Quakes protect 11 players ahead of Expansion Draft

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Quakes protect 11 players ahead of Expansion Draft

With the 2011 MLS Cup in the books, teams across MLS aregearing up for a flurry of buying, selling and trading as they prepare toattempt to dethrone the newly-crowned champions Los Angeles Galaxy in 2012, andthe first transactions are already in motion. The Earthquakes, along with 17 other teams announced onMonday their list of protected players for the upcoming Expansion Draft, whichis set to take place at 10 a.m. PT on Nov. 23. In the draft, the Montreal Impact set to become theleagues 19th team will have the opportunity to select 10 playersfrom among the unprotected players around MLS and cannot select more than oneplayer from each team.

Each team can protect 11 players from selection, includingthree international players, provided a team has at least four. Players signed to a Generation adidas contract as well ashomegrown players are exempt from selection. The Earthquakes currently have nohomegrown players, but defender Ike Opara and goalkeeper David Bingham are bothon Generation adidas contracts, meaning they did not have to be protected. There were very few surprises on the Earthquakes list, withmost of the expected names including star forward Chris Wondolowski and otherkey contributors from 2011 such as right back Steven Beitashour, center backJason Herhandez and midfielder Khari Stephenson being protected. Stephenson, from Jamaica,Rafael Baca (Mexico) andSimon Dawkins (England)accounted for the teams international selections. Two players whose futures were the subject of speculation,Dawkins and Steven Lenhart, were both protected. Lenharts contract is up atthe end of the year, but team president Dave Kaval confirmed earlier that theclub is seriously considering re-signing the forward after he tallied fivegoals and three assists before missing the last half of the season on apersonal leave of absence. Like weve said publicly and like Earthquakes GM JohnDoyle and Earthquakes head coach Frank Yallop have said publicly, hessomeone that we felt made a very, very positive impact on the team when heplayed, Kaval said in a Nov. 12 interview Its the time of year where were looking at contracts, andwere trying to understand what his thoughts are. Dawkins situation is slightly more complicated as he playedfor the Earthquakes on loan from English Premier League club Tottenham, and hisloan finished at the end of the season. Kaval confirmed the Earthquakes areinterested in bringing Dawkins back for the 2012 season, but that the situationis not entirely in their hands. Theres no final decisions either way obviously theunderstanding whether or not Tottenham is comfortable with him being over herefor another is sort of critical to our offseason planning, Kaval said. TheyTottenham were all happy, I think its more whether Simon has a spot in England. Sothat is not decided yet and because of that, were sort of just in a holdingpattern. However, a tweet from the teams official Twitter accountexplained that his inclusion on the protected list was in order to protect hisrights and prevent his acquisition by another MLS team. Notable unprotected players include left midfielder BobbyConvey, whose option is not expected to be picked up after a falling out withYallop, left back Ramiro Corrales, as well as center back Nana Attakora andright midfielder Jacob Peterson, who were both acquired in a trade midwaythrough 2011, along with Alan Gordon, who was protected. The full protected list is as follows: Rafael Baca, SteveBeitashour, Jon Busch, Sam Cronin, Simon Dawkins, Alan Gordon, Jason Hernandez, Steven Lenhart, JustinMorrow, Khari Stephenson, Chris Wondolowski. The full list of unprotected players available for selectionis as follows: Anthony Ampaipitakwong, Nana Attakora-Gyan, Bobby Burling, BobbyConvey, Ramiro Corrales, Joey Gjertsen, Maxwell Griffin, Chris Leitch, Matt Luzunaris,Ellis McLoughlin, Jacob Peterson, Brad Ring, Scott Sealy, Tim Ward, AndrewWeber.For more Earthquakes, MLS and world soccer chatter,you can follow Nick Rosano on Twitter @nicholasrosano

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Quakes' lopsided loss to Red Bulls

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USATSI

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Quakes' lopsided loss to Red Bulls

BOX SCORE

The San Jose Earthquakes had one big thing going for them when they took on the New York Red Bulls Wednesday evening — they were on 10 days rest having last played a truly competitive match on July 10 in U.S. Open Cup action.

Unfortunately for the Quakes, they failed to take advantage of that in losing to the Red Bulls 5-1 — definitely not the return to the pitch they were hoping for.  

Here are five takeaways from a Wednesday evening, lopsided loss to NYR. 

— The Quakes had no answer for Sacha Kljestan. The Red Bulls midfielder, who frequented the U.S. Men’s National Team roster at one point, was not called to international duty for the ongoing FIFA Gold Cup and San Jose paid the price for that — the man finessed the Quakes to death on Wednesday evening, factoring in three New York goals with his use of spacing in the Red Bulls midfield. 

— There were a couple of big debuts for San Jose. First, newly signed designated player Valeri Qazaishvili — who the MLS world is calling Vako — made his league debut when in he came as a substitute for Danny Hoesen at halftime. The Georgian native showed flashes with his early touch, but never really factored in the game until the 88th minute when he scored the Quakes’ lone goal on a volley tap courtesy of a nifty Jahmir Hyka cross. It’s a nice debut on the scoresheet, but San Jose is expecting DP-esque things from the Georgian. 

— And second, welcome back, Quincy Amarikwa. The forward has been sidelined since September of 2016 when he suffered ACL and LCL damage that required surgery. Amarikwa has been documenting his recovery on social media and surprised Quakes fans when he make his on-pitch return last week in a friendly against Germany’s Eintracht Frankfurt. On Wednesday, he made his official return in the 76th minute. Amarikwa has nine goals and seven assists in 41 career appearances with the Quakes. 

— It definitely wasn’t the homecoming head coach Chris Leitch was hoping for. Leitch played for five seasons over with the New York club. He made 101 appearances for the Metrostars/Red Bulls, assisting on five goals during his career. 

He’s now 0-1-0 as an opposing head coach. 

— It’s unfair to nitpick on a single defensive effort, given that soccer is a team sport, but the Red Bulls attacked center back Andres Imperiale often Wednesday afternoon — and more often than not, they were rewarded with a scoring opportunity. It’s the second straight poor showing on the road for the Quakes defense as a whole after surrendering a four-spot to Atlanta United FC on Independence Day.

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Quakes' historic US Open Cup win over Galaxy

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Quakes' historic US Open Cup win over Galaxy

It was a historic night over at Avaya Stadium. 

For the first time in U.S. Open Cup history, the San Jose Earthquakes have beaten their bitter rivals, the Los Angeles Galaxy -- 3-2. 

The win also propels the Quakes to just their second appearance in the tournament's semifinals. 

Chris Wondolowski scored a brace to lead the way while Danny Hoesen added the insurance. 

Here are a handful of things to know about Monday's win over the Galaxy. 

-- The sixth time was the charm as the Quakes had lost five previous meetings against their rivals. But the night began with some doubts when Jelle Van Damme scored in just the third minute. His header was goal No. 2 in the last two games against the Quakes.

But Wondolowski equalized courtesy of Tommy Thompson in the 16th minute and then put the San Jose up for good six minutes in the second half -- once again, thanks to Thompson. 

Hoesen scored a breakaway goal about ten minutes later.  

-- If you tried to find Wondolowski on the pitch using his regular number, you were unsuccessful. 

Wondolowski was sporting No. 38 Monday night in honor of Matheus Silva, the Quakes midfielder playing for Reno 1868 on loan who suffered swimming accident July 4 in Lake Tahoe. 

Silva was in a coma until July 6. 

Fittingly, the forward scored twice. Wondolowski's goal is the sixth of his U.S. Open Cup career. He's now tied for the all-time lead in Earthquakes history.  

-- Pregame, the Quakes introduced their latest acquisition, Designated Player Valeri ‘Vako’ Qazaishvili, to the press. 

Qazaishvili began his career in his native Georgia with FC Saburtalo in 2010, spending time on loan with Metalurgi Rustavi and Sioni Bulnisi. 

He then moved on to Vitesse in August of 2011 at just 18 years old, tallying one goal in four appearances for the first team in his debut season.

-- Speaking of Georgia, the Bay Area now boasts two of the nation's very best athletes. Zaza Pachulia, the starting center of the NBA Champion Golden State Warriors, was in attendance MOnday night. 

The center kicked the ceremonial first goal. 

He also swapped jerseys with Vako -- as per usual in soccer circles. No word on Pachulia's footy game. 

-- The Quakes have already equaled their best ever finish in Cup history. They'll now try to surpass that when they face either Sporting Kansas City of FC Dallas -- who play Tuesday night.