Quakes facing history


Quakes facing history

Every time the San Jose Earthquakes get close to winning something, veteran soccer watchers get a twitch. After all, the last time they were a big deal in Major League Soccer, they celebrated by moving to Houston.Such has been the teams history, though. Poor stepchildren in the heyday of the old North American Soccer League (think the New York Cosmos and 23 dwarves), always marked for death because Spartan Stadium was too small and not fashionable enough, the Quakes and their fans did with attitude what they could not do with economic or real estate throw weight.And now, with the second leg of their Western Conference semifinal against the Los Angeles Galaxy (formerly Beckhams) Wednesday night, they have a chance not only to face their history but burnish it.They must first restrain the Galaxy, then hope to evade the winner of Seattle-Real Salt Lake, and then hope that Houston escapes the Eastern Conference thicket, so that they can do what no team has ever done in MLS history.RELATED: L.A. Galaxy-San Jose Earthquakes preview
Play themselves for the championship.The Quakes, who probably assembled their best team ever this year and won the West despite being branded as a team that played ugly soccer and were a bunch of jokes, according to Los Angeles Omar Gonzalez, have been down this road before. They won in 2001 and 2003, but have always worn the ugly stepchild clothes well. After all, this is the sixth (or is it seventh?) version of the Quakes, and they have always been . . . well, unfashionable.Indeed, they are as close as any MLS team has ever come to being the old Toronto Metros-Croatia, a proud old Canadian semipro side from the years when each ethnic group had its own local club. The team bought its way into the old NASL when the leagues franchise there was hemorrhaging money, and won the 1976 title (right before the Cosmos ate the league), but the TV broadcasters were told they could never refer to Metros-Croatia, because it was, even for 1976, uncool.RELATED: Earthquakes roster Stats Fixtures
Eventually, they did die, just as the Quakes have on several different occasions, but as it turns out, they dont really die so much as disappear, get angry, and then come back.And when we say get angry, we do mean the Eric Wynalda-vs.-Laurie Calloway days, and the Richard Gough-vs.-Brian Quinn days, and the Johnny Moore-vs.-AEG days, and the everyone-vs.-Alan Rothenberg days.Theirs is a charming, stubborn, sometimes disputatious story, and when forward Steven Lenhart said, Goonies never say die, he didnt know the half of it.But for the circle to close, they not only have to get to the final but meet Houston in it. The Dynamo, which was originally going to be called Houston 1836 as part of the lets-name-our-teams-like-they-came-from-Europe fetish, had to change its name because Hispanics know that 1836 was the year that Texas won its independence from Mexico in that very Texas-y way it has. With a war.But before that, it had to change its name from San Jose Earthquakes, and those who have been around awhile remember that little piece of bait-and-switch.And while were at it, I wondered why the Quakes never fell for that pretend-were-from-the-old-country dodge and called itself Shakhtar San Jose, or Pruneyard Ajax, or Earthquakes Moenchengladbach. And then I remembered that Moore quit when the new owners wanted to hook the team into an arrangement with the Mexican side Club America and call itself San Jose America.God help us all.But we digress. The Quakes still have much to do before they get to the December 1 final, against a number of difficult sides, and they will doubtless have to do it chins out, attitudes at the ready. With any luck they will resist the temptation to resort to soul-eating horrors like Gangnam Style or the other signature fan manipulators the other local teams like to employ.If it helps to remind them of how hard it is to stay a Quake with this clubs history, maybe they can proclaim themselves the San Jose Earthquakes-Croatia. History says that works, at least for awhile.Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.com

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.



Late Wondolowski equalizer keeps Quakes unbeaten at home


Late Wondolowski equalizer keeps Quakes unbeaten at home

It’s been a season of inconsistencies for the San Jose Earthquakes. But one thing that has been certain is that in San Jose, at Avaya Stadium, the Quakes are pretty close to unbeatable. 

And they continued that trend Wednesday night thanks in large part to Tommy Thompson and Chris Wondolowski, who combined for a goal in the game’s 83rd minute to salvage a 1-1 draw.

In six home matches, the Earthquakes are 3-0-3. 

The equalizer came less than three minutes after Carlos Rivas had put Orlando on top with a goal from inside the 18-yard box. 

But it was then that head coach Dominic Kinnear reached to his bench for Thompson. 

The late substitution paid off not too long after when a Jahmir Hyka corner found its way over to Thompson just outside the penalty area. The midfielder put the ball on frame and as it was going wide, Wondolowski was there to poke the ball home. 

The goal was the fifth of the season for Wondolowski. It was also Thompson’s first point for the big club since signing San Jose’s first ever Homegrown Player contract. 

David Bingham made a huge save on Brazilian international Kaka in stoppage time to keep the game drawn. 

Turning point: You have to look to Kinnear’s substitution in the 82nd minute that brought on Thompson. The midfielder is known for his creativity on the ball, but had yet to turn that into production for the Quakes since signing his contract. On Wednesday, his first point could not have come at a bigger time. Thompson’s first point came in his 57th game with the club.  

Man of the match: Bingham has played lights out at Avaya in 2017. And when the game opened up in the last 10 minutes, it was his save that kept on Kaka that preserved the unbeaten record at home and a much deserved point for the home squad.  

Injury update: Quakes fans got some bad news before the start of Wednesday’s game when the team announced Harold Cummings, a big offseason acquisition at center back, is out of the season. The Costa Rican international suffered a foot injury while in his San Jose home. The blow is huge for the Quakes, who are already thin defensively.

Booked: Orlando: Leo Pereira (yellow, 25’); San Jose: Anibal Godoy (yellow, 44’), Marco Ureña (yellow, 62’), Nick Lima (yellow, 68’), Darwin Ceren (yellow, 70’). 

Up next: The Earthquakes head to Texas to face FC Dallas on Saturday. While the Quakes are unbeaten at home, their fortunes change significantly on the road. They’ll try to turn that around against a tough Dallas team.