Earthquakes' Season Ends With 1-0 Loss to Colorado


Earthquakes' Season Ends With 1-0 Loss to Colorado


COMMERCECITY, Colo. (AP) Kosuke Kimura wasn't looking to score. Just to set upOmar Cummings with a chance to get a go-ahead goal for the ColoradoRapids."I took the shot with the idea thatgood things happen when you put the ball to the net," Kimura said. "Itwas a simple cross to Omar and it went in."Kimura scored in the 43rd minute andthe Rapids beat the San Jose Earthquakes 1-0 in chilly conditionsSaturday night to advance to the MLS Cup."We've gotten scoring from a lot ofdifferent areas in the playoffs," Colorado coach Gary Smith. "Tonightit was Kosuke's night and he made the most of it."Kimura scored on a shot from along the sideline that eluded goalkeeper Jon Busch. The goal was Kimura's first of the season."They scored on a lucky shot," Busch said. "It was a cross that everybody missed and it went in."The seventh-seeded Rapids reached theMLS final for the first time since losing to D.C United in 1997. Theywill face the FC Dallas-Los Angeles winner Sunday in the title gameNov. 21 in Toronto."This was unbelievable effort by our team and our conference," Smith said. "It shows the kind of parody there is in the league."Temperatures dropped into the high30s in the matchup of the two lowest-seeded teams in the WesternConference. The Earthquakes were seeded eighth."Weather wasn't a factor," San Josecoach Frank Yallop said. "I thought it was a very even game and thedifference was the one ball that got in."San Jose had five corner kicks and more scoring chances, but trailed 1-0 after 45 minutes."We had our chances in the first 40 minutes," Yallop said. "Finishing passes was lacking. The final pass was lacking."The aggressive Earthquakes put threeshots at Colorado goalkeeper Matt Pickens in the first 8 minutes. TimWard send a low drive from 15 yards from the left post in the thirdminute, Geovanni had a shot from the slot and Chris Wondolowski kickedone through traffic, but Pickens smothered them all.The biggest save wasn't made byPickens at all, but by Kimura in the 26th minute. Ryan Johnson brokefree in front of Pickens, but Kimura came in at the last instance tostrip Johnson of the ball and swat it out of harms way."I knew his style of touching theball one time before taking his shot," Kimura said. "It gave me time toget back on the play and get back before he took the shot."Meanwhile, Colorado's offense waslimited to a couple of harmless shots by Cummings and Anthony Wallace.That was until Kumara gained control of the ball along the sideline.Kimura appeared to send a cross toCummings in front of the net, but the ball never connected withCummings, who fanned on the ball. Instead, it bounced past Busch andinto goal.Colorado kept up the pressure at thestart of the second half. Conor Casey and Drew Moor barely missedcatching the right post in the 50th minute.The Earthquakes regained momentum.Wondolowski had a step on his defender in the 53rd minute, but lostcontrol of the ball and Geovanni never got through the three-man wallon a free kick in the 56th minute.Busch kept it a one-goal game with adiving save on a shot by Pablo Mastroeni in the 63rd minute. Busch cameout to force a missed shot by Cummings on a breakaway in the 65thminute.Geovanni kicked the ball off thegoal line on a shot by Moor in the 71st minute. Arturo Alvarez shotover the crossbar in the 84th minute.Six minutes of regulation and 4minutes of added time later, the Rapids were showering each other withbeer and were drinking champagne from the Eastern Conference Cup.

Gold Cup roundup: Five takeaways from USMNT's championship win


Gold Cup roundup: Five takeaways from USMNT's championship win

For the sixth time in Gold Cup tournament history, the United States hoisted the championship trophy – this time in front of 63,000 fans Wednesday night at Levi’s Stadium.
Jozy Altidore opened the scoring in the 45th minute with a beautiful free kick. However, Jamaica equalized only five minutes into the second half.
Stanford product Jordan Morris later scored the game-winner in the 88th minute to secure a U.S. title. 
Here are five things you should know about the U.S.’ latest tournament championship.
-- Aside from a little extra gold in the trophy case, the biggest thing the United States takes from winning the cup is confidence. They’ll have about a month worth of rest before the Hexagon resumes – and right out of the gate, it’s a date with Costa Rica, who the U.S. beat on their road to the tournament title.
Currently, Costa Rica sits three points clear of the U.S. in the CONCACAF’s 2018 World Cup qualifying table. A victory against Los Ticos on Sept. 1 would be the biggest win of this latest Bruce Arena era.
-- Speaking of Bruce Arena, it can’t be understated just how big of tournament win this is for the U.S. Soccer manager. Hired to jumpstart a team that to many pundits looked flat and lacked fire under Jurgen Klismann, Arena has now won a trophy, helped the USMNT get back into Hex contention and has not lost a match. In 15 matches, Arena has a 9-0-6 record. He now has 84 career wins as the USMNT front man.
-- We’re still on record breaker watch since Clint Dempsey did not start or play in Wednesday’s final. The Seattle Sounders, who recently took down the San Jose Earthquakes to move ahead of them in the standings and are Dempsey’s club of employment, play their next MLS fixture on Saturday. The risk of shot rest could explain Bruce Arena’s apprehension to not start Dempsey. He came in during the 57th minute. Captain America came really close to scoring twice. 
So, the record, shared by Dempsey and Landon Donovan at 57 international goals, will sit there for at least another match.
-- Quick look at the numbers and there isn’t a clear contender for the U.S. Player of the Gold Cup. So after stumbles against Panama and Martinique to start the tournament, what was most impressive is how the U.S. defense came together to close out the Gold Cup. In five games, they surrendered just one goal. So, hats off to Omar Gonzalez, Graham Zusi, Matt Besler and Jorge Villafaña who were instrumental during that stretch – but let us not forget Matt Hedges, Eric Lichaj and Justin Morrow who really got that impressive defensive stretch rolling.
-- Morris had been struggling to score all season but he may have now forced Arena’s hand with his Gold Cup performance. While he did get beat on defense on Jamaica’s goal, the search for a scoring defender by the USMNT as qualifiers creeps up is ongoing. Morris, who burst onto the MLS scene last season, is making a strong case for himself.

Former Stanford star scores winning goal for USA in Gold Cup victory


Former Stanford star scores winning goal for USA in Gold Cup victory

SANTA CLARA -- As the victorious American players bounced so hard the podium shook, medals round their necks, a beaming Bruce Arena in the back raised his arms to the air right along with them as gold confetti began to fall.

The U.S. resurgence is off to an impressive start since Arena returned late last year. Another CONCACAF Gold Cup crown, and now on to more important business: qualifying for next year's World Cup.

Former Stanford star Jordan Morris scored a tiebreaking goal in the 88th minute, and the United States beat Jamaica 2-1 on Wednesday night for its sixth Gold Cup title and first since 2013.

Jozy Altidore's goal on a 28-yard free kick in the 45th minute beat backup goalkeeper Dwayne Miller after Jamaica captain Andre Blake left early with a hand injury.

Je-Vaughn Watson tied the score when he got away from Morris for a 4-yard volley off Kemar Lawrence's 50th-minute corner kick.

Morris, who left nearby Stanford in his junior year, has won the 2015 NCAA title, the 2016 MLS championship with Seattle and now the 2017 Gold Cup. He got the breakthrough goal with a 14-yard right-footed shot after Gyasi Zardes crossed.

"I was nervous. It was my guy that scored on the goal, so I was trying to make up for it any way that I could," Morris said. "Obviously. I take responsibility for that. But luckily I could put one in the back of the net."

Jermaine Taylor tried to clear with a header and the ball was knocked by Clint Dempsey with a leg back to Morris. It was the fifth international goal for the 22-year-old Morris, who tied 16-year-old Canadian Alphonso Davies for the tournament lead with three goals.

"That was like a dagger in the heart," Jamaica coach Theodore Whitmore said.

The U.S. extended its unbeaten streak to 14 games (9-0-5) under Arena, who became the first coach to win three Gold Cup titles.

"Bruce brought in a new energy," goalkeeper Tim Howard said. "He just gave us a tremendous lift."

U.S. captain Michael Bradley earned the Golden Ball at the tournament's top player.

The Americans had a chance in the 19th minute when Altidore's swerving 30-yard shot was parried by Blake, who dived left and then beat Kellyn Acosta to the rebound at the 6-yard box. Acosta collided with Blake and appeared to kick the keeper's right hand before Jamaica's Damion Lowe cleared. Blake's hand was wrapped but he couldn't continue and was replaced by Miller four minutes later. As Blake left the field, he acknowledged the cheering fans with a wave of his left hand, then later emerged for the medal ceremony with his hand bandaged after receiving seven stitches. Nothing was broken.

"It was a very unfortunate situation. What to say? Very sad situation," Whitmore said.

Altidore put the U.S. ahead with a curling shot past Miller's outstretched right hand into the upper corner of the net just beneath the crossbar, his 39th goal in 108 appearances.

Lawrence, who scored in a 1-0 semifinal win Sunday against Mexico, took another corner kick in the 75th minute moments after Alvas Powell's shot from close range deflected off Graham Zusi - a sequence that had Howard yelling at the defense.

Using a lineup with about half its regular starters - the rest are in preseason with European clubs - the U.S. reached its record 10th final. The Reggae Boyz were a surprising final opponent after they stunned Mexico in a semifinal Sunday to reach the title match for a second straight time.

With 18 of 22 starters from Major League Soccer, this was a rematch of the 2015 Gold Cup semifinal won 2-1 by Jamaica at Atlanta. For the first time since replacing Jurgen Klinsmann in November, Arena kept his lineup unchanged. He inserted the 34-year-old Dempsey in the 55th minute.

Chunks of turf came loose yet again at Levi's Stadium, the $1.2 billion, 3-year-old home of the NFL San Francisco 49ers. The field has been an ongoing issue.

The Americans hope for momentum built during this run as they prepare to resume World Cup qualifying. The U.S faces Costa Rica in a rematch of the Gold Cup semifinal on Sept. 1 at Harrison, New Jersey, and play four days later at Honduras. The hex concludes against Panama on Oct. 6 in Orlando, Florida, and at Trinidad and Tobago four days after.

"We're not worried one bit about World Cup qualifying today. I can promise you that," Bradley said. "This was about a group of guys winning a trophy and that's been the only goal."

Arena already was looking ahead.

"We're a long way from qualifying for a World Cup, and that's the objective, for sure," he said.