey and Andres Imperiale, and midfielders Fatai Alashe and Matheus Silva.

The Earthquakes will not exercise options on nine players, including goalkeeper Bryan Meredith, defender Clarence Goodson, midfielders Marc Pelosi and Tommy Thompson, and forwards Chad Barrett, Henok Goitom, Innocent, Steven Lenhart and Mark Sherrod.

In addition, the following players are under contract for the 2017 season: goalkeeper Andrew Tarbell, defender Shaun Francis, midfielders Cordell Cato, Darwin Ceren, Simon Dawkins, Anibal Godoy and Shea Salinas, and forwards Quincy Amarikwa and Chris Wondolowski.

Stage One of the Re-Entry Draft will take place on Friday, Dec. 16 at 12 p.m. PT and Stage Two of the Re-Entry Draft will take place on Thursday, Dec. 22 at 12 p.m. PT. The two drafts will take place via teleconference with all 22 clubs represented. MLS will release the results following each of the calls. Both of the Re-Entry Drafts will be conducted in the same order as the traditional Waiver Draft.

San Jose Earthquakes media services

Plane carrying a Brazilian soccer team crashes in Colombia; 75 dead


Plane carrying a Brazilian soccer team crashes in Colombia; 75 dead

LA UNION, Colombia -- A chartered plane carrying a Brazilian soccer team to the biggest match of its history crashed into a Colombian hillside and broke into pieces, killing 75 people and leaving six survivors, Colombian officials said Tuesday.

The British Aerospace 146 short-haul plane, operated by a charter airline with roots in Venezuela, declared an emergency and lost radar contact just before 10 p.m. Monday (0300 GMT Tuesday) because of an electrical failure, aviation authorities said.

The aircraft, which had departed from Santa Cruz, Bolivia, was carrying the up and coming Chapecoense soccer team from southern Brazil for Wednesday's first leg of a two-game Copa Sudamericana final against Atletico Nacional of Medellin - the continent's second-most-important championship.

"What was supposed to be a celebration has turned into a tragedy," Medellin Mayor Federico Gutierrez said from the search and rescue command center.

The club said in a brief statement on its Facebook page, "May God accompany our athletes, officials, journalists and other guests traveling with our delegation."

Expressions of grief poured in from all over the soccer world. South America's federation canceled all scheduled matches in a show of solidarity, Real Madrid's squad interrupted its training for a minute of silence and Argentina legend Diego Maradona sent his condolences to the victims' families over Facebook.

Rescuers working through the night were initially heartened after pulling three passengers alive from the wreckage. But as the hours passed, heavy rainfall and low visibility grounded helicopters and slowed efforts to reach the crash site.

At daybreak, dozens of bodies were quickly collected into white bags while rescuers scavenged through pieces of the plane's fuselage strewn across the muddy mountainside.

Images broadcast on local television showed three passengers arriving to a local hospital in ambulances on stretchers and covered in blankets connected to an IV. Among the survivors was Chapecoense defender Alan Ruschel, who doctors said suffered spinal injuries.

Two goalkeepers, Danilo and Jackson Follmann, as well as a journalist traveling with the team and a Bolivian flight attendant, were found alive in the wreckage. But Danilo was later reported as dead, and authorities said another defender, Helio Zampier, had survived amid a confusion of sometimes conflicting early reports.

The aircraft is owned by LaMia, a company with roots in Venezuela and that has a close relationship with several premier South American squads.

Argentina's state-run news agency said the plane involved in the crash had transported Barcelona striker Lionel Messi and the national team this month from Brazil to Colombia between World Cup qualifier matches. The airliner also reportedly transported Venezuela's national squad and several top teams from Bolivia in the past.

LaMia's website, which is no longer online, said it operated three 146 Avro short-haul jets made by British Aerospace and with a maximum range of around 2,965 kilometers (1,600 nautical miles) - about the same as the distance between Santa Cruz and Medellin, the route it was flying when it went down.

Alfredo Bocanegra, the head of Colombia's aviation authority, said initial reports suggest the aircraft was suffering electrical problems although investigators were also looking into an account from one of the survivors that the plane had run out of fuel about five minutes from its expected landing at Jose Maria Cordova airport outside Medellin.

Bolivia's civil aviation agency said the aircraft picked up the Brazilian team in Santa Cruz, where players had arrived earlier in the day on a commercial flight from Sao Paulo, Brazil. Spokesman Cesar Torrico said that the plane underwent an inspection before departing for Colombia and reported no problems.

British Aerospace, which is now known as BAE Systems, says that the first 146-model plane took off in 1981 and that just under 400 were built in total in the U.K. through 2003. It says around 220 of are still in service in a variety of roles, including aerial firefighting and overnight freight services.

A video published on the team's Facebook page showed the team readying for a flight earlier Monday in Sao Paulo's Guarulhos international airport. Photos of team members in the cockpit and posing in front of the plane ahead of departure quickly spread across social media.

The team, from the small city of Chapeco, was in the middle of a fairy tale season. It joined Brazil's first division in 2014 for the first time since the 1970s and made it last week to the Copa Sudamericana finals - the equivalent of the UEFA Europa League tournament - after defeating two of Argentina's fiercest squads, San Lorenzo and Independiente, as well as Colombia's Junior.

"This morning I said goodbye to them and they told me they were going after the dream, turning that dream into reality," Chapecoense board member told TV Globo. "The dream was over early this morning."

The team is so modest that tournament organizers ruled that its 22,000-seat arena was too small to host the final match, which was moved to a stadium 300 miles (480 kilometers) to the north in the city of Curitiba.

"This is unbelievable, I am walking on the grass of the stadium and I feel like I am floating," Andrei Copetti told the AP. "No one understands how a story that was so amazing could suffer such a devastating reversal. For many people here reality has still not struck."