Earthquakes, Union play to scoreless draw


Earthquakes, Union play to scoreless draw



SANTA CLARA, Calif. After a disappointing midweek outing in Los Angeles, theEarthquakes returned to Buck Shaw Stadium, only to find more frustrationwaiting for them in the form of the Philadelphia Union. For the fourth time infive games, the opposition defense held the Earthquakes scoreless, and whilethe Quakes did the same to a dangerous Union team, they were frustrated withtheir efforts going forward. I thought it was a lot better performance than Chivas. Ithought at times we played OK, but then we couldnt sustain it, said headcoach Frank Yallop, after the game. I think were just kind of misfiring alittle bit, not just in front of goal, because were not really getting to thefront of goal that much. The most telling stat of the evening was plain to see on thestats sheet the Earthquakes only managed one shot on goal, while the Union managed to test Quakes goalkeeper Jon Busch six times,taking more than twice the number of shots the Earthquakes did.The Earthquakes found themselves continually frustrated inpossession by the Union, who defended deep andused their forwards to constantly hound the Earthquakes defenders, forcing theminto a number of miscues. After similar frustrations against the Los AngelesGalaxy and Chivas USAin previous games, Yallop admitted that it was an area of trouble for the team.We tend to struggle against teams that defend deep, hesaid. It seems that weve not quite figured how to play as a unit to play anyteam thats down, or if they sit back. In large part because of that deep defensive line, anotherglaring stat was to be found in Chris Wondolowskis zero shots. In the 11 gamesprior to his departure for U.S.national team duty, he regularly tested opposition defenses, averaging overthree shots per game. In the three games he has played since, he has managedjust one shot per game. Yallop attributed those struggles in part to the teamsplay, referring to Wondolowski as not a creator of shots, but a finisher ofchances. Wondolowski, however, acknowledged that it is a part of hisgame he needs to work on. Myself, I need to do a better job of finding space, I haventbeen doing that, I need to work harder out there, he said. I need to fight andif I battle and scrap for some of those second balls then that opens up andcreates some more space. The Earthquakes did find themselves without a vital tool totheir creation of chances, as striker Steven Lenhart missed out throughsuspension for an accumulation of yellow cards. Lenharts ability to battlewith defenders and lay off balls to players like Wondolowski and Simon Dawkinshas proved vital to creating dangerous opportunities throughout much of theseason, and his play was noticeably absent in the final third. I feel that anytime youre without Lenny its a huge blow,youre missing a big part of this team, Wondolowski said, noting that itwasnt just his play that made Lenhart a valuable asset. We for sure missedhim, his battling, his attitude, its just contagious, and you want to go outthere and you want to fight and battle even harder. Though the Earthquakes did miss a vital cog in their attackon Saturday evening, fans also got to see a new face going forward in the shapeof Mexican midfielder Rafael Baca. Baca, a Mexican-born creative midfielder whoplayed his college soccer at Loyola Marymount, finally signed with theEarthquakes after spending the season training with the team, waiting for hispaperwork to go through to allow him to officially sign. Hopefully I can provide more of an attack and some goals. Iwork hard at practice to get in sync with these guys, Baca said. While I wasout there, I got a feel for the player on top and saw that they wanted toscore. If the Earthquakes are to jump-start their sputteringoffense, Baca could indeed provide that little extra something, but for themeantime, its about looking ahead. Its easy criticizing after, I never do that, Yallop said.I work on the next game and Im not worried about us not scoring, Im justgoing to work on trying to get a win the next game.For more Earthquakes, MLS and general soccermusings, you can follow Nick Rosano on Twitter @nicholasrosano

Earthquakes suffer first home loss of season, drop Cali Clasico to Galaxy


Earthquakes suffer first home loss of season, drop Cali Clasico to Galaxy


SAN JOSE -- Cali Clasico fans have come to expect fireworks on the pitch every time the San Jose Earthquakes and Los Angeles Galaxy face off in one of Major League Soccer’s best rivalries.

And the first affair of 2017 was no exception. Five goals in the first half got the match off to a roaring start but, much to the chagrin of San Jose fans, L.A. handed the Earthquakes their first Avaya Stadium loss of the season with a 4-2 final.

Giovani Dos Santos notched a pair of goals including the backbreaking tally 20 minutes into the second half.

Chris Wondolowski got the first half flurry going with an easy-money strike on a volley after a perfect backpost cross from Danny Hoesen in the 10th minute.

Saturday’s match was Hoesen’s best performance of the season, by far.

Los Angeles equalized nine minutes later when Joao Pedro took advantage of a sneaky ball between two defenders from Dos Santos. The Brazilian turned and struck the ball true to beat David Bingham.

It was the first sign of the San Jose nightmare that is the Mexican national.

The Galaxy took their first lead of the match in the 35th minute when Dos Santos finished a penalty kick earned after Kofi Sarkodie clothelined Bradley Diallo in the box.

But two minutes later, it was Hoesen getting off the proverbial schneid by notching his first goal as an Earthquake. It was a classy finish off a low cross inside the box from Tommy Thompson, who picked up his second assist of the season on the play.  

Disaster struck one minute before halftime though, when a diving Victor Bernardez deflected a Diallo cross after the defender found himself back in the San Jose 18. The ball beat a shocked Bingham.

San Jose came out aggressive in the second half and Los Angeles made them pay on the counterattack to put the game away. Romain Alessandrini raced down the left flank, took a look up and struck gold on a left-footed cross to Dos Santos on the back post that could not have been hand-placed any better. Dos Santos arrived perfectly to head the ball past Bingham.

The loss moved San Jose’s home record to 3-1-3.

Turning point: The final marker gave L.A. a two-goal win, but any momentum San Jose had after Hoesen equalized evaporated on the Bernardez own goal. Not only did the goal somewhat deflate the home team, but put San Jose in the position of aggressor – and it’s a position the Galaxy exploited to score the fourth goal.

San Jose’s Man of the Match: The pressure has been on Hoesen since the forward arrived on loan from the Netherlands. In 12 previous games, the man from Heerlen only had one assist to show for his efforts. On Saturday, Hoesen assisted on the first goal with a world-class cross and picked up his first goal of the season on an equally exquisite finish.

History watch: Wondolowski’s first half strike was his eighth goal against the Los Angeles side and 127th all-time in MLS. He is now just six behind Jaime Moreno, who sits third on the MLS’ all-time list.

Attendance: As expected, the San Jose Earthquakes announced a sell out for the marquee match on their schedule.

Up next: The Earthquakes head north to take on the Portland Timbers. The June 2nd matchup is scheduled for an 8 p.m. start. 

Earthquakes hand FC Dallas first loss of season, win 1-0


Earthquakes hand FC Dallas first loss of season, win 1-0


FRISCO, Texas -- Jahmir Hyka scored on a spectacular move in the 81st minute and the San Jose Earthquakes handed FC Dallas its first loss of the season, 1-0 on Saturday night.

Hyka took a pass from Marco Urena and touched the ball straight up over defender Matt Hedges as he raced by before putting the ball in off the post for his third goal.

David Bingham made three difficult saves for his fifth shutout, the 25th in his seven seasons with San Jose (5-4-4). The Earthquakes, who played Wednesday night, had just one win in their previous 12 road games and had been shutout six times and outscored by 13.

Hyka's goal also ended a string in which Chris Wondolowski had scored or assisted on the last seven Quakes goals.

Dallas (5-1-4) was unbeaten in its previous eight games with San Jose, outscoring the Quakes 12-4 with five clean sheets.

Dallas dominated most of the game with 62.3 percent possession and Jesse Gonzalez only made one save.