Quakes proud of effort vs. EPL's West Brom


Quakes proud of effort vs. EPL's West Brom


Nick RosanoCSNBayArea.com

SANTA CLARA, Calif. For the managers on thesidelines of the Earthquakes 2-1 exhibition win over Premier League outfitWest Bromwich Albion, Tuesday nights game provided tests of two differentkinds. For West Brom, it was the teams firstgame of the 2011-2012 season following the clubs best-ever finish (11thplace) in the Premier League. For the Earthquakes, it provided manager FrankYallop a chance to test new players and perhaps find a way to rejuvenate astruggling offense. Anytime it's an exhibition game, you're a littleworried of it being a dull affair, but I thought it was good, Yallop said. Ittakes break away from our league stuff to kind of enjoy the game rather thanworry about the result, so I said to the guys, Just go out and try and enjoythe game and play some good stuff and try and win. Despite thegames status as an exhibition, the team was more than pleased with the way itpresented itself against opposition from arguably the best league in the world.Its an EPL English Premier League team. They are strong team thatfinished in the middle of the table last season. We did really well playingthem tonight, said Earthquakes forward Simon Dawkins, who is currently playingfor the Earthquakes on loan from Tottenham Hotspur, another Premier Leagueteam.RELATED: Earthquakes fixturesThe Earthquakes took an early lead over their English visitorswith a fluky 90-yard goal from rookie goalkeeper David Bingham, a former Cal standout. Binghamcollected an errant pass in his own penalty area and booted it up field.However, West Brom goalkeeper Boaz Myhill, a Modesto native, lost the ball in the sun andit took one hop over his head and into the goal. RELATED: Quakes' Bingham nets 90-yard goal in friendly
Khari Stephensonadded a second for the Earthquakes just before halftime with a trademark blisteringshot from 33 yards out. West Brom pulled oneback early in the second half after a blistering run and shot from wingerJerome Thomas. Despite some heavy pressure, San Jose stood firm and held on for the win.Yallop was indeed pleased with the performances of some of his lesserknown players, in particular highlighting the work of new signing Rafael Bacaand left back Justin Morrow. Simon Dawkins also featured in a more unfamiliarmidfield role, but adapted well. One of the hard parts of MLS is thatit's hard to take chances on players, Yallop said. You kind of go with whatyou know and you don't give many games to young players, you tend to go withexperience and don't play many young guys. It was nice to do that tonight and Ithought they all did fine, it was good. For West Brom, the gamepresented an opportunity to get back on the field after a summer break and justone week of training. With the Premier League season running fall to spring,opposite of MLS, the difference in fitness levels between the Earthquakes andtheir opponents was readily apparent. The opponents were good ofcourse, said West Brom manager Roy Hodgson.Lively, just as we expected, but I think the result's a bit harsh on us,especially as a result of the freak opening goal, apart from that I thought weplayed reasonably well.We came through injury free, the game wasplayed in a good spirit, no injuries, very few fouls, referee did a good job,so perfect workout, really, Hodgson added.The Earthquakes will make aquick return to league action, as they will travel to face the Columbus Crew onSaturday, July 16, a team that they beat 3-0 at home earlier this season. WestBrom has two more games in its preseason tour of the United States, returning to its home base in Southern California to face minor league side Ventura County Fusion beforetraveling north to take on MLS outfit Portland Timbers.For more Earthquakes, MLS and world soccer musings,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.