Earthquakes Musings: Playoff reality

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Earthquakes Musings: Playoff reality

Oct. 16, 2010EARTHQUAKES PAGEJoe Washington
CSNBayArea.com

The last few weeks for Earthquakes fans have been a bit odd, especially for those who started following the team closely after their return in 2008 -- maybe not exactly a throng of folks, but a group or which I am a member. It was a bit surreal to read a press release that said If the Quakes win and the Wizards lose, San Jose will have clinched a playoff spot.

The last two years had conditioned me, no matter how poorly the team was playing, to come up with outlandish scenarios that would see the Quakes through to the playoffs. This would carry me through October and keep my hopes alive. This year, with three games remaining, and a game in hand on most of their competition, the boys are already in.

Those same two years have led to a frustration; in games where the Quakes had to accomplish something, they just did not have what it took to get the job done. This year, the biggest frustration Ive had is San Jose's inability to play well when it has a huge home crowd. For whatever reason, the team has laid an egg in games where Buck Shaw Stadium was packed. As someone who wants to spread the gospel of the team, it is heartbreaking to see all of these people finally giving the Quakes a chance, and then the team doesnt deliver.

Exhibit A Opening night against Salt Lake City. After a great exhibition season, the Quakes lose 3-0 in a manner that had me wondering why general manager John Doyle had his contract extended. The game wasnt even as close as the 3-0 score would indicate.

Exhibit B July 3, the Quakes tie D.C. United 1-1. D.C. United has scuffled all season long and the Quakes played down to their level in front of 10,304.

Exhibit C Sept. 29 a 3-0 loss to the Chicago Fire in front of 9,829. One thing Ive noticed on the teams web site is they dont list the attendance for all of the games. Now there was a great crowd on hand for the game against the Galaxy where the Quakes won 1-0, but that has proven to be the exception rather than the rule.

One thing that is lacking this season in the MLS is the parity that has existed previously. While it is still true that any team in the league seems capable of beating any other team in the league on a given night, having all but one of your playoff spots determined with two weeks left in the season, isnt exactly the most drama inducing scenario.

For whatever reason, the Eastern Conference has been terrible this year. After New York and Columbus, the only team still left in the playoff hunt is Kansas City and they are left with the task of winning both of their final games AND hoping Dallas doesnt get a point in the final two games. Kansas City is in the same position the Quakes have been in the last couple of years, hoping that a bunch of things, mostly out of their control, happen so they can keep playing.

I cant post a blog entry without acknowledging the efforts of Chris Wondolowski again. Against D.C. United last weekend, he cemented his credentials as one of the most lethal finishers in the league, with two more electric goals. The best part is Wondo seems to realize he cant score most of his goals without the help of quality plays from his teammates. I think his teammates appreciate this about him, too. Hes got a legitimate chance at setting the team record for goals in a season, as well as an outside chance for leading the MLS in goals, or the leagues Golden Boot. It is truly refreshing stuff for those of us that spent many a moment pleading that Kei Kamara would find a way to put the ball in the net.

Go Quakes!

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

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.