'Quakes defeat Sounders 2-1, extend lead in West

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'Quakes defeat Sounders 2-1, extend lead in West

Chris Wondolowskis last season scoring surge continued Saturday night, as the San Jose Earthquakes took advantage of his 22nd goal of the season to overcome the Seattle Sounders 2-1 at CenturyLink Field. With the victory, the Earthquakes completed a three-game season sweep of the Sounders and opened up an 11 point lead in the Western Conference.

We started the game well and played a great first half to get the lead, said head coach Frank Yallop. Seattle put a lot of pressure on in the second half and we bent a little but we didnt break and got an important result. This team just has great spirit and they always push through to the end.

A goal from Simon Dawkins in the second minute, the earliest by an Earthquakes player since the franchise returned to MLS in 2008, was cancelled out 12 minutes later by Seattle midfielder Steve Zakuanis first goal of the campaign and first since returning from a horrific leg injury suffered early in the 2011 season. Wondolowski scored in the 30th minute to restore the Earthquakes lead, and the visitors hung on for the last hour of the match to post the victory.

For Wondolowski, the goal marked his 10th game winning goal of the season, setting a new MLS record and breaking his own personal best of 9 winners in the 2010 season. His goal also extended his lead atop the league scoring chart to a staggering 8 goals over second place strikers Alvaro Saborio of Real Salt Lake and Kenny Cooper of the New York Red Bulls.

I do pride myself on scoring important goals that help the team win, said Wondolowski, so it does feel good to score that many game-winning goals. This team gives me a lot of opportunities and I just need to finish them.

Playing their third game in eight days, the Earthquakes featured nearly the same line-up that faced Chivas USA a week earlier. Playing on the artificial turf of CenturyLink Field, coach Yallop deployed a starting XI that was geared toward keeping possession of the ball and transitioning from defense to offense with urgency. And with speedy wingers Shea Salinas and Marvin Chavez still mending from injuries, Dawkins and the rest of the Earthquakes midfield needed to be sharp in the face of constant pressure from their Sounders counterparts.

Seattle is a good team but we came in tonight and played well right from the start, said Dawkins. It was important to show them why we are on top of the league. It was a great result against a good team.

The Earthquakes started with aplomb, and quickly silenced the announced crowd of 38,948 primarily pro-Sounders supporters with a goal in just the 2nd minute of the match. Collecting a pass in the center of the field, forward Alan Gordon turned the ball wide for a trailing Dawkins. The English midfielder cut the ball back across the top of the area and shook loose of two defenders before unleashing a 25 yard bomb that detonated in the upper right corner of the goal to give San Jose a 1-0 lead.

The Sounders equalized in the 14th minute following a deep throw-in near the Earthquakes byline that was turned into the area by Sammy Ochoa. Shedding defender Jason Hernandez and driving toward goal, Ochoa squared the ball across the six-yard box for Zakuani to slam home at the far post to level the score at 1 goal apiece.

In the 30th minute, the Earthquakes retook the lead through a corner kick opportunity. Mehdi Ballouchys in-swinging restart was headed out of the mixer by defender Brad Evans and right to the foot of Victor Bernardez. The big defender sent a hard cross toward goal where Wondolowski redirected the ball past a helpless Sounders goalkeeper Michael Gspurning to put San Jose up 2-1.

Playing an all-hands-on-deck defense for the better part of the second half, the Earthquakes denied the Sounders at every scoring chance. With the final whistle, San Jose stretched their unbeaten streak to 5 games and pushed their season points total to 60. Coupled with a draw by Sporting Kansas City earlier in the day, the Earthquakes widened their lead in the MLS Supporters Shield race to 5 points. San Jose returns to Buck Shaw Stadium next Saturday night to host FC Dallas.

Earthquakes part ways with head coach Kinnear day after win

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Earthquakes part ways with head coach Kinnear day after win

San Jose - The San Jose Earthquakes announced Sunday that the club has parted ways with head coach Dominic Kinnear and assistant coach John Spencer. The club has named Chris Leitch head coach and Alex Covelo as assistant coach. Current assistant coach Steve Ralston and goalkeeper coach Tim Hanley will remain in their current roles.

"First and foremost, we would like to thank Dominic for his hard work, professionalism and contributions to this club over the years," said Earthquakes general manager Jesse Fioranelli. "He worked hard this year and was a first-class person all the way. This decision was made after a lot of thought and evaluation. We decided that we wanted to go in a different direction as we continue to build the identity of this club."

Kinnear started his second stint as head coach of the Earthquakes in 2015 and led San Jose to a 27-31-27 record in that time. Including his first term as head coach with San Jose in 2004 and 2005, his all-time record with the Quakes is 54-45-48. Kinnear led San Jose to the Supporters' Shield in 2005 and helped the Quakes launch Avaya Stadium in 2015, improving the club's point total by 17 in his first year over the previous season.

"I would like to thank the ownership group for giving me the opportunity to coach the club," said Kinnear. "I want to thank my staff for all their hard work and I wish the players the best of luck going forward."

Leitch, 38, has held a number of posts with the Quakes since retiring as a player following the 2011 season. He started as the club's academy director in 2012 and was promoted to technical director for the Quakes in 2015. He also served as interim general manager in 2016, following the departure of John Doyle. He becomes the ninth head coach in Quakes history.

"Chris is the ideal person to take this role for the Earthquakes at this time," said Fioranelli. "He has a history with the club and has very good knowledge of our entire development pipeline from the youth teams, through PDL and USL up to the first team. He combines that with a shared vision for the club's identity that we have been developing for the past months. Chris and Alex give us two very good soccer minds with a desire to make this club one of the best in MLS."

As technical director, Leitch helped build the partnerships with Burlingame Dragons FC of the Premier Development League and Reno 1868 FC of the United Soccer League, which give the Quakes a direct pipeline through all levels of soccer in the U.S. He also helped transform the Quakes Academy into one of the premier youth systems in the nation. In 2015, the Earthquakes U-18 Academy squad took third place in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy playoffs. The Dragons have also been a top team in the PDL during their first two seasons, claiming the Southwest Division Championship in 2015. Additionally, Leitch received his Elite Formation Coaching License as part of Major League Soccer's partnership with the French Football Federation.

"It has been an honor to work with Dominic for the past two and a half years," said Leitch. "I am grateful to have an opportunity to coach at this club. I am looking forward to getting onto the field and working with this great group of players and staff. Our immediate goal is to make the playoffs this year and we can definitely accomplish that if we all work hard together."

Before joining the Quakes front office, Leitch played professionally in Major League Soccer from 2002 to 2011. He made a total of 196 appearances during his 10-year career, tallying 14 assists. Leitch helped lead the New York Red Bulls to their first MLS Cup Final appearance in 2008 and later signed with the Earthquakes in 2009, playing in 58 matches with the club over the next three seasons. He was the Earthquakes Defensive Player of the Year in 2009 and helped the Quakes reach the conference final in 2010.

Covelo, 38, was named the Quakes director of methodology in April. He holds a bachelor's degree in physical education and sport (URL - Barcelona), a master's degree in high performance team sports (INEFC - Barcelona) and a UEFA A coaching license, which is the second highest of the five UEFA qualifications.

Covelo was most recently a coaching instructor at Ekkono Soccer Services Group based out of Barcelona that leads the technical programs of French powerhouse Paris Saint-Germain, and the Football Federations of Japan, Finland and Poland.

He previously served as the head coach of San Marino in the Italian third division from 2014-15, after a stint as an assistant coach and match analyst with the club in 2013-14.

Prior to joining San Marino's lone professional club, Covelo had a variety of roles in his native Spain. From 2008-12, he worked at one of La Liga's most prestigious youth academy programs, RCD Espanyol of Barcelona, in capacities such as head of methodology and director of fitness for the U-19s. He also served as the head coach of the U-15 and U-19 squads at CF Badalona in Spain's third division from 2005-08.

Covelo was a player in the FC Barcelona Academy, competing through the U-19 level alongside legendary midfielder Xavi Hernandez. He later played professionally for several clubs throughout Catalonia.

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Hoesen leads the ways as Earthquakes take down Real Salt Lake

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Hoesen leads the ways as Earthquakes take down Real Salt Lake

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE — Danny Hoesen scored his second goal of the season and assisted on Marco Urena's second goal, lifting the San Jose Earthquakes to a 2-1 victory over Real Salt Lake on Saturday night.

Hoesen opened the scoring in the 13th minute, off a long cross from Nick Lima. After touching the ball down, Hoesen gathered it off a defender's foot, stepped inside and unleashed a left footer into the top corner from just off the penalty spot.

Hoesen's long through ball down the right side sent Urena free and from a tight angle he rolled the ball past Nick Rimando in the 68th minute.

San Jose (6-6-5), which has battled injuries and call-ups to score just 16 goals in 16 games, won for just the second time in its last seven games.

Lima picked up two yellow cards in the second half and the Quakes played a man down from the 71st minute.

David Bingham made only one save in each half but was denied his seventh shutout when Jose Hernandez scored his second goal in the fourth minute of stoppage time for Salt Lake (5-11-2).