Quakes motivated by defeat in rematch with Fire


Quakes motivated by defeat in rematch with Fire


SAN JOSE Throwing away a 2-0 lead and losing a game on penalty kicks isnt exactly thekind of result that helps momentum, but the Earthquakes certainly arentletting it get to them. In fact, they have the perfect opportunity to overcometheir Tuesday night setback: they have a chance go out and beat the sameteam.The confluence of the MLS and U.S. Open Cup calendars meansthat for the second time in five days, the Earthquakes will take on the ChicagoFire. This time, the two teams will square off at the Fires home stadium of Toyota Parkin Bridgeview, Ill., and make no mistake about it, the teamis using their disappointing result on Tuesday as extra motivation for theirweekend match.
REWIND: Quakes fall to Chicago in PK shootout 5-4
It was a physical game, it was a hardfought game by both teams, and the best way to get back at them is to play themin four days on their home field, said Earthquakes defender Bobby Burlingimmediately after the teams loss on Tuesday evening. Despite taking a 2-0 lead intohalftime, some soft defensive plays cost the Earthquakes a third straight winin all competitions. I think the game we had last night alot of guys feel a bit disappointed about for the reason we believed the gamein hand and we let them back in it, explained Earthquakes defender JasonHernandez. I think it shows the fight and the attitude and mentality of Chicago and that'ssomething we're going to have to face in their house this weekend. Hopefully we can bring that samementality of being very tough to play against and hopefully we'll get a resultdown there. KILLION: Wondo's absence an odd blessing for Quakes
Even with the loss on penalties, the Earthquakes have nowgone unbeaten in regulation for five straight games, three in MLS play and twoin the Open Cup. The turnaround from a slow start to the season in which theEarthquakes won just one game in their first seven can be credited in part tothat tough mentality and in part to head coach Frank Yallops switch to a moredefensively sound 4-4-2 formation. While Yallop fielded a lineup devoid of all but two of thestarters from the teams previous two wins, he expects to see many of theregular starters back in the lineup.I've got a good idea of what I'm going to do, heexplained. There's a few injury bumps and bruises from yesterday, so we're seehow they're feeling, so we'll get to Chicagoand make a decision on the lineup. They're probably going to see not many players that weplayed last night, he added after the teams Wednesday morning practice.One of the key injury question marks will be over the statusof 20-year-old forward Ellis McLoughlin, who has caught the Earthquakesfaithful by surprise with his exciting attacking displays. He scored the teamsopening goal in a 2-1 victory over New Englandlast weekend and grabbed another goal in Tuesday nights game before coming outat halftime with a groin strain. Im feeling fine. I'm going to be precautionary about itand take a couple days off so I'm ready for this weekend, McLoughlin said.He may have a chance to be OK for theweekend, so that'll be good, because I thought he had a good first half,obviously the goal helped, Yallop added. I thought he did well. He was dangerous.McLoughlins work rate and skill on the field have beenexemplary of the attitude and fight mentioned by Burling, Hernandez, andothers. Furthermore, the youngster could play a significant role in helping tofill the offensive void left by Chris Wondolowski and Ryan Johnson as theyleave to represent their respective national teams in Junes CONCACAF Gold Cup.
NEWS: Quakes' Wondolowski to play for U.S. in Gold Cup
While Wondolowski will play Saturdays game before departingfor the U.S. teams training camp in Cary, N.C., the Earthquakes will hope tohave McLoughlin as fit as possible in order to ease his ongoing transition intothe teams lineup.
Whatever way the teams fitness issues are resolved, though,the teams mental strength and desire to rebound from a disappointing defeatwill ensure a hard-fought and entertaining game in Chicago on Saturday evening.For more Earthquakes, MLS and general soccerinformation, you can follow Nick Rosano on Twitter: @nicholasrosano

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.