Recapping the event of the summer

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Recapping the event of the summer

It was a storybook day for the San Jose Earthquakesorganization.50,000 fans The largest crowd in team history for a non-doubleheader where the main draw was the other game. The Quakes scored an early goal thanksto Marvelous Marvin Chavez and Steven Lenhart. The crowd got to see Beckhambe Beckham and Landon Donovan did what he does best, capitalizing on otherpeoples mistakes. Best of all though, the crowd got to see why Goonies neversay die!" Trailing by 2 goals, on national TV and a sold out stadium, the Quakesshowed their depth and resiliency and put on a great show. As the script would have it, the game-winnercame off the foot, or should I say the bottom of the foot, of their biggeststar, Chris Wondolowski. It iseverything the team could have hoped for.REWIND: Wondo's winner gives Quakes comeback win over Galaxy
In previous years, there was usually disappointment onhighly anticipated matches, whether it be an opening night or an opportunity toplay before a big crowd. This team has proven again that it is better thanthose teams and that they stick together when things look bleak.When you score a goal for the Quakes, you can be surethat you will be on the receiving end of a Victor Bernardez bear hug. That was one of the reasons it was so greatto see him score his first goal as an Earthquake just before the end of thehalf. His tiny countryman Marvin Chavezwas the first to get to him and jumped up on him with the joy of a little kid.It was a huge goal, bringing the Quakes to within one before the intermission.Jason Hernandez had a rough go in the first half. He knocked in an own goal for Galaxys secondgoal on a play where the defense got beat on some terrific passing and ballmovement. Hernandez played a key part inthe Galaxys third goal as well. After ascramble in front of the net, goal keeper John Busch was screaming forHernandez to take the ball out to the left side. Hernandez thought he was screaming back. He turned and passed back to Busch unawareRobby Keane was in between the two of them sitting on the doorstep of thegoal. Two touches later the ball was inthe back of the net and the score was 3-1 Galaxy. To his credit, Hernandez wasable to shake this off and played a key role in holding Galaxy scoreless therest of the way.The first half had 7 minutes of extra time due to manystoppages for injuries. The first wasfor goal keeper John Buschs eye. Theformer ice hockey player from upstate New York looked the part after catching an elbow,probably from his own teammate while aggressively defending a corner. Hefinished the half with a black eye that swelled quickly and visibly. Can anyonesay, Cut me Mick! The injury to Busch prompted Frank Yallop to bring inDavid Bingham for the second half. Thesecond year player out of Calplayed very well. His height and lengthcame in handy on more than one occasion.The first was when he dove to smother a rolling cross through the goalarea and the next was in defending a shot off an oncoming David Beckham. Later, Justin Morrow provided some goal linesupport and kept the Galaxy off the scoreboard in the second half.Steven Beitashour delivered a terrific ball to StevenLenharts heal that set up Sam Cronins first goal of the season. DefensivelyBeitashour showed why being a defender is so challenging. You can be playing great soccer for anextended amount of time, then over run a challenge and it frees up a player toget an open shot on goal and you have a bad game. This happened twice onSaturday and I cant recall seeing it happen to him since early in his rookieyear.Sam Cronin got his first goal of the season and itignited the crowd. In spite of it being only his second goal in 90 plus MLSmatches he knew how to celebrate it with a flying body bump with StevenLenhart. Here is another player whose value does not always show up on thescore card, but definitely shows up on the scoreboard.

Dempsey hat trick lifts US over Honduras in statement win

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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

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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.