Rosano: Lenhart, Dawkins guiding Earthquakes


Rosano: Lenhart, Dawkins guiding Earthquakes

June 12, 2001


Nicholas Rosano

The unsung hero of so many of the San Jose Earthquakes games over the past month and a half stepped into the spotlight on Saturday evening in the nations capital. Steven Lenhart buried a hat trick to lead the Earthquakes to a convincing 4-2 win over D.C. United and underscored the depth of attacking players head coach Frank Yallop has at his disposal. The barrage of goals is a particularly uplifting moment for Lenhart considering his struggles off the field at the beginning of the season. In addition to missing the first five games of the season through injury, Lenhart also had to deal with the death of his father. Since his return, however, Lenhart has been an important part of the Earthquakes attack, and with his three goals and assist has now tallied four goals and three assists in his last five games. Theres a lot thats been going on in my life. I think more than anything, its just a good release for me to play, Lenhart explained. Yallop was also full of praised for the burly striker, commenting, (Im) very, very happy for Steve. Hes been though a lot this year with his family and moving from Columbus. He looked really good tonight, for sure.
RECAP: Earthquakes, Lenhart topple D.C. United, 4-2
However, Lenhart indicated that soccer-wise, not much had changed in his game since he moved from the Columbus Crew to San Jose, or even since he was playing college soccer at Azusa Pacific, a small NAIA program. Ive been doing the same things ever since I began playing soccer, he explained. Sometimes you get more goals than not. Tonight was just one of those nights. Im feeling confident and ready to help the team more. San Joses English midfielder Simon Dawkins is another player who has had to deal with his own set of struggles. In addition to the challenges presented by adapting to life in a new country, Dawkins also missed eight weeks of play after a bilateral fasciotomy. He first returned to score off the bench last weekend against Houston before netting his second goal in as many games minutes after entering the game in Washington. It feels great to score, Dawkins said. Any goal you score is great. It was an important one as well to put us 3-2 up, so it really got us going and then the fourth goal we scored really topped the game off. The flood of goals will come as a great relief to those fans who worried about the Earthquakes offensive output without 2010 MLS scoring champion Chris Wondolowski, who is on duty with the U.S. national team. In fact, in 2010, no other player besides Wondolowski scored three goals, but tonights goals gave both Dawkins and Lenhart a total of four goals so far this season, with Wondolowski sitting on six. People tend to panic in their quotes, and writing about us and all those things. And things are going to change, Yallop explained. Were going to have some games where were not going to score. But theres ups and downs in our league. I never felt we werent going to score goals. I wouldnt go out and get rid of Lenhart and get some other striker in, because I felt and I knew that we can score goals in our league. And its proved tonight. While its likely the Earthquakes wont score four goals again for a while the team hasnt scored four goals in multiple MLS games since 2004 those around the team will want the Earthquakes to continue achieving a consistent offensive output. What they have been finding out in the last two weeks is that consistency wont always have the name Wondolowski attached to it.For more Earthquakes and MLS, you can follow Nick Rosano on Twitter: @nicholasrosano

Dempsey hat trick lifts US over Honduras in statement win


Dempsey hat trick lifts US over Honduras in statement win


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


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.