Quakes can't capitalize, draw Portland 1-1


Quakes can't capitalize, draw Portland 1-1


As has been the case all too often in 2011, the Earthquakes put in a positive performance but couldnt finish enough chances in Wednesday evenings 1-1 draw at the Portland Timbers. The Earthquakes fell behind to an early goal from Kenny Cooper, but Khari Stephenson fired home his second goal in two games in the 70th minute to give the Earthquakes a share of the points, doing little to advance the teams faltering playoff hopes. Obviously we played well tonight, sometimes you can't put your finger on why, but I thought our players looked very sharp offensively and defensively, Earthquakes head coach Frank Yallop said. I thought we were great from whistle to whistle. The Earthquakes and Timbers played a very open game for the most part, with both teams recording 19 shots, seven on goal. The Earthquakes, however, were far superior in terms of the amount of possession they controlled, with 64.7 of the ball as opposed to Portlands 35.3. Despite seeing plenty of the ball, though, the Earthquakes could not find the goal they needed to give their playoff hopes a shot in the arm. Sometimes it takes awhile to build the momentum and the players start to really believe in the way we want to play, said Yallop, of the teams ability to maintain possession. There's been a lot of changes and a lot of stuff that's gone on this year that's out of our hands, obviously, but I think that was a true performance that we're capable of and we will play like that in the future. While the Earthquakes advantage in possession started almost from the opening whistle, they were caught on the break in just the ninth minute after Cooper turned home a cross from Darlington Nagbe after Nagbe had gotten behind Bobby Burling. After another scare a few minutes later that saw Nagbes effort well-saved by Jon Busch, the Earthquakes remained unfazed and started to press the Portland backline. We showed great character to come back from that, nine minutes into the game against a team that's very dominant at home and come back into it and play some good stuff and get the reward that we deserve," Yallop added. Despite all the possession and passes San Jose was able to string together, the team wasnt able to make any serious inroads against a strong Portland defense marshaled by goalkeeper Troy Perkins, who made six saves on the night, including one on Simon Dawkins in the 18th minute after the Englishman had done well to create some space to aim at the near post. The Earthquakes started the second half in similar fashion, seeing much of the ball, but unable to break through against Portland, which would take its MLS-record streak of not conceding to 240 minutes before Stephenson equalized. Rafael Baca set up the Jamaican, who managed to connect on an off-balance shot from outside the area, sending it just past the outstretched Perkins. I was having good possession and good ball movement and Rafa (Baca) got the ball wide and played me inside, Stephenson said of his goal. I was a little off balanced, but I tried to turn and get a good shot off. I didn't connect as well as I wanted but it went in. Chris Wondolowski, the Earthquakes leading scorer this season, had a few good chances shut down by Portland, most notably a glancing head in the 86th minute that Perkins got down low to save at his near post. Wondolowski and Stephenson also had point-blank chances stripped away on either side of halftime after saving tackles from Portland midfielder Diego Chara. While the Earthquakes were able to mange to secure a point on the road against Portland, which possessed a 9-4-2 record at home before the game, it wasnt enough to gain any significant ground in the playoff race. With five games left, the Earthquakes now sit seven points outside the playoffs, meaning they would need to make up significant ground to make the cut. Despite this, Stephenson maintained the teams performances over the past few games indicated that there was still a chance for the Earthquakes to make their second consecutive postseason appearance. We've been playing well for the last 10 games and it's just unfortunate that we haven't won most of them, he said. We are pushing for the playoffs and we are more than capable of winning the next few games.For more Earthquakes, MLS and world soccer chatter, you can follow Nick Rosano on Twitter: @nicholasrosano

After best start in franchise history, Quakes' rough season ends on low note


After best start in franchise history, Quakes' rough season ends on low note


A San Jose Earthquakes season that began with the best start in franchise history ended on Sunday with an all-too-familiar result and feeling.

A Sporting Kansas City first half penalty shot and 89th minute-goal was more than enough offense to finish the Quakes' season on a low note in what was a 2-0 loss at Children's Mercy Park in Kansas City.

The Earthquakes finished the 2016 campaign with an 8-14-12 record -- their 12 losses are tied for second most since returning to San Jose after a two-year hiatus in 2008.

The shutout is also the 12th the Quakes suffered this season and San Jose has now missed the playoffs four straight years.

San Jose pressed Sporting Kansas City in the first half and was almost rewarded with a goal on both occasions.

But it was Kansas City who made the most of their opportunities and those don’t come much better than a penalty shot. 

Benny Feilhaber stepped up to the spot in the 27th minute after an awkward bounce hit Cordell Cato in the arm, forcing the referee to call for the penalty. Feilhaber beat David Bingham to the keeper's left for his seventh goal of the season.

The second half was noteworthy for its chippiness more than any real threat by San Jose to try and equalize. Referee Drew Fischer handed out five yellow cards in the half -- three to the Quakes. 

Sporting KC left the game way beyond reach for San Jose when Feilhaber found a streaking Dominic Dwyer on the right side who emphatically finished past Bingham for the 2-0 result. 

Man of the Match: Feilhaber gave San Jose fits the entire match and the Quakes had no answers for the midfielder. Feilhaber and Dwyer almost connected on a couple of other occasions that might have made the result worse for the Quakes. 

Attendance: 20,371 watched Sporting KC advance to the MLS Cup playoffs. 

Up Next: It's back to the drawing board for the Quakes who will reconvene in Tucson next season for preseason camp. 

Neymar to sign extension with Barcelona through 2021


Neymar to sign extension with Barcelona through 2021

MADRID — Neymar will sign a three-year contract extension with Barcelona on Friday, a deal that will keep the Brazil forward with the Spanish club until 2021.

Barcelona and Neymar had made the announcement of the agreement in July.

The previous contract was to end in 2018. The new deal will run through June 2021, Barcelona said Monday.

The club's announcement in July ended speculation that Neymar was unhappy in Spain and was looking to move to another club. Paris Saint-Germain was among the clubs reportedly trying to sign him.

At the time, the club said the contract's buyout clause would be fixed at 200 million euros ($219 million) for the first year of the new contract, 222 million euros ($243 million) for the second, and 250 million euros ($274 million) for the final three years.

Neymar has been with Barcelona since moving from Brazilian club Santos in 2013. He has scored 90 goals in 149 matches, including five goals in eight matches this season.

A key player in Barcelona's potent attack along with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, Neymar helped the team win nine titles: two Spanish league titles, two Copa del Reys, two Spanish Super Cups, the Champions League, the European Super Cup, and the Club World Cup.

The trio of attacking players scored 122 goals in the 2014-15 season and 131 goals last season, both record figures.

Neymar and his father, who acts as his agent, are likely to face trial for fraud in Spain in a case into alleged irregularities regarding his transfer from Santos to Barcelona. A Brazilian investment group which was entitled to 40 percent of the transfer claims it received a smaller compensation than it should have because part of the fee was concealed.

Barcelona also confirmed that defender Javier Mascherano will be staying with the club until 2019. That deal also had been announced in July.