Rosano: Despite unbeaten streak, Quakes can improve


Rosano: Despite unbeaten streak, Quakes can improve


Nick Rosano

SAN JOSE -- The San JoseEarthquakes might be on their best run of results since 2008, but ask them, andtheyll say they can play even better. In each of his past three postgame pressconferences after home wins, head coach Frank Yallop has expressed his desirefor even better play, especially in terms of moving the ball around the field.Weve actually done that for the past three home games thatweve won, not played particularly well in the first half, Yallop said afterlast Saturdays 2-0 win over the Houston Dynamo. Despite winning their last three home games and tying two onthe road, the Earthquakes have managed to score only one goal in the firsthalf, Chris Wondolowskis opener in a 1-1 draw with Vancouver on May 11. When the Earthquakestake to the field on the road at D.C. United on Saturday evening, it will havebeen exactly a month since the teams last first-half goal. However, the Earthquakes are keenly aware of this fact, andthis week they have looked to continue improving their passing game to augmentthe positive signs the team has shown in the past few weeks. We worked on it this week, Yallop said. I didnt think weplayed particularly well on Saturday. It wasnt a great performance of playingsoccer, but what we did show is fight, scrap, and good finishes. We just talked about moving it quicker and getting it offour feet, goalkeeper Jon Busch said. One and two touch, not standing on theball and not letting it die, just keep it moving, and I think weve done wellwith that. Some of the struggle to move the ball can be attributed tothe cautious nature of the teams visiting Buck Shaw, who like to keep menbehind the ball, coupled with the Earthquakes preference to play a tight,defensively sound first half. Some teams come in here, not necessarily trying to go afterus, but being satisfied with a point and getting a tie, defender JasonHernandez said after the win over Houston. Weve talked about being really tight in the first half ofevery game or the first 20 minutes, not give them a goal, Yallop added. Ithink weve really settled into that and maybe not played better from that, butits worked. While some teams struggle to create chances because they seeso little of the ball, winning possession has not necessarily been the issuefor the Earthquakes. The midfield duo of Sam Cronin and Brad Ring has done verywell at shutting down opponents offenses and winning the ball, and are nowlooking to continue improving the offensive side of their game. Were always trying to work on ball movement, Cronin said.Defensively, the pressure mentality is the basis for our game, but we thinkwere capable of being a team that moves the ball and knocks the ball aroundwell, makes the other team work. Fans caught a glimpse of this quick movement in the dyingminutes of Saturdays win, when Cronin played a good give and go with SimonDawkins, who collected Cronins pass to score on a breakaway. With many of theteams goals coming from crosses out wide, Cronins defense-splitting verticalball was a sign that the team, even though it has found a successful formula,is continuing to look for new ways to break down opponents. Im always working on all aspects of my game and the moretimes I see that final pass and slot people through thats what I need to bedoing, Cronin said. With Cronin and Ring starting to form a good understandingin the center of the park and looking to sharpen their offensive talents,better passing soccer wont be far off for the Earthquakes. Each opponent willpresent different tests, but now, the Earthquakes could start looking to forcetheir opponent to adapt to their style, a hallmark of a strong team andpossible sign of good things to come.For more Earthquakes, MLS and soccer musings, youcan follow Nick Rosano on Twitter: @nicholasrosano

Earthquakes announce roster moves ahead of 2017 season


Earthquakes announce roster moves ahead of 2017 season

The San Jose Earthquakes announced today that the club has exercised 2017 contract options on six players: goalkeeper David Bingham, defenders Victor Bernardez, Kip Colvey and Andres Imperiale, and midfielders Fatai Alashe and Matheus Silva.

The Earthquakes will not exercise options on nine players, including goalkeeper Bryan Meredith, defender Clarence Goodson, midfielders Marc Pelosi and Tommy Thompson, and forwards Chad Barrett, Henok Goitom, Innocent, Steven Lenhart and Mark Sherrod.

In addition, the following players are under contract for the 2017 season: goalkeeper Andrew Tarbell, defender Shaun Francis, midfielders Cordell Cato, Darwin Ceren, Simon Dawkins, Anibal Godoy and Shea Salinas, and forwards Quincy Amarikwa and Chris Wondolowski.

Stage One of the Re-Entry Draft will take place on Friday, Dec. 16 at 12 p.m. PT and Stage Two of the Re-Entry Draft will take place on Thursday, Dec. 22 at 12 p.m. PT. The two drafts will take place via teleconference with all 22 clubs represented. MLS will release the results following each of the calls. Both of the Re-Entry Drafts will be conducted in the same order as the traditional Waiver Draft.

San Jose Earthquakes media services

Plane carrying a Brazilian soccer team crashes in Colombia; 75 dead


Plane carrying a Brazilian soccer team crashes in Colombia; 75 dead

LA UNION, Colombia -- A chartered plane carrying a Brazilian soccer team to the biggest match of its history crashed into a Colombian hillside and broke into pieces, killing 75 people and leaving six survivors, Colombian officials said Tuesday.

The British Aerospace 146 short-haul plane, operated by a charter airline with roots in Venezuela, declared an emergency and lost radar contact just before 10 p.m. Monday (0300 GMT Tuesday) because of an electrical failure, aviation authorities said.

The aircraft, which had departed from Santa Cruz, Bolivia, was carrying the up and coming Chapecoense soccer team from southern Brazil for Wednesday's first leg of a two-game Copa Sudamericana final against Atletico Nacional of Medellin - the continent's second-most-important championship.

"What was supposed to be a celebration has turned into a tragedy," Medellin Mayor Federico Gutierrez said from the search and rescue command center.

The club said in a brief statement on its Facebook page, "May God accompany our athletes, officials, journalists and other guests traveling with our delegation."

Expressions of grief poured in from all over the soccer world. South America's federation canceled all scheduled matches in a show of solidarity, Real Madrid's squad interrupted its training for a minute of silence and Argentina legend Diego Maradona sent his condolences to the victims' families over Facebook.

Rescuers working through the night were initially heartened after pulling three passengers alive from the wreckage. But as the hours passed, heavy rainfall and low visibility grounded helicopters and slowed efforts to reach the crash site.

At daybreak, dozens of bodies were quickly collected into white bags while rescuers scavenged through pieces of the plane's fuselage strewn across the muddy mountainside.

Images broadcast on local television showed three passengers arriving to a local hospital in ambulances on stretchers and covered in blankets connected to an IV. Among the survivors was Chapecoense defender Alan Ruschel, who doctors said suffered spinal injuries.

Two goalkeepers, Danilo and Jackson Follmann, as well as a journalist traveling with the team and a Bolivian flight attendant, were found alive in the wreckage. But Danilo was later reported as dead, and authorities said another defender, Helio Zampier, had survived amid a confusion of sometimes conflicting early reports.

The aircraft is owned by LaMia, a company with roots in Venezuela and that has a close relationship with several premier South American squads.

Argentina's state-run news agency said the plane involved in the crash had transported Barcelona striker Lionel Messi and the national team this month from Brazil to Colombia between World Cup qualifier matches. The airliner also reportedly transported Venezuela's national squad and several top teams from Bolivia in the past.

LaMia's website, which is no longer online, said it operated three 146 Avro short-haul jets made by British Aerospace and with a maximum range of around 2,965 kilometers (1,600 nautical miles) - about the same as the distance between Santa Cruz and Medellin, the route it was flying when it went down.

Alfredo Bocanegra, the head of Colombia's aviation authority, said initial reports suggest the aircraft was suffering electrical problems although investigators were also looking into an account from one of the survivors that the plane had run out of fuel about five minutes from its expected landing at Jose Maria Cordova airport outside Medellin.

Bolivia's civil aviation agency said the aircraft picked up the Brazilian team in Santa Cruz, where players had arrived earlier in the day on a commercial flight from Sao Paulo, Brazil. Spokesman Cesar Torrico said that the plane underwent an inspection before departing for Colombia and reported no problems.

British Aerospace, which is now known as BAE Systems, says that the first 146-model plane took off in 1981 and that just under 400 were built in total in the U.K. through 2003. It says around 220 of are still in service in a variety of roles, including aerial firefighting and overnight freight services.

A video published on the team's Facebook page showed the team readying for a flight earlier Monday in Sao Paulo's Guarulhos international airport. Photos of team members in the cockpit and posing in front of the plane ahead of departure quickly spread across social media.

The team, from the small city of Chapeco, was in the middle of a fairy tale season. It joined Brazil's first division in 2014 for the first time since the 1970s and made it last week to the Copa Sudamericana finals - the equivalent of the UEFA Europa League tournament - after defeating two of Argentina's fiercest squads, San Lorenzo and Independiente, as well as Colombia's Junior.

"This morning I said goodbye to them and they told me they were going after the dream, turning that dream into reality," Chapecoense board member told TV Globo. "The dream was over early this morning."

The team is so modest that tournament organizers ruled that its 22,000-seat arena was too small to host the final match, which was moved to a stadium 300 miles (480 kilometers) to the north in the city of Curitiba.

"This is unbelievable, I am walking on the grass of the stadium and I feel like I am floating," Andrei Copetti told the AP. "No one understands how a story that was so amazing could suffer such a devastating reversal. For many people here reality has still not struck."