Quakes look to spoil Crew's home opener

Quakes look to spoil Crew's home opener
March 16, 2013, 11:00 am
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Rookie Adam Jahn looks to build on his impressive start. (USA Today Images)

Programming note: Quakes-Crew coverage kicks off today at 2:30 PT on Comcast SportsNet California

(AP) -- Late-game dramatics played a big part in the San Jose Earthquakes winning the Supporters' Shield last season, and it's carrying into 2013 with a new face.

The Columbus Crew are opening their home schedule looking to continue their unbeaten stretch as host.

Adam Jahn may parlay some recent heroics into his first career start as the Earthquakes attempt to end the Crew's nine-game unbeaten stretch at home Saturday night.

San Jose (1-1-0) had the league's best record last season at 19-6-9 and led the MLS with 72 goals. It scored 24 times in the final 15 minutes and went 11-0-5 in those games. One of those rallies was a 1-1 tie against Columbus on May 19, when Alan Gordon scored in the final minute.

Gordon and fellow forwards Chris Wondolowski and Steven Lenhart played major roles in those dramatics, earning the nickname "The Goonies."

Injuries have sidelined Gordon and Lenhart, but Jahn kept the late-game heroics going Sunday. The rookie forward scored in the 83rd minute before drawing a penalty kick in stoppage time that Wondolowski converted to clinch a 2-1 home win over New York.

"Lenny and Gordo were saying, 'The new Goonie's here,'" coach Frank Yallop told the team's official website.

Jahn, a 6-foot-3 target forward out of Stanford picked in the supplemental draft, now has Yallop contemplating a switch up top since journeyman Mike Fucito has failed to even muster a shot on goal in two games.

"We're set up to play, pretty much, with a target guy," Yallop said. "I think that Mike does a great job of trying to do that, but obviously his stature and the way he plays the game is a little different to the way we've set up. We feed off crosses and different things like that. We've kind of gotten away from that, not having our big boys, but I think Adam now will have the confidence to be able to do that."

Wondolowski may have some confidence from scoring his first goal after tallying 27 last year to matching Roy Lassiter's single-season league record set in 1996.

He has two goals in his past five games against the Crew (1-1-0), but none in three career visits to Columbus.

The Crew are hoping a return home can help them rebound from last Saturday's 2-1 loss at Vancouver after opening the season a week earlier with an impressive 3-0 road victory over Chivas USA.

They're 39-11-14 at home under coach Robert Warzycha, going 11-3-3 there last year.

"When we set our goals for the season, we always say we have to win our games at home because we know how difficult it is to play games away from home," Warzycha told the team's official website. "We have to be mentally prepared and that's what we've done the past few years."

Columbus is 7-0-2 in its last nine home games, and that's been aided by forwards Federico Higuain and Jairo Arrieta.

Higuain has five goals and three assists in seven games at Crew Stadium since joining the club from Argentine club Colon in July, the same month Arrieta joined the team from Costa Rica's Deportivo Saprissa. He's added five goals and three assists in the past nine home games.

Arrieta got his first goal of 2013 against the Whitecaps.