Quakes tie Sounders 2-2 on Stephenson's goal

413283.jpg

Quakes tie Sounders 2-2 on Stephenson's goal

April 2, 2011EARTHQUAKES PAGE

SANTA CLARA Khari Stephenson came on at the half and powered home a blistering 30-yard shot in the 52nd minute to give San Jose a 2-2 tie against visiting Seattle on Saturday.Seattle goalkeeper Kasey Keller got his left hand to Stephensons rocket but couldnt stop it from zipping into the upper 90.The still-winless Sounders (0-2-2) were missing star forward Fredy Montero, who did not make trip due to his injured right wrist, which required surgery earlier this week after being initially hurt on March 18.Nevertheless, Seattle earned a rugged road point behind first-half goals from Brad Evans and O'Brian White.New Quakes midfielder Dawkins, on loan from Tottenham Hotspur, opened his MLS account with a goal in the 32nd minute for San Jose (1-1-1). Seattle nearly broke through in the third minute, when the Quakes couldnt adequately clear an attack from the left-wing endline by Steve Zakuani. Osvaldo Alonso, who cycled the ball back in from the same left wing, found Zakuani at the near post, but San Jose goalkeeper Jon Busch dropped down to shunt the attempt just wide.The Sounders continued to crash the near post and it paid off in the 17th minute, when Mauro Rosales, who took Montero's spot in the lineup, shook free of Sam Cronin on the dribble, then slotted a low feed to Evans. Evans then beat Chris Leitch to the ball and rang it home from point-blank range.Wondolowski, coming off a brace in Dallas last week, nearly had his 13th consecutive regular-season goal for San Jose in the ninth minute when he redirected a looping Ramiro Corrales lead pass and broke free for a 16-yard shot dead center to the goal. Keller did very well to craft a left-handed reaction save and knock the drive wide.But Keller could do nothing in the 32nd minute, when Bobby Convey threaded a great pass through three defenders. Dawkins raced to it and, from 12 yards out, placed a tightly-cut left-footed shot just beyond Kellers reach, tucking it neatly inside the far post. It was San Joses first non-Wondolowski goal in regular-season play since Sept. 5.Seattle responded 10 minutes later to forge back ahead. Zakuani spooned a gently floating cross into the six-yard box for White, who fended off Jason Hernandez and struck a diving header that left Busch helpless.Keller made another critical one-on-one stop from 10 yards to preserve the lead when he stoned Joey Gjertsen, set free by a Leitch pass, in first-half stoppage time.Quakes defender Ike Opara, who entered the game in the 70th minute, almost made game-winning plays on both sides of the ball. His 74th-minute header off a corner kick beat Keller but slid just wide.Then, on defense in the 81st, Oparas attempt at a clearing header came up quite short, landing at the feet of Seattles Nate Jaqua. But Opara was able to make a sliding deflection on Jaquas ensuing 10-yard shot.San Jose next host Toronto FC on April 9 at 10:30 pm ET, while Seattle next head back home to host the Chicago Fire that same day at 4 pm ET.
Courtesy San Jose Earthquakes media services

Dempsey hat trick lifts US over Honduras in statement win

dempsey-usa.jpg
AP

Dempsey hat trick lifts US over Honduras in statement win

BOX SCORE

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

pulisic-christian-us.jpg
USATSI

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.