Quakes shift focus to 2012, Ecuadorian striker Zura

Quakes shift focus to 2012, Ecuadorian striker Zura

Nicholas Rosano
SAN JOSE With the Earthquakes playoff hopes quickly fading, it is natural to imaginethat much of the teams focus will shift towards building for 2012 and puttingthe team back in playoff contention. While the team hasnt been mathematicallyeliminated from playoff contention, the weekends 2-0 loss at the Los AngelesGalaxy, combined with other results around the league, left the Earthquakesfarther adrift than ever.
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As such, in addition to fighting until the end for a playoffspot, many players will be looking to keep their spot on the team for nextseason. Making that competition just a bit fiercer is the fact that the team islikely to bring in a number of trialists in the coming weeks and months, alongwith the addition of the latest player to grace the Earthquakes roster,Edmundo Zura.
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Zura, an Ecuadorian forward who arrived last week on loanfrom El Nacional in his native country, is on the roster and can play for theEarthquakes during the rest of the season, unlike any trialist the team mightbring in. The nature of his deal, though, means he will also be playing for aspot on the team in 2012. Should he impress during the final two months of the season,the Earthquakes could look to exercise their option make his move permanent.Otherwise, he would return to El Nacional. Part of the rationale for Zuras move is simply necessity.With both Steven Lenhart and Alan Gordon out for a considerable amount of time,the Earthquakes were in the market for an attacking player, and Zurasperceived capabilities as a target forward made him a suitable choice to fillthe role Gordon and Lenhart played for the Earthquakes a key part of Yallopstactical set up.
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Those two Gordon and Lenhart are very active and Edmundo,once he gets fit, he should be that type, head coach Frank Yallop explained.Pretty strong target, good in the air and can finish, but youve got to beable to move and be in condition to do that, a lot of runs, its a lot of runsin our game. The players condition could indeed be the biggest stickingpoint in getting Zura to the point where he can make an impact for theEarthquakes. Despite being in season in his native Ecuador,Zura ended up arriving to meet the squad for the game in Los Angeles without much match fitness, andit showed in his 20 minutes on the field.We thought he would be a lot closer being match fit, buthes not, head coach Frank Yallop said. He really needs to get working andget fit, and then we can really assess him, for sure.Zura himself also acknowledged that he had hard work aheadof him, saying through a translator, Im not perfect, but Im working hard toget better and get in good shape. I felt very good, like I could give those 20minutes against LA, but there is some work to do.
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Coming from Ecuador,a league where technical skills often take precedence over the physical,hard-running style found in a league like MLS, Zura also acknowledged thatplaying in the U.S.would take some adaptation on his part. However, he also believed his timeplaying in Australia,with a league similar in style to MLS, could help prepare him for the rigors ofphysical play here. Here its always different, there is a lot more running, alot more running with the ball, he said. More touches, the speed is just alittle bit quicker. I expected that a little bit because I played in Australia,which is a league with a lot of fast running. Once Zura does make it to full match fitness, though, histeammates will be ready to welcome him into the fold. I think hes a good player. I definitely hope that he canhelp out some, said Earthquakes forward Chris Wondolowski, who also expressedhope that Zura could fill the role once filled by Lenhart and Gordon. Hesdefinitely a target forward hes a big boy, so yeah, its hopefully somethingthat he can do. It is up in the air as to whether Zura will be able totravel to Canadafor the Earthquakes upcoming match against Toronto FC on Aug. 27 generalmanager John Doyle said he was working on obtaining a visa to allow Zura totravel north of the border. If Zura should not make the trip, though, he will haveplenty of time to get fit and ready to make the impact the Earthquakes areseeking from him, with a two-week break in action before Chicago comes to townon Sept. 10.For more Earthquakes, MLS and world soccer musings,you can follow Nick Rosano on Twitter: @nicholasrosano

Earthquakes acquire Danny Hoesen and Florian Jungwirth

Earthquakes acquire Danny Hoesen and Florian Jungwirth

The San Jose Earthquakes announced today that the club has acquired Dutch forward Danny Hoesen on a season-long loan, with an option to buy, using Targeted Allocation Money and signed German defender/midfielder Florian Jungwirth using Targeted Allocation Money, pending receipt of P-1 Visas and ITC.

Hoesen, 26, most recently played for FC Groningen of the Dutch Eredivisie. Since joining FC Groningen ahead of the 2014-15 season, Hoesen has tallied 15 goals and five assists in 72 appearances, including four goals in 12 matches so far this season. He helped the club win the 2014-15 KNVB Cup, the Dutch version of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

"Danny Hoesen gives us a player with a strong frame that is tall, but also has a fast pace," said Earthquakes general manager Jesse Fioranelli. "He can attack the space in counter-attack situations. He can also work in tandem with whichever striker will be supporting him. He's a player that comes from very attack-minded football in Holland and will be the perfect striker to give us an additional element in the box that we may have been missing."

Hoesen began his professional career with Fortuna Sittard of the Dutch second division, before joining English side Fulham FC in 2008 at the age of 17. Playing with Fulham's U-23 side, Hoesen spent time on loan with HJK Helsinki of the Finnish first division in 2010, helping the club win the league title, and later his former club Fortuna Sittard (2011-12) before returning to England in June of 2012. He scored four goals in 10 total appearances for Fulham's youth side.

In August of 2012, Hoesen was transferred to Dutch powerhouse Ajax. Over the next season and a half, Hoesen scored 13 goals and added six assists in 44 appearances across all competitions for the first team, while also scoring eight goals in 22 appearances for the club's U-21 squad. He helped Ajax win the 2012-13 league title and the 2013 Johan Cruyff Shield. Hoesen also appeared in five UEFA Champions League matches against Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, FC Barcelona and AC Milan, scoring goals against Dortmund and Barcelona.

He then joined Greek first division side PAOK Thessaloniki on loan in January of 2014 and finished the season with one goal and two assists. Hoesen was then transferred from Ajax to FC Groningen in July of 2014 where he remained until signing with San Jose.

Internationally, Hoesen has made 13 total appearances for the Netherlands at various youth levels, scoring three goals.

Jungwirth, 28, joins the Earthquakes after two and a half seasons with SV Darmstadt 98 of the German Bundesliga. He made 63 appearances for Darmstadt, recording three assists, and helped the club earn promotion from the 2. Bundesliga to the top flight with a second place finish in 2014-15.

"Florian is capable of playing all defensive positions. He came up through the German National Team system and won the European Cup with them," said Fioranelli. "He grew up as a central defender, on both the right and the left. He was later moved to defensive midfield because he is a player that has a strong presence and is very logical and careful when it comes to possession and build-up situations. He is a player that has a lot of heart and has been very much liked on every team that he's played for because he will fight for his teammates and is a natural leader."

Jungwirth began his career at the youth ranks of TSV 1860 Munich. After making 33 appearances for the club's U-19 side, he earned his way onto the club's reserve squad, TSV 1860 Munich II, where he tallied three assists in 48 games played.

In January of 2010, he was transferred to Dynamo Dresden of the 2. Bundesliga, where he remained for three and a half seasons. During his time with Dresden, Jungwirth made 97 appearances and recorded two assists.

Ahead of the 2013-14 season, Jungwirth moved to VfL Bochum, also of the 2. Bundesliga. During his one season with the club, he scored one goal in 30 appearances with the first team and two goals in four appearances with the club's reserve side. Jungwirth then signed with Darmstadt in September of 2014.

Internationally, Jungwirth has made 44 appearances for Germany at various youth levels from U-16 to U-20, scoring two goals.

"I think both guys have a strong background coming from top leagues overseas and will help on both sides of the ball," said Earthquakes head coach Dominic Kinnear. "Our expectation is that Danny will score goals and Florian will provide a solid presence on the backline."

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Levi's Stadium to host 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup final


Levi's Stadium to host 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup final

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. — This year's CONCACAF Gold Cup final will be played on July 26 at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California.

The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football announced first-round sites in December and the site of the final on Wednesday. The 12-nation tournament opens July 7 at Harrison, New Jersey.

The United States and defending champion Mexico head a field that includes Canada, Costa Rica, Curacao, El Salvador, French Guyana, Honduras, Jamaica, Martinique and Panama. The final spot will be determined by a playoff between Haiti and Nicaragua in March.