Quakes' Baca looks to make starting spot his own


Quakes' Baca looks to make starting spot his own

Nick Rosano

SANTA CLARA, Calif. Rafael Baca has been more than patient waiting for his turn with the Earthquakes. After training with the team since mid-February, the former Loyola Marymount midfielder had to wait until July 8 to sign with the team. Even then, he had to wait over another month to get a chance to play in his preferred position, first being utilized as a winger in a series of substitute appearances interspersed with one start in his teams 4-0 loss to Real Salt Lake. Recently, though, head coach Frank Yallop has turned to the versatile Mexican-born midfielder as the teams lineup suffered through a spate of injuries and suspensions, and the coach likes what he sees. He has great energy, I think hes using the ball well, been an excellent teammates, I think hes worked very hard for the team, hes been good, Yallop said of Bacas contributions to the team. I think him and Ramiro Corrales, the two of them struck up a nice partnership real quickly and played some good stuff. Since some shaky opening minutes in his first start centrally, alongside Corrales in the Earthquakes 2-0 loss to Los Angeles on Aug. 20, Baca has stepped up alongside the veteran Corrales nominally a left back to help the team improve its possession. For Baca the switch to a more central position is a welcome one. I think its better, I think its a position that I like playing more, said Baca, of the switch. I feel more comfortable there, I like to be on the ball more, so I think that position you have to be more active and you get more of ball, more touches on the ball. While Baca has been comfortable playing alongside Corrales, the injury and suspension situation has necessitated yet another change in the center of the park. While Baca will remain in the center, a hamstring injury to Justin Morrow and the suspension of Bobby Convey for yellow card accumulation requires Yallop to move Corrales back to his left back position. The Earthquakes have a number of options to fill the spot left by Corrales, but with Khari Stephenson likely to continue playing up front and Brad Ring recovering from a shoulder injury, Sam Cronin will likely be the player Yallop turns to. Despite the fact that Bacas path to a starting spot has been largely influenced by injuries, Yallop insists that Baca has earned the right to continue playing in the first team thanks to his positive performances against Los Angeles and in the teams 1-1 draw with Toronto FC. Right now were trying to win every game we can, so you dont tend to just throw guys in, Yallop said, indicating he was not simply just testing out Baca and Morrow, who has also enjoyed a run as a starter. Theyve been given their chance and I think theyve done fantastic, both of them. However, Baca is not just content with playing to fill in and keep starting for the rest of 2011, he is keen continue improving so as to make the starting spot his own in 2012. Yeah, I think besides locking it down, I think theres always room to improve, little things that you have to work on as a rookie, Baca said of his desire to make the position his own, and credited his teammates with helping him. I think with the type of player that we have, I get a lot of help from them, a lot of advice, so I think its good. In the teams upcoming showdown with the Chicago, where any result other than a win would likely extinguish the teams already extremely slim playoff hopes, Baca knows the team must be more careful with its possession, and believes he can help. I think just in the final third of the field, make sure we connect those passes. I think thats something weve been lacking the last few games, said Baca, when asked about what the team can do to be more incisive. In the last third we make the wrong pass or make the wrong decision. Looking at his individual game, Baca acknowledged the need to rely more on his attacking instincts, saying, I think I need to just try to go forward more, try to be more offensive, create more attack. Thats one of those things that me as a player has to improve and hopefully I can do it on Saturday against Chicago.For more Earthquakes, MLS and world 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."