Earthquakes Musings: Dangerous and defensive

Earthquakes Musings: Dangerous and defensive

Sept. 23, 2010


Joe Washington

Well, were closing in on the end of September and the Earthquakes are proving to be a dangerous team to play against, and the main reason is their defense.

With 10 shutouts this season it is obvious the team has bought into the notion that if you dont give up a goal, you cant lose the game.

Whats amazing is the way they have withstood a ton of injuries without complaint or excuse making and found the people to step in and just get the job done. What is also great is how they have managed to bolster and improve their front line in the process.

Geovanni continues to impress and as he plays more and more with the team, his impact will likely improve. Add to the mix his ability and more importantly, his accuracy on free kicks and it looks like money well spent.

Chris Wondolowski continues to score important goal after important goal. He personifies how grit, determination and mental toughness can create success. When he scores, its not the highlight reel type of goal that gets nominated for Goal of the Week honors. It is generally the capper or completion of a beautiful run or service from a teammate that, oh, by the way, just won the game for the team. His game is about being relentless and being in the right place at the right time. From what I can tell, there is no prima donna in his game like you see with some forwards. My guess is there are plenty of players in the league who can match his speed, size and ball handling skills, but its his heart, determination and desire to win that separates him from the rest.

This week the boys head up to Toronto where there have been a ton of changes. TFC recently replaced their Coach (Prekki) and GM. They also ended a losing streak that had reached 6 matches in their first game under the new head coach. TFC is a difficult place to play for a number of reasons. They have amazing fans and sell out every game; they play on an artificial surface and they have former Earthquake Dewayne DeRosario. Their followers used to get especially riled up against San Jose because a couple of former Earthquakes became such when they refused to play for the club due to the artifical surface at their stadium.

Ronnie OBrien and Darrin Huckerby were both originally claimed by TFC but refused to report, forcing the team to move them. Now that both of those players are out of the picture, it is yet to be seen if that animosity will carry over.

Im not big on historical records of team versus team in the MLS because so much can change from one match to the next, let alone one year to another, but the clubs have tied in both of their matches in Toronto. Im not sure I have a reason why this match will end up any different but Im anxious to find out.

Go Quakes!

Joe Washington is the Live Events Producer for Comcast SportsNet Bay Area and a wannabe "Earthquakes Ultra."

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


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


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.

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Quakes' historic US Open Cup win over Galaxy

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Quakes' historic US Open Cup win over Galaxy

It was a historic night over at Avaya Stadium. 

For the first time in U.S. Open Cup history, the San Jose Earthquakes have beaten their bitter rivals, the Los Angeles Galaxy -- 3-2. 

The win also propels the Quakes to just their second appearance in the tournament's semifinals. 

Chris Wondolowski scored a brace to lead the way while Danny Hoesen added the insurance. 

Here are a handful of things to know about Monday's win over the Galaxy. 

-- The sixth time was the charm as the Quakes had lost five previous meetings against their rivals. But the night began with some doubts when Jelle Van Damme scored in just the third minute. His header was goal No. 2 in the last two games against the Quakes.

But Wondolowski equalized courtesy of Tommy Thompson in the 16th minute and then put the San Jose up for good six minutes in the second half -- once again, thanks to Thompson. 

Hoesen scored a breakaway goal about ten minutes later.  

-- If you tried to find Wondolowski on the pitch using his regular number, you were unsuccessful. 

Wondolowski was sporting No. 38 Monday night in honor of Matheus Silva, the Quakes midfielder playing for Reno 1868 on loan who suffered swimming accident July 4 in Lake Tahoe. 

Silva was in a coma until July 6. 

Fittingly, the forward scored twice. Wondolowski's goal is the sixth of his U.S. Open Cup career. He's now tied for the all-time lead in Earthquakes history.  

-- Pregame, the Quakes introduced their latest acquisition, Designated Player Valeri ‘Vako’ Qazaishvili, to the press. 

Qazaishvili began his career in his native Georgia with FC Saburtalo in 2010, spending time on loan with Metalurgi Rustavi and Sioni Bulnisi. 

He then moved on to Vitesse in August of 2011 at just 18 years old, tallying one goal in four appearances for the first team in his debut season.

-- Speaking of Georgia, the Bay Area now boasts two of the nation's very best athletes. Zaza Pachulia, the starting center of the NBA Champion Golden State Warriors, was in attendance MOnday night. 

The center kicked the ceremonial first goal. 

He also swapped jerseys with Vako -- as per usual in soccer circles. No word on Pachulia's footy game. 

-- The Quakes have already equaled their best ever finish in Cup history. They'll now try to surpass that when they face either Sporting Kansas City of FC Dallas -- who play Tuesday night.