Wondo Hits Winner, Quakes Inch Towards Playoffs

Wondo Hits Winner, Quakes Inch Towards Playoffs


SANTA CLARA Chris Wondolowski nodded home a smartly delivered cross from Arturo Alvarezin the 69th minute to push San Jose past visiting Philadelphia 1-0 onWednesday at Buck Shaw Stadium and closer to the MLS playoffs.The win moves the Earthquakes past Colorado and into possession ofsixth place in the overall league table. San Jose are now eight pointsclear of ninth-place Toronto FC in their bid to earn their first postseason berth since being re-established in 2008.Wondolowskis goal, his ninth of the season, rescued what had been a somewhat lackluster performance for the Quakes, who generated little offense of note in the opening 45 minutes.The scoring play started with Bobby Conveycrossing from the left wing for Eduardo, who fell down without drawinga penalty. But Alvarez recovered the loose ball on the opposite sideand took his time before delivering his first assist of 2010.Diving Philadelphia goalkeeper Brad Knighton, making his second start in place of deposed Chris Seitz, got a couple fingers on Wondolowskis header, but could only push it into the side netting.Of Wondolowskis nine goals on the season, six have beengame-winners, moving him into a tie for the league lead in thatcategory with Los Angeles Edson Buddle.The loss dealt another critical blow to the faint playoff hopes ofexpansion Philadelphia, who almost snatched a point at the death whenan unmarked Shea Salinas ran onto a free kick from Sebastien Le Toux in the 93rd minute. Salinas rip from 12 yards was headed wide, but a deflection off Tim Ward forced Jon Busch to make one final save to secure his second consecutive shutout and fourth in 10 starts.Philadelphia generated the best scoring chances before intermission,both times by laying the ball off for onrushing holding midfielders.But Busch was able to knock away Stefani Miglioranzis 30-yard blast in the 22nd minute, and eventually covered up a 35-yard drive from Andrew Jacobson in the 37th.San Joses most dangerous first-half moment was cut short by refereeSilviu Petrescus whistle, which halted play after Wondolowski wasruled offside in the 42nd minute. Wondolowski, who started up top in a pairing with Designated PlayerGeovanni for the first time, had been honing in on a soft rebound givenup by Knighton, who allowed scads of second-chance opportunities butwent unpunished by a San Jose side surprisingly reluctant to pushforward in search of a go-ahead score.Quakes coach Frank Yallop attempted to inject some urgency into his teams attack with the halftime addition of Eduardo and Alvarez in place of Khari Stephenson who looked limited by his sprained left ankle and Joey Gjertsen.The moves didnt work immediately, but eventually had their effect.Eduardo came up just short of reaching a long, low cross from Conveythat could have led to a clinching goal in the 87th minute. AndKnighton did well to push a dipping free kick from Geovanni over thecrossbar in the 89th.Scoring Summary: SJ -- Chris Wondolowski 9 (Arturo Alvarez 1) 69 Misconduct Summary: PHI -- Andrew Jacobson (caution; Tactical Foul) 20
SJ -- Bobby Convey (caution; Delaying a Restart) 90
SJ -- Arturo Alvarez (caution; Delaying a Restart) 94 Lineups:Philadelphia Union -- Brad Knighton, Sheanon Williams, Danny Califf, Michael Orozco Fiscal, Jordan Harvey, Fred (Danny Mwanga 72), Andrew Jacobson, Stefani Miglioranzi, Justin Mapp (Jack McInerney 74), Sebastien Le Toux, Alejandro Moreno (Shea Salinas 58).Substitutes Not Used: Cristian Arrieta, Kyle Nakazawa, Amobi Okugo, Chris Seitz.San Jose Earthquakes -- Jon Busch, Chris Leitch, Jason Hernandez, Brandon McDonald, Tim Ward, Joey Gjertsen (Arturo Alvarez 46), Sam Cronin, Khari Stephenson (Eduardo 46), Bobby Convey, Geovanni, Chris Wondolowski.Substitutes Not Used: Bobby Burling, Cornell Glen, Ryan Johnson, Brad Ring, Alex Horwath.Referee: Silviu Petrescu
Referee's Assistants: Ian Anderson; Chris Strickland
4th Official: Yader Reyes
Time of Game: 1:54
Weather: Clear and 65 degrees

After best start in franchise history, Quakes' rough season ends on low note


After best start in franchise history, Quakes' rough season ends on low note


A San Jose Earthquakes season that began with the best start in franchise history ended on Sunday with an all-too-familiar result and feeling.

A Sporting Kansas City first half penalty shot and 89th minute-goal was more than enough offense to finish the Quakes' season on a low note in what was a 2-0 loss at Children's Mercy Park in Kansas City.

The Earthquakes finished the 2016 campaign with an 8-14-12 record -- their 12 losses are tied for second most since returning to San Jose after a two-year hiatus in 2008.

The shutout is also the 12th the Quakes suffered this season and San Jose has now missed the playoffs four straight years.

San Jose pressed Sporting Kansas City in the first half and was almost rewarded with a goal on both occasions.

But it was Kansas City who made the most of their opportunities and those don’t come much better than a penalty shot. 

Benny Feilhaber stepped up to the spot in the 27th minute after an awkward bounce hit Cordell Cato in the arm, forcing the referee to call for the penalty. Feilhaber beat David Bingham to the keeper's left for his seventh goal of the season.

The second half was noteworthy for its chippiness more than any real threat by San Jose to try and equalize. Referee Drew Fischer handed out five yellow cards in the half -- three to the Quakes. 

Sporting KC left the game way beyond reach for San Jose when Feilhaber found a streaking Dominic Dwyer on the right side who emphatically finished past Bingham for the 2-0 result. 

Man of the Match: Feilhaber gave San Jose fits the entire match and the Quakes had no answers for the midfielder. Feilhaber and Dwyer almost connected on a couple of other occasions that might have made the result worse for the Quakes. 

Attendance: 20,371 watched Sporting KC advance to the MLS Cup playoffs. 

Up Next: It's back to the drawing board for the Quakes who will reconvene in Tucson next season for preseason camp. 

Neymar to sign extension with Barcelona through 2021


Neymar to sign extension with Barcelona through 2021

MADRID — Neymar will sign a three-year contract extension with Barcelona on Friday, a deal that will keep the Brazil forward with the Spanish club until 2021.

Barcelona and Neymar had made the announcement of the agreement in July.

The previous contract was to end in 2018. The new deal will run through June 2021, Barcelona said Monday.

The club's announcement in July ended speculation that Neymar was unhappy in Spain and was looking to move to another club. Paris Saint-Germain was among the clubs reportedly trying to sign him.

At the time, the club said the contract's buyout clause would be fixed at 200 million euros ($219 million) for the first year of the new contract, 222 million euros ($243 million) for the second, and 250 million euros ($274 million) for the final three years.

Neymar has been with Barcelona since moving from Brazilian club Santos in 2013. He has scored 90 goals in 149 matches, including five goals in eight matches this season.

A key player in Barcelona's potent attack along with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, Neymar helped the team win nine titles: two Spanish league titles, two Copa del Reys, two Spanish Super Cups, the Champions League, the European Super Cup, and the Club World Cup.

The trio of attacking players scored 122 goals in the 2014-15 season and 131 goals last season, both record figures.

Neymar and his father, who acts as his agent, are likely to face trial for fraud in Spain in a case into alleged irregularities regarding his transfer from Santos to Barcelona. A Brazilian investment group which was entitled to 40 percent of the transfer claims it received a smaller compensation than it should have because part of the fee was concealed.

Barcelona also confirmed that defender Javier Mascherano will be staying with the club until 2019. That deal also had been announced in July.