Quakes can't equalize, fall 2-1 to Timbers


Quakes can't equalize, fall 2-1 to Timbers

BOX SCOREThe never-say-die late match magic that had carried the San Jose Earthquakes to the top of the MLS standings in the first half of the season failed to materialize in a 2-1 loss to the Portland Timbers at Jeld-Wen Field Tuesday night.

Goals from Danny Mwanga and Jack Jewsbury staked the Timbers to a 2-0 lead early in the second half, but a late goal from Alan Gordon was all the Earthquakes could muster and their three game MLS winning streak came to an end.

The Timbers nearly opened the scoring in the 15th minute, when a long pass from Franck Songoo toward the top of the area was tipped by Earthquakes defender Victor Bernardez right to a wide open Eric Alexander on the left wing. The midfielder turned the ball back toward goal, and with a phalanx of defenders converging on him, unleashed a low shot that caromed off the left post.

Portland would get on the scoresheet in the 29th minute following a textbook counterattack following an unsuccessful Earthquakes corner kick. After disposing Rafael Baca of the ball deep in the right corner, Songoo centered the ball to Alexander and sprinted up the sideline. Alexander returned the ball to Songoo with plenty of open space ahead of him and he carried the ball all the way into the Earthquakes area. A squared pass across the six-yard box was met by Mwanga and redirected past goalkeeper David Bingham to give the Timbers a 1-0 lead.

The Timbers nearly scored another goal from the same combination in the 55th minute. With space to bring the ball into the area, Songoo elected to cross the ball back across the six-yard box to Mwanga, and the Portland forward slammed a shot off the crossbar. The effort was whistled dead for offside, but the Timbers continued to put the Earthquakes collectively on their back foot.

Portland collected their second goal of the night on a free kick in the 59th minute. The deep ball into the area looked destined for the grasp of keeper Bingham, but a challenge from Futty Danso dislodged the ball and it trickled back toward the goal line. As Bingham struggled to catch up with the loose ball, Jewsbury raced in and buried a shot into the back of the net.

The introduction of Marvin Chavez for Rafael Baca in the 59th minute and Steven Lenhart for Khari Stephenson in the 62nd minute signaled a shift to a more offensive-minded formation, and the substitutions paid dividends in short order.

The Earthquakes pulled one back in the 74th minute when a crossing attempt from Justin Morrow was deflected back out of the area directly to Chavez. He stepped into the ball and fired a shot on target that Gordon redirected past Timbers goalkeeper Troy Perkins for the Earthquakes first goal of the evening.

The last Earthquakes substitution came in the 84th minute, when creative midfielder Tressor Moreno replaced defender Jason Hernandez. The visitors pushed forward with numbers in the concluding minutes of the match, but they were unable to find an equalizer.

The Earthquakes will look to return to their winning ways this Saturday when they travel to Texas to face FC Dallas.

Quakes complete MLS Superdraft with local talent; announce two signings


Quakes complete MLS Superdraft with local talent; announce two signings

The San Jose Earthquakes completed their participation in the 2017 MLS Superdraft with a nod to local soccer talent.

A couple of days after selecting a pair of midfielders in rounds one and two, the Quakes chose winger Christian Thierjung from the University of California with their third-round selection.

Thierjung joins Nick Lima, San Jose’s second-ever homegrown signing, as offseason moves that involve Golden Bears.

Thierjung, 22, goes to the Quakes after four seasons at Cal, where he appeared in 73 games, tallying 27 goals and seven assists.

As a senior, Thierjung was named First-Team All-Pac-12, Third Team All-Far West Region and Second-Team Academic All-Pac-12. He was selected First-Team All-Pac-12 and Second-Team All-Far West Region in 2015.

Thierjung also played for the Quakes' PDL affiliate Burlingame Dragons FC during the 2016 season, tallying two goals in five total appearances.

With their fourth-round selection, the Quakes took Auden Schilder, the 22-year-old goalkeeper from the University of Washington.

Schilder was selected Second Team All-Pac-12 Conference and Second Team All-Far West Region in 2016 after surrendering just 18 goals in 20 appearances and posting five shutouts.

During rounds one and two, the Quakes selected Generation Adidas midfielder Jackson Yueill with the No. 6 overall selection and University of South Florida midfielder Lindo Mfeka.

Also making local soccer news, Thierjung’s teammate on Burlingame Dragons FC, three-year captain Joshua Smith, was selected in the fourth round by the New England Revolution. Smith also captained the University of San Francisco.

On Tuesday, San Jose announced the signings of Marvell Wynne and Tommy Thompson. Per league rules, terms of the deals were not disclosed.

Thompson, 21, became the Earthquakes' first-ever homegrown player signing in 2014, following one season at Indiana University where he was named the Big Ten Conference Freshman of the Year. He’s yet to score a point in an MLS match.

Wynne has appeared in 301 games during his 11-year MLS career, recording two goals and 21 assists. He was an invaluable member of a Quakes team that was hit hard by injuries in 2016.

Wynne helped the Colorado Rapids win MLS Cup in 2010. He has also represented the United States National Team and was a starter during the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

Day 1 of MLS 2017 Superdraft: Quakes take pair of midfielders

Day 1 of MLS 2017 Superdraft: Quakes take pair of midfielders

The San Jose Earthquakes began their 2017 draft by taking a UCLA Bruin. And if he pans out to play anything like the player he emulates his game around, the Quakes might have themselves a true superstar. 

Jackson Yueill, a midfielder, was selected by the Quakes with the sixth pick in the 2017 Superdraft. Yueill, who models his game around FC Barcelona and Spanish National Team legend Andres Iniesta, is a Generation Adidas Signing for the Earthquakes.

"I'm super excited," Yueill said. "I love the west coast. I'm excited to move to San Jose. It's a really good environment with the team and the fans. I've heard great things. I'm excited to try and bring another cup to San Jose." 

The UCLA product played in 40 games during his college career, scoring nine goals and notching 17 assists during those contests. His 11 assists in 2016 led the Pac-12. 

Considered a high-upside player, Yueill joins the Quakes in what already is a pretyt stacked midfield. "I see myself as an 8," Yueill said of his fit in the MLS game. "A box-to-box midfielder who can get into the attacking zone and create goal scoring opportunities." 

Yueill was named to back-to-back NSCAA First Team All-Far West Region and First Team All-Pacific 12 Conference teams. He has represented the United States on the U-20 team.

As a member of Generation Adidas, Yueill's salary will not count against salary cap. 

"I'm a player that loves to learn," Yueill said. "It's always great to come to a team where the coach believes in you."

With the 28th pick of the draft, the Earthquakes selected another midfielder -- Lindo Mfeka of the University of South Florida. 

A four-year player with the Bulls, Mfeka scored 16 goals and notched 18 assists in his college career. 

Mfeka is a two-time First Team member of the All-American Athletic Conference. He was born in Durban, South Africa.

Day 2 of the MLS Superdraft will happen via conference call next Tuesday. The Quakes have two picks remaining -- the 50th and 72nd overall selections. 

Rounding out local Superdraft News: Two members of the Quakes' Premier Development League affiliate, Burlingame Dragons FC, were selected in Day 1. Brian Nana-Sinkam (Stanford) was selected by the MLS-champion Seattle Sounders and Brian Wright (Vermont) went to the New England Revolution.