Quakes, Sporting score in same minute, draw

550572.jpg

Quakes, Sporting score in same minute, draw

BOX SCORE
SANTA CLARA -- Fans werent even back in their seats when the celebrations were cut short. Just seconds after Chris Wondolowski had given the Earthquakes what seemed to be a late winner in the 85th minute, Teal Bunbury struck immediately to once again prevent the Earthquakes from taking all three points. It just kind of sums everything up this year, when we need to get a win we cant do it, Earthquakes head coach Frank Yallop said after the game. Did we play well enough to win? Maybe, or probably, but its about doing the right things in the right boxes and its defending our box and being more ruthless in their box.

While the Earthquakes controlled proceedings for most of the first half, registering 15 shots and maintaining 60 possession, they never managed to trouble Jimmy Nielsen in the visitors goal. Some credit should go to the Kansas City defense, which blocked eight of the shots in questions, but even so, the Earthquakes had a number of looks at goal in which they couldnt find the frame. I think we could be a little bit sharper and execute better with our final ball, whether its a cross or a pass or the shot, we still need to do better on that and I think thats right now where were kind of lacking, Wondolowski said. After toiling through the second half, with Earthquakes goalkeeper Jon Busch coming up big on two occasions to keep the score at 0-0, the Earthquakes looked to have secured a hard-earned three points. Simon Dawkins switched the ball over to right back Steven Beitashour, who set up Wondolowski with an inch-perfect cross, the Earthquakes best marksman making no mistake on the one-time finish..Simon had a great switch and Steve drove the space and whipped in a great ball behind and even KC defender Aurelien Collin had a bead on it, I swept in behind, Wondolowski said of his finish. I didnt even really know a whole lot about it, I just finished my run and into the goal. However, the celebration would only last a matter of seconds. Immediately after the kickoff, C.J. Sapong beat three defenders and fed the ball to Teal Bunbury, who sped past the rest of the defense to set up a one-on-one with Busch. The U.S. international powered his shot home, leaving the Earthquakes stunned and angry..To give up a goal like that is really deflating, soft in every sense of the word, Earthquakes defender Bobby Burling said. It was one of those plays where maybe its, he got it, I got it, maybe he has it, I dont have it, I dont have it, I dont got it. and then next thing you know the ball comes squirting through. Saturdays game was the 13th in which the Earthquakes have taken the lead, yet it is the eighth where they have subsequently thrown away that lead to settle for a draw or loss. With five draws and three losses resulting from such a scenario, San Jose has dropped 19 points in total, which has been a key factor in the teams struggle to repeat 2010s playoff run. Additionally, six of those games have come in the last half of the season, a far cry from the series of gritty wins that propelled the team forward last year. When the team has needed points the most, the last four games, they have taken the lead three times, only to give it up, and collected three points out of an available 12. Good teams, teams that go to the playoffs and deep in playoffs, win that game 1-0. Plain and simple. And we did it last year, so this group can do it, Busch said.
While the Earthquakes are mathematically hanging on by a thread, only a minor miracle would get them into the postseason. Specifically, it would require the team to win all three of its remaining games and the host of teams ahead of them to drop a significant number of points. While the playoffs are for all purposes out of the question, a trip to second-from-bottom New England is on the docket next week, meaning the Earthquakes have a decent shot at three points. Even though it is unlikely to make a difference in the playoff race, it could present a perfect opportunity for the team to rediscover how to close out games.For more Earthquakes, MLS and world soccer chatter, you can follow Nick Rosano on Twitter: @nicholasrosano

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Quakes' 3-0 loss to Sounders

cristian-roldan-sounds-quakes-usatsi.jpg
USATSI

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Quakes' 3-0 loss to Sounders

BOX SCORE

What a difference a week makes.

The San Jose Earthquakes entered their two-game, coast-to-coast swing of road games in playoff position. 

But now, after a 5-1 loss to the Red Bulls in the middle of last week and on Sunday, a 3-0 loss to the Seattle Sounders, the Quakes are in seventh place in the Western Conference -- on the outside looking in. 

Here are five takeaways from defeat number nine on the season:

-- For the first 53 minutes there, it looked like San Jose had corrected what ailed them against the Red Bulls. They bent but did not break. 

But Christian Roldan opened the flood gates in the 54th minute, capitalizing on a defensive miscue and then it didn't take Seattle too much longer to put the game out of reach -- and make the Quakes look completely out of place. 

Roldan scored again in the 56th minute and Kelvin Leerdam, starting in his first game for the Sounders, scored nine minutes later. 

Roldan came inches away from his hat trick -- hitting the post in the 79th minute. 

-- Again, it's tough to criticize the play of one player, but in both Roldan goals -- that came within a minute of one another -- Andres Imperiale looked like the target of Seattle's attack -- he got caught flat footed on the first goal and on the second, the Argentinean was beat in the air. 

His defensive partner Victor Bernardez was victimized on that second goal too. 

It's probably not a coincidence then, that the Quakes signed Swiss defender Francois Affolter during the week. 

-- Speaking of Affolter, we've yet to see him at Avaya Stadium. And just like Jesse Fioranelli's other signing, little is known of the international player. Yet, at this point, with injuries and a deep run in the U.S. Open Cup tournament, the Quakes are in need of able bodies. 

Affolter, a center back, does have five international caps and over 200 caps in the Swiss Super League and German Bundesliga. 

-- After losing to New York last week, the Quakes moved below the magic red line in the Western Conference. Sunday's loss to the Sounders is critical -- with 21 games played, the Sounders not only creeped ahead of the Quakes, but are now four points clear of their Western Conference rival for that sixth (and last) playoff spot.  

Over a two-match stretch, the Quakes went from fifth and in the playoffs to seventh and knowing the latter part of the season (13 games) will be an uphill climb. 

-- San Jose got another look at Vako. The midfielder scored against the Red Bulls but, after checking in during minute 62, Vako did not figure into the attack. 

And, in the interest of the aforementioned able bodies, it was positive to see Quincy Amarikwa put in another shift ... and almost score in the 83rd minute.

Altidore, Dempsey lead US past Costa Rica, into Gold Cup final at Levi's

jozy-altidore-usa-costarica-ap.jpg
AP

Altidore, Dempsey lead US past Costa Rica, into Gold Cup final at Levi's

BOX SCORE

ARLINGTON, Texas — Clint Dempsey fed Jozy Altidore for the go-ahead goal, then scored on a free kick to match Landon Donovan’s American record with his 57th international goal and lead the United States over Costa Rica 2-0 Saturday night and into the CONCACAF Gold Cup championship game.

Playing in his home state of Texas, the 34-year-old Dempsey entered in the 66th minute and made a perfectly timed through pass six minutes later that allowed Altidore to break in alone and beat Patrick Pemberton with a left-footed shot from 10 yards.

Dempsey doubled the lead in the 82nd minute with a 27-yard shot that went around a four-man defensive wall and got past Pemberton on two bounces.

“I saw the keeper cheating a little bit, and it went in,” Dempsey said.

Dempsey has 136 international appearances, trailing only Cobi Jones (164) and Donovan (157) among American players. The assist was his 20th for the national team.

“Coming back from two heart procedures, being able to still play at this level,” Dempsey said in his Texas twang, “living a dream. So I’m happy.”

Trying for their sixth Gold Cup title and first since 2013, the Americans play Mexico or Jamaica in the final on Wednesday at Santa Clara, California.

The U.S. improved to 8-0-5 since Bruce Arena replaced Jurgen Klinsmann in November and returned for a second stint as national team coach. Arena can become the first coach to win three Gold Cup titles following championships in 2002 and 2005.

Tim Howard got his second straight shutout, making key saves on Marco Urena in the 37th and 71st minutes.

After the second save, Dempsey took a pass from Darlington Nagbe in the center circle, made a cut, and took three touches as he sprinted toward goal. Altidore one-timed a shot for his first national team goal since September and ripped off his No. 27 jersey in a wild celebration, earning a yellow card.

Dempsey’s goal sealed the win, putting the U.S. back in the championship after a shocking semifinal loss to Jamaica two years ago. He was playing for the first time in AT&T Stadium, the $1.2 billion home stadium of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys that is about 180 miles from his hometown of Nacogdoches.

“Congratulations, Clint,” Donovan said while working on the Fox telecast of the game. “Feel free to stop now, we’ll share it together.”

After starting in Wednesday’s quarterfinal win over El Salvador, Dempsey moved to a reserve role against the Ticos. While the U.S. inserted five new starters in a roster rotation, Costa Rica went with the same 11 players who started in Wednesday’s win against Panama.

Costa Rica routed the U.S. 4-0 at home in a World Cup qualifier in November, the final game before Klinsmann was fired and Arena was brought back. And up ahead is another matchup, a qualifier on Sept. 1 at Harrison, New Jersey.

Morris, one of the new starters, hit a post just 11 seconds in.

Just before kickoff, El Salvador defender Henry Romero was suspended for his nation’s next six competitive matches and midfielder Darwin Ceren for the next three, those penalties coming three days after Romero bit Altidore and Ceren bit Omar Gonzalez during the quarterfinal. The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football said the discipline was issued by the Gold Cup disciplinary committee for “anti-sporting behavior.”