Rosano: Earthquakes finally feeling comfortable at home


Rosano: Earthquakes finally feeling comfortable at home

June 5, 2011


SANTA CLARA -- The San Jose Earthquakesare currently one of the hottest teams in MLS. Despite the constant changes inpersonnel and formation, one oft-overlooked factor in the hot streak is indeedone of the oldest advantages in sports: home field advantage. After a stumbling start to the season that saw theEarthquakes pick up just two out of an available twelve points at home, theteam has gone on to post three straight home wins, the latest coming with a 2-0win on Saturday evening over the Houston Dynamo. Sandwiched around two draws onthe road, the Earthquakes can now boast a five-game unbeaten streak in MLSplay, extending back to a 1-1 draw at Vancouveron May 11.I like to think were finding a way to get things done athome, explained Earthquakes head coach Frank Yallop. We look like we feel confident in front of our fans, feelconfident on the field that were playing on and feel confident that we, nomatter what happens in a game, I dont think we really get too down now, wejust get on with it. The Earthquakes developed a reputation as a fearsomeopponent on the road in the 2010 season, with late season road wins providingthem the necessary points to reach the playoffs despite a few stumbles at BuckShaw Stadium. Another win in New York saw theEarthquakes through to the Eastern Conference final, but they were unable tofind their away day mojo, falling 1-0 at Colorado.
RECAP: Lenhart, Dawkins lift Earthquakes past Dynamo
Since a win at Dallas in thesecond game of the season, however, the Earthquakes have found themselvesunable to collect three points on the road, excepting a 1-0 overtime win in aU.S. Open Cup qualifier at Portland.With the team sinking down the standings early on, though, they have stepped uptheir game at Buck Shaw.Since 2008, where we went on maybe a seven game unbeatenstreak, I think were starting to get our footing here at home andunderstanding how we want to go about our games here, explained Earthquakesdefender Jason Hernandez. I think we had a good game plan, we got intohalftime, made some adjustments, and thats a credit to the coaching staff andcredit to the players to step up and play and really answer the call. An intriguing addendum to the teams recent run of form isthat in their last four MLS games, all nine of the teams goals have come afterhalftime. While the Earthquakes have often struggled in the first half of thesegames, they have excelled at breaking down their opponents in the second half. We didnt panic. Weve actually done that for the pastthree home games that weve won, not played particularly well first half,explained Yallop. Ive not changed too much at halftime. They the playershave figured it out and got out and made the difference in the second half. Hernandez agreed that it was largely incumbent on theplayers to help make the necessary adjustments at halftime. I think it was important for us to come in at halftime andregroup and understand exactly what were trying to do, he explained. I thinkthe second half we came out with a lot more energy, we picked up the tempo andwe were able to get the goal we were looking for. We were fortunate enough tohold them off and get the second one, and thats really the sign of a goodteam. While the players mapped out their adjustments for thesecond half, Yallops task involved motivating Lenhart, the man who would go onto net the game-winning goal. I just tried to focus him at halftime, Yallop explained.I said, Just relax and do your thing. You played well for the last 15 minutesof the first half, continue that and youll get your goal. Lenhart himself was more ambivalent on the subject, saying,I try to work hard, not focus on my nerves, things that I dont need to worryabout. Whether I did that or not in the second half, it was good to get agoal. Whatever did the trick, it has the Earthquakes flying highat home. While there is still plenty of work to be done for the team to climbout of the bottom half of the standings and plenty of time left in the season,the Earthquakes will hope to add a strong home record to their formula forsuccess.For more Earthquakes, MLS and soccer musings, youcan follow Nick Rosano on Twitter: @nicholasrosano

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Quakes' lopsided loss to Red Bulls


Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Quakes' lopsided loss to Red Bulls


The San Jose Earthquakes had one big thing going for them when they took on the New York Red Bulls Wednesday evening — they were on 10 days rest having last played a truly competitive match on July 10 in U.S. Open Cup action.

Unfortunately for the Quakes, they failed to take advantage of that in losing to the Red Bulls 5-1 — definitely not the return to the pitch they were hoping for.  

Here are five takeaways from a Wednesday evening, lopsided loss to NYR. 

— The Quakes had no answer for Sacha Kljestan. The Red Bulls midfielder, who frequented the U.S. Men’s National Team roster at one point, was not called to international duty for the ongoing FIFA Gold Cup and San Jose paid the price for that — the man finessed the Quakes to death on Wednesday evening, factoring in three New York goals with his use of spacing in the Red Bulls midfield. 

— There were a couple of big debuts for San Jose. First, newly signed designated player Valeri Qazaishvili — who the MLS world is calling Vako — made his league debut when in he came as a substitute for Danny Hoesen at halftime. The Georgian native showed flashes with his early touch, but never really factored in the game until the 88th minute when he scored the Quakes’ lone goal on a volley tap courtesy of a nifty Jahmir Hyka cross. It’s a nice debut on the scoresheet, but San Jose is expecting DP-esque things from the Georgian. 

— And second, welcome back, Quincy Amarikwa. The forward has been sidelined since September of 2016 when he suffered ACL and LCL damage that required surgery. Amarikwa has been documenting his recovery on social media and surprised Quakes fans when he make his on-pitch return last week in a friendly against Germany’s Eintracht Frankfurt. On Wednesday, he made his official return in the 76th minute. Amarikwa has nine goals and seven assists in 41 career appearances with the Quakes. 

— It definitely wasn’t the homecoming head coach Chris Leitch was hoping for. Leitch played for five seasons over with the New York club. He made 101 appearances for the Metrostars/Red Bulls, assisting on five goals during his career. 

He’s now 0-1-0 as an opposing head coach. 

— It’s unfair to nitpick on a single defensive effort, given that soccer is a team sport, but the Red Bulls attacked center back Andres Imperiale often Wednesday afternoon — and more often than not, they were rewarded with a scoring opportunity. It’s the second straight poor showing on the road for the Quakes defense as a whole after surrendering a four-spot to Atlanta United FC on Independence Day.

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Quakes' historic US Open Cup win over Galaxy

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Quakes' historic US Open Cup win over Galaxy

It was a historic night over at Avaya Stadium. 

For the first time in U.S. Open Cup history, the San Jose Earthquakes have beaten their bitter rivals, the Los Angeles Galaxy -- 3-2. 

The win also propels the Quakes to just their second appearance in the tournament's semifinals. 

Chris Wondolowski scored a brace to lead the way while Danny Hoesen added the insurance. 

Here are a handful of things to know about Monday's win over the Galaxy. 

-- The sixth time was the charm as the Quakes had lost five previous meetings against their rivals. But the night began with some doubts when Jelle Van Damme scored in just the third minute. His header was goal No. 2 in the last two games against the Quakes.

But Wondolowski equalized courtesy of Tommy Thompson in the 16th minute and then put the San Jose up for good six minutes in the second half -- once again, thanks to Thompson. 

Hoesen scored a breakaway goal about ten minutes later.  

-- If you tried to find Wondolowski on the pitch using his regular number, you were unsuccessful. 

Wondolowski was sporting No. 38 Monday night in honor of Matheus Silva, the Quakes midfielder playing for Reno 1868 on loan who suffered swimming accident July 4 in Lake Tahoe. 

Silva was in a coma until July 6. 

Fittingly, the forward scored twice. Wondolowski's goal is the sixth of his U.S. Open Cup career. He's now tied for the all-time lead in Earthquakes history.  

-- Pregame, the Quakes introduced their latest acquisition, Designated Player Valeri ‘Vako’ Qazaishvili, to the press. 

Qazaishvili began his career in his native Georgia with FC Saburtalo in 2010, spending time on loan with Metalurgi Rustavi and Sioni Bulnisi. 

He then moved on to Vitesse in August of 2011 at just 18 years old, tallying one goal in four appearances for the first team in his debut season.

-- Speaking of Georgia, the Bay Area now boasts two of the nation's very best athletes. Zaza Pachulia, the starting center of the NBA Champion Golden State Warriors, was in attendance MOnday night. 

The center kicked the ceremonial first goal. 

He also swapped jerseys with Vako -- as per usual in soccer circles. No word on Pachulia's footy game. 

-- The Quakes have already equaled their best ever finish in Cup history. They'll now try to surpass that when they face either Sporting Kansas City of FC Dallas -- who play Tuesday night.