'Quakes tie Red Bulls in front of over 40,000 fans


'Quakes tie Red Bulls in front of over 40,000 fans

Nicholas RosanoCSNBayArea.com

STANFORD, Calif. While the announced crowd of 41,082 atStanford Stadium was almost unprecedented in Earthquakes history, fans werealso treated to an unprecedented sight on the field as the Earthquakes battledto a 2-2 draw with the New York Red Bulls. For the first time in 2011,head coach Frank Yallop was able to field what is arguably his first choiceattacking corps. With Chris Wondolowski back from U.S. national team duty, Yallowcould finally go with the combination of Wondolowski, Simon Dawkins, and StevenLenhart, who have been the nucleus of the Quakes offense this season.Whilethe draw did not fully showcase what the three have shown throughout theseason, the course of the match offered a glimpse of what could be in store inthe coming months. Lenhart managed to net the go-ahead goal, while Dawkins andWondolowski also looked dangerous, especially as the game wore on. Ilove playing with those guys, theyre great players, Wondolowski said ofDawkins and Lenhart, though he did acknowledge room for improvement. Ithought it was a little bit of a tight field and it took a little bit away fromour possession. I think we would have liked to connect a little bit morepasses. Wondolowski had a dangerous chance just before Lenhartsgoal, when he struck the post under pressure from his roommate with thenational team, Tim Ream. Bobby Burling played a great ball in and putme through and I was there and Tim Ream did a great job coming back,Wondolowski said. He clipped my back foot and I was going back post, andthats where they got out of it. Dawkins also looked particularlydangerous in the second half. The Englishman did well to utilize the spacecreated for him by Lenhart and take on the defense with his skillful runs anddribbling, setting up several dangerous opportunities for theEarthquakes.Hes a very good, smart player, sharp, quick. I thoughthe did a nice job tonight of linking, Yallop said. Once we got him the balland he had a little bit of space to move in, I thought he did great. Dawkinshimself was pleased with the play between himself and his teammates, though he acknowledgedthat the end result might affect the fans view of the game. At timeswe interchange well and obviously we didnt get the win, so people are notgoing to look at that. Still, we did well, he said. One of the biggest moments of the evening, though, came forSteven Lenhart, who put the Earthquakes ahead 2-1 in the 68th minutewith a diving header from a Steve Beitashour cross. Lenhart was involved in anacrimonious incident in last weekends game after tangling with Los AngelesGalaxy goalkeeper Josh Saunders, but was visibly happy following Saturdayevenings encounter.However, he gave a good deal of credit toBeitashour, who for the second time this season provided the assist to Lenhart.It was perfect, Lenhart said of Beitashours cross. He helps theteam, he works hard and is a good defender, but as he gets forward and getsmore comfortable, hes serving a good ball in. Im just trying to stay activein the box and get on the end of his crosses. Yallop was also pleasedwith his big forwards play, and pointed out that goalscoring was only onefacet of Lenharts game. I thought Lenhart played real well today. Not justthe call, but he held the ball up, was dangerous, he said. With thegrowing wealth of options up front providing for a more dynamic offense for theEarthquakes, the team will hope to see some winning displays in the comingweeks, with the team now riding a three match winless streak. For now, though,its simply a good feeling to have everyone back together on the samepage.For more Earthquakes, MLS and soccer musings, youcan follow Nick Rosano on Twitter @nicholasrosano

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


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


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


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


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.”