Quakes land Lenhart, Ampaipitakwong on draft day

Quakes land Lenhart, Ampaipitakwong on draft day


SAN JOSE The San Jose Earthquakes announced today that they acquired forward Steven Lenhart from the Columbus Crew in a trade at the 2011 Major League Soccer Draft in Baltimore. The Quakes sent their first round pick (15th overall) and allocation money to the Crew in exchange for Lenhart, who grew up in Yorba Linda, Calif. With their second round pick (33rd overall), the Quakes selected midfielder Anthony Ampaipitakwong from the University of Akron. "Steven is a young player at only 24 years old, but he has three years of experience in MLS," said General Manager John Doyle. "He is a big forward who is difficult for defenders to handle. We think he can come in and help bolster our attack."Originally drafted in the fourth round of the 2008 MLS SuperDraft, Lenhart was an important part of the Crew for the past three years, helping them win the club's first MLS Cup in 2008 and two Supporters' Shields (2008 and 2009). The 6-1 striker has netted 13 goals in league play in his career and also contributed two goals in Champions League matches. His lone playoff goal was the game-tying goal in the first leg of the Crew's 2008 MLS Cup Playoff series against Sporting Kansas City. The Crew defeated Kansas City in the home leg before going on to win the MLS Cup Championship."I have always liked Steven and the way he plays," said head coach Frank Yallop. "He's a big, strong, fast forward who is excellent in the air. We are excited to start working with him."Last season, Lenhart set career highs with six goals and 27 games played, helping the Crew to the playoffs for the third straight season. He also helped Columbus reach the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions League and the final of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in 2010. He appeared in four Champions League games in 2010 and netted one goal, while scoring two goals in four Open Cup games.As a collegian, Lenhart, 24, led Azusa Pacific to the 2007 NAIA national title and was named an All-American. He scored 38 goals and notched 12 assists in 61 career games in college. His father, Gary, was a defensive lineman in football at Azusa Pacific.Ampaipitakwong helped the Zips to their first ever national championship in 2010 with an overtime win in the College Cup Final against Louisville. He was on the Hermann Trophy Watch List and was a College Soccer News Preseason All-American. He was a co-captain on a team that lost just two games over the past two years. He was a National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) First Team All-American and a Soccer America MVP First Team selection in 2009. His coach at Akron was Caleb Porter, who played four games for San Jose in 1999.The Texas native started all 93 games he appeared in over his four-year career at Akron, scoring 17 goals and notching 30 assists. He scored three goals and had a career high 11 assists in his senior season. From 2003-05, Ampaipitakwong was a part of the United States U17 national team Residency program in Bradenton, Fla.Transaction: San Jose Earthquakes (MLS) Earthquakes acquire F Steven Lenhart from the Columbus Crew in exchange for allocation money and a first round draft pick in 2011 MLS SuperDraft and select M Anthony Ampaipitakwong in the second round (33rd overall) in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft.
Courtesy San Jose Earthquakes media services

Dempsey hat trick lifts US over Honduras in statement win


Dempsey hat trick lifts US over Honduras in statement win


SAN JOSE — Bruce Arena's return as U.S. coach reignited American confidence, and his players responded with an emphatic rebound in World Cup qualifying.

Clint Dempsey returned from an irregular heartbeat to score his second international hat trick, 18-year-old phenom Christian Pulisic had one goal and set up three others, and the U.S. routed Honduras 6-0 Friday night to get right back in contention for an eighth straight World Cup berth.

Surprise starter Sebastian Lletget got his first international goal in the fifth minute after Pulisic's shot deflected off the goalkeeper, Michael Bradley doubled the lead in the 27th and Dempsey scored off Pulisic's perfectly weighted chip in the 32nd.

Finding room to maneuver in a central midfield role, Pulisic made it 4-0 just 12 seconds into the second half with his fourth international goal, Dempsey rounded the keeper to score following a Pulisic feed in the 49th, and Dempsey got another on a 23-yard free kick in the 54th. With 55 international goals, Dempsey moved within two of Landon Donovan's American record.

In its first competitive match since Arena replaced Jurgen Klinsmann, the U.S. moved from last to fourth in the final round of the North and Central American and Caribbean region, tied at three points with Honduras but ahead on goal difference, Mexico leads with seven points, followed by Costa Rica with six and Panama with four.

The top three nations qualify for next year's tournament in Russia, and the fourth-place nation advances to a playoff. With a victory at Panama on Tuesday, the Americans could move into the top three.

The U.S. had never before won a hexagonal game by more than three goals.

And oh how the American Outlaws and others among the lively home crowd loved every second of this long-awaited showing, chanting "Michael Bradley!" and "Demp-sey! Demp-sey!" through the Bay Area rain and cool March air.

Then, it was "Bruce Arena! Bruce Arena!"

Gloom descended upon the Americans in November when they opened the hexagonal with a 2-1 home loss to Mexico and a 4-0 wipeout at Costa Rica. The defeats caused the U.S. Soccer Federation to fire Klinsmann, who had coached the Americans since 2011, and bring back Arena, who lead the team from 1998-2006.

Dempsey, 34 and hoping to reach a fourth World Cup, was sidelined from August until this month by an irregular heartbeat and likely was starting only because of injuries to Bobby Wood and Jordan Morris. Tim Howard, the Americans' 38-year-old goalkeeper, got the shutout after returning only two weeks ago from a leg injury sustained in the loss to Mexico.

Geoff Cameron, back from a knee strain that had sidelined him for fourth months, was shifted to right back from central defense because of injuries to others, and Jorge Villafana was inserted on the left.

But there were yet more injuries. Lletget hurt his left ankle on Ever Alvarado's tackle and was replaced in the 18th minute, and defender John Brooks was stretchered off the field, hand over his face, in the 69th due to dehydration.

From the opening whistle, the U.S. played more aggressively than in the latter years of Klinsmann's reign. Arena revamped the midfield, giving a prominent role to Pulisic, who last week became the youngest American to score in the Champions League. He inserted Lletget and Nagbe, who were largely overlooked by Klinsmann last year, on the flanks.

The U.S. went ahead when Jozy Altidore picked up a loose ball and on his second try poked the ball ahead to Pulisic. His left-footed shot that went off goalkeeper Donis Escobar, and Lletget tapped in the ball with his right foot from 2 yards.

Bradley, given his debut by Arena in 2006, doubled the lead when he took a pass from Alejando Bedoya, cut to his left, took four touches and cut the ball back to beat Escobar with one-hopper from about 25 yards.

Showing poise beyond his years, Pulisic created the third goal when he lofted a pass to Dempsey, who allowed the ball of bounce off his right shoulder. Dempsey held off Henry Figueroa and while falling scored with his right foot from 8 yards.

What they’re saying: Let’s go USMNT against Honduras


What they’re saying: Let’s go USMNT against Honduras

The United States Men's National Team faces a critical match against Honduras. 

With an 0-2 record, and currently in last place, the USMNT is on the brink of not qualifying for the 2018 World Cup.

Motivation across the sports world is pouring in for the Red, White and Blue.