Quakes waste man advantage, tie Galaxy 0-0


Quakes waste man advantage, tie Galaxy 0-0


SANTA CLARA Fans can usually expect rivalry gamesto have a little bit of something extra, but Saturday afternoons clash betweenthe Earthquakes and Los Angeles Galaxy had plenty more in terms of drama, butnot so much in terms of goals. Despite playing a man up for the whole secondhalf with the Galaxy fielding an outfield player in goal, the Earthquakes werefrustrated with their inability to break down their visitors and ended upsettling for a 0-0 draw.

After an opening flurry that saw Simon Dawkins hit the postand the Earthquakes end up with a series of point blank shots that were denied,the team could not find a way through a resolute Los Angeles defense. Nonetheless, theEarthquakes were largely effective in denying Los Angeles space and continuing to pressurethe Galaxys back line. I thought we played probably the best weve played firsthalf, not all season, but for a long time, Yallop said. We played reallywell, had our chances to score, didnt quite put it in the net. Although those in the stadium wouldnt realize it at thetime, the injury of Galaxy goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts would help set up one ofthe more bizarre situations MLS has seen this season. Ricketts collided withfellow Jamaican national Khari Stephenson going up for a ball in the box in the21st minute and was replaced by backup goalkeeper Josh Saunders.The proceedings continued without incident until the 43rdminute, until a clash between Earthquakes striker Steven Lenhart and Saundersleft the Galaxy down a man and without a goalkeeper. Lenhart pressured Saundersas he collected a routine ball out of the area, but then attempted to head theball out of Saunders hands, which would eventually result in a yellow cardfrom referee Juan Guzman. Saunders picked the ball up and retaliated with ablow to Lenharts face, resulting in a red card for Saunders.Lenhart refused to talk about the incident initially, thoughhe did say there was contact between him and Saunders, Yeah, he caught me.With Ricketts injury, the Galaxy were left without agoalkeeper, forcing Galaxy coach Bruce Arena to utilize midfielder Mike Mageeas makeshift goalkeeper. Despite using a player with little to no experience ingoal and playing a man down, Los Angeles was able to hold firm in the back, largelyprotecting Magee from any serious work.Their game plan in the second half worked and ours didntreally, Yallop explained.We tried to get shots off. For some reason it was a bitsticky this afternoon, it wasnt an easy task to get a shot in the middle ofgoal because I thought the box of four LA had in the middle did a good job ofblocking everything and making it difficult.Busch, though he lamented the teams ability to move theball effectively enough, also saw the game as evidence for the Galaxys successso far in 2011, with the team comfortably positioned on the top of the WesternConference.Credit to LA, thats why theyre top of the table. Thatswhy theyre successful defensively, they get in their blocks and theyre hardto break down, Busch said.Despite the Galaxys defensive resilience, Lenhart did findhimself through on goal in the dying minutes of the game. However, Magee gotdown well to turn his effort around the post, the only serious test he facedapart from a few softly struck long range efforts.I shouldve done better, I shouldve scored, admittedLenhart, after the game. I tried to go back across the goal, I shouldve putit near post. While the end result was certainly not the one the team orfans expected, given the circumstances of the second half, Yallop saw littlecause for concern.You can work on things and the guys are kind of just goingto put this one away, look forward to next weekend.For more Earthquakes, MLS and soccer musings, youcan follow Nick Rosano on Twitter: @nicholasrosano

Road woes continue, Quakes fall to Dynamo


Road woes continue, Quakes fall to Dynamo


HOUSTON  — Alberth Elis and Vicente Sanchez each had a goal and an assist, and the Houston Dynamo blanked the San Jose Earthquakes 3-0 on Saturday night.

Houston (10-7-7) joined Seattle and Sporting Kansas City at the top of the Western Conference standings by improving to 9-0-3 at home.

Elis got his head on a corner kick by Boniek García to open the scoring with his seventh goal in the 21st minute. It was the Dynamos' league-leading 17th goal off a set piece.

Elis helped ice the game in the 86th minute with a nifty touch to get around a defender before Sanchez beat his defender and the goalkeeper to the centering pass for his first goal.

Sanchez gathered a loose ball just before it crossed the end line and centered it to Mauro Manotas for his eighth goal in stoppage time.

Tyler Deric had three saves for his fourth shutout.

San Jose (9-10-5) has lost five straight on the road and remains one point up on Vancouver for the final playoff spot.

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Quakes' 2-1 win over Columbus


Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Quakes' 2-1 win over Columbus


It appears that stretches at Avaya Stadium for the San Jose Earthquakes are showing up on the schedule at just the right times. 

Not too long ago, the Quakes were reeling after a miserable stretch of soccer on the road. But now, after two straight wins at Avaya -- the latest a 2-1 victory over Columbus Crew SC on Saturday -- San Jose is once again knocking on MLS' playoff door. 

Marco Ureña scored in the 42nd minute and Chris Wondolowski added the eventual game-winner in the 56th. 

It's going to make for a nail-biting latter part of the season for sure in the super tight Western Conference. But for now celebrate with these five takeaways from the Earthquakes' ninth win of the season. 

-- Don't look now, but the win on Saturday means the Quakes have already surpassed their total from last year. The victory jumps their point total to 32, good for fifth in the Western Conference as of this article's publication. Dallas' loss and more importantly Vancouver's draw were huge results for San Jose as the season turns to the scoreboard-watching phase with eight teams jockeying for six playoff spots. 

-- Have a game, Tommy Thompson. Columbus controlled the first 20-25 minutes but it was around that time that the midfielder began to put his stamp on the match -- much to the appreciation of his San Jose teammates. He gave Columbus fits purely with his work rate and along with his assist, he came within inches of his second goal of the season. It was undoubtedly one of Thompson's most complete matches. Not only did he facilitate Wondolowski's goal, but defensively, Thompson was a visible and noticeable force. One has to wonder if he's turned the corner with that aspect of the game -- it was his defense that many speculated was keeping him out of the lineup during Dominic Kinnear's time as the head coach. 

-- Marco Ureña scored his third goal of the season and his first since a 2-1 win over Real Salt Lake on June 24. Ureña was a mainstay in Kinnear's lineup and hasn't really gotten the opportunity to earn the trust of new head coach Chris Leitch -- with a lot of his time spent on international duty since the Leitch was hired. Keep an eye out on that relationship. 

And, it's also time to acknowledge another round number for Wondolowski. With his goal in the 56th minute, the forward has hit the 130 career goals mark -- 123 of those have come since 2010. 

Wondolowski is still fourth on the all-time list but now he's only three behind Jaime Moreno and four behind Jeff Cunningham. 

-- That's now back-to-back impressive performances for David Bingham. And that has to feel super good for the former Cal keeper considering the defensive disaster that was San Jose's most recent road trip. 

-- After years of research and MLS flirting with the idea, Video Replay is here. And like most new things that are introduced into a sport rich in tradition, there is plenty of chatter -- for and against the change -- floating around. 

There will be four main areas of focus for MLS' new VAR: goals, penalty calls, direct red-card incidents and cases of mistaken identity (when it relates to yellow and red cards). 

On Saturday, the system was not truly tested except for the couple of minutes it took to analyze Adam Jahn's goal for Columbus.