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 suffer first home loss of season, drop Cali Clasico to Galaxy


Earthquakes suffer first home loss of season, drop Cali Clasico to Galaxy


SAN JOSE -- Cali Clasico fans have come to expect fireworks on the pitch every time the San Jose Earthquakes and Los Angeles Galaxy face off in one of Major League Soccer’s best rivalries.

And the first affair of 2017 was no exception. Five goals in the first half got the match off to a roaring start but, much to the chagrin of San Jose fans, L.A. handed the Earthquakes their first Avaya Stadium loss of the season with a 4-2 final.

Giovani Dos Santos notched a pair of goals including the backbreaking tally 20 minutes into the second half.

Chris Wondolowski got the first half flurry going with an easy-money strike on a volley after a perfect backpost cross from Danny Hoesen in the 10th minute.

Saturday’s match was Hoesen’s best performance of the season, by far.

Los Angeles equalized nine minutes later when Joao Pedro took advantage of a sneaky ball between two defenders from Dos Santos. The Brazilian turned and struck the ball true to beat David Bingham.

It was the first sign of the San Jose nightmare that is the Mexican national.

The Galaxy took their first lead of the match in the 35th minute when Dos Santos finished a penalty kick earned after Kofi Sarkodie clothelined Bradley Diallo in the box.

But two minutes later, it was Hoesen getting off the proverbial schneid by notching his first goal as an Earthquake. It was a classy finish off a low cross inside the box from Tommy Thompson, who picked up his second assist of the season on the play.  

Disaster struck one minute before halftime though, when a diving Victor Bernardez deflected a Diallo cross after the defender found himself back in the San Jose 18. The ball beat a shocked Bingham.

San Jose came out aggressive in the second half and Los Angeles made them pay on the counterattack to put the game away. Romain Alessandrini raced down the left flank, took a look up and struck gold on a left-footed cross to Dos Santos on the back post that could not have been hand-placed any better. Dos Santos arrived perfectly to head the ball past Bingham.

The loss moved San Jose’s home record to 3-1-3.

Turning point: The final marker gave L.A. a two-goal win, but any momentum San Jose had after Hoesen equalized evaporated on the Bernardez own goal. Not only did the goal somewhat deflate the home team, but put San Jose in the position of aggressor – and it’s a position the Galaxy exploited to score the fourth goal.

San Jose’s Man of the Match: The pressure has been on Hoesen since the forward arrived on loan from the Netherlands. In 12 previous games, the man from Heerlen only had one assist to show for his efforts. On Saturday, Hoesen assisted on the first goal with a world-class cross and picked up his first goal of the season on an equally exquisite finish.

History watch: Wondolowski’s first half strike was his eighth goal against the Los Angeles side and 127th all-time in MLS. He is now just six behind Jaime Moreno, who sits third on the MLS’ all-time list.

Attendance: As expected, the San Jose Earthquakes announced a sell out for the marquee match on their schedule.

Up next: The Earthquakes head north to take on the Portland Timbers. The June 2nd matchup is scheduled for an 8 p.m. start. 

Earthquakes hand FC Dallas first loss of season, win 1-0


Earthquakes hand FC Dallas first loss of season, win 1-0


FRISCO, Texas -- Jahmir Hyka scored on a spectacular move in the 81st minute and the San Jose Earthquakes handed FC Dallas its first loss of the season, 1-0 on Saturday night.

Hyka took a pass from Marco Urena and touched the ball straight up over defender Matt Hedges as he raced by before putting the ball in off the post for his third goal.

David Bingham made three difficult saves for his fifth shutout, the 25th in his seven seasons with San Jose (5-4-4). The Earthquakes, who played Wednesday night, had just one win in their previous 12 road games and had been shutout six times and outscored by 13.

Hyka's goal also ended a string in which Chris Wondolowski had scored or assisted on the last seven Quakes goals.

Dallas (5-1-4) was unbeaten in its previous eight games with San Jose, outscoring the Quakes 12-4 with five clean sheets.

Dallas dominated most of the game with 62.3 percent possession and Jesse Gonzalez only made one save.