Wondo with the winner again in Quakes' 2-0 victory

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Wondo with the winner again in Quakes' 2-0 victory

BOX SCORE

The San Jose Earthquakes continued their dominating 2012 season with a convincing 2-0 win against Chivas USA at The Home Depot Center. Goals either side of halftime from Chris Wondolowski and Alan Gordon paced the visitors to their 7th road victory, their first since late June, and 17th overall victory of the year.

Wondolowski scored his 19th goal of the season, a new personal best, on a penalty kick in the 40th minute after Gordon had been fouled inside the area by Chivas defender John Valencia. Gordon scored his 12th goal of the season in the 49th minute when Wondolowski returned the favor with a perfectly weighted assist at the top of the area.

In addition to his 19 goals, which keeps him comfortably ahead in the race for the MLS Golden Boot, Wondolowski registered his 7th assist of the season on Gordons goal. In the star strikers seven previous seasons in MLS, Wondolowski had registered a grand total of 7 assists.

After 28 regular season games, the Earthquakes have earned 56 points and built an 8 point cushion over the Seattle Sounders atop the Western Conference standings. The victory over Chivas USA also raises San Joses point per game average to 2.00. Only three teams in MLS history have finished the season at or better than that number, and all three captured the Supporters Shield. The Earthquakes did both in the 2005 season.

The Earthquakes traveled to Los Angeles to face Chivas USA for the second time in the last two weeks. The first match was a 4-0 drubbing of the Goats at Buck Shaw Stadium, and Saturdays match at The HDC started off as if it would finish in much the same vein. A starting line-up that was missing speedsters Shea Salinas and Marvin Chavez was designed to gain and possess the ball early and often.

Despite being forced into the role of spectator for much of the early going, Chivas had the first scoring chance of the night through forward Casey Townsend. From a cross into the area in the 23rd minute, Townsend snapped a header toward the post that goalkeeper Jon Busch did well to turn to the side. Busch was up to the task seconds later to save another Chivas attempt on goal.

The match turned back in the Earthquakes favor soon after and they were rewarded for their patience in the attacking third when a rash off-the-ball challenge from defender Valencia crumpled Gordon to the turf. After conferring with his assistant referee, head referee Chris Penso pointed to the spot and awarded the Earthquakes a penalty kick. Wondolowski calmly slotted the ball past goalkeeper Dan Kennedy in the 40th minute to put San Jose up 1-0.

The Earthquakes doubled their lead in the 49th minute following a beautiful sequence of possession in the Chivas half of the field. A quick give-and-go between Justin Morrow and Simon Dawkins along the left touchline sprang Morrow into the attacking third. He squared a pass across the top of the area that Mehdi Ballouchy did well to dummy for Wondolowski. Playing selfless soccer, Wondolowski turned the ball into the path of Gordon to easily slot home past the wrong-footed Kennedy. The build-up to the goal was a great example of how well the team had possessed the ball all game.

Busch and the Earthquakes defense held tight the rest of the way, and San Jose finished off their second straight shutout victory over Chivas USA. The clean sheet was the seventh of the season for Busch, and the win was the first over the Goats at The Home Depot Center since the Earthquakes franchise returned to MLS in 2008.

A busy week continues for San Jose as they host the Portland Timbers on Wednesday night at Buck Shaw Stadium before traveling to the Pacific Northwest on Saturday to face the Seattle Sounders at CenturyLink Field.

Earthquakes sign Valeri ‘Vako’ Qazaishvili as latest Designated Player

Earthquakes sign Valeri ‘Vako’ Qazaishvili as latest Designated Player

(Editor's Note: The above video is from January 2017)

The San Jose Earthquakes announced today that the club has signed Georgia National Team attacking midfielder Valeri ‘Vako’ Qazaishvili as a Designated Player, pending receipt of his P-1 Visa and ITC. Qazaishvili scored for Georgia in their most recent World Cup qualifying match on June 11.

“We were looking for a player, a younger, offensive player, that really excites the fans and has the possibility to stay with us for a long period of time. That’s what we found with Vako,” said Earthquakes general manager Jesse Fioranelli. “We wanted a player that knows how to take on a defender one-on-one, that sees the goal and that also wants to bring a spark to our game.”

Qazaishvili, 24, becomes San Jose’s youngest ever Designated Player after six years with SBV Vitesse of the Dutch Eredivisie. He tallied 25 goals and 10 assists in 104 league games for the Dutch side, adding another three goals and three assists in other top-flight competition.

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.

From 2012-13 to 2013-14, Qazaishvili spent significant time with the U-21 squad, scoring 14 goals in 30 league appearances for the youth side and establishing himself as a first-team player.

Qazaishvili then scored nine goals during the 2014-15 Eredivisie season and a team-best 10 in 2015-16. He later spent the majority of the 2016-17 season on loan with Poland’s Legia Warsaw, helping them win the league championship with a 21-6-10 overall record.

In addition to his experience in league play, Qazaishvili has made eight appearances in international cup competition, including Europa League qualifiers, Europa League and UEFA Champions League. He appeared against clubs such as Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid in Champions League play.

He also has extensive experience playing with the Georgia National Team, scoring nine goals in 24 appearances at various youth levels and five goals in 23 appearances for the senior team.

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Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Quakes' draw with Sporting KC

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USATSI

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Quakes' draw with Sporting KC

SAN JOSE -- People say that the when you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is to stop digging. 

So if you’re someone who believes in that, Saturday’s 0-0 draw is a good thing for the San Jose Earthquakes. After dropping two straight MLS matches, the Quakes needed to stop the bleeding and were faced with doing so against the Western Conference’s top team, Sporting Kansas City — no small task. 

Here are five things you need to know about a scoreless, albeit positive, affair Saturday afternoon at Avaya Stadium. 

— Quakes head coach Dominic Kinnear’s troubles began even before San Jose took to the pitch on Saturday. We knew of three key cogs — Florian Jungwirth, Marco Urena, Darwin Ceren — already out with injury or suspension. But things got worse when Fatai Alashe and Simon Dawkins became unavailable. The result: Kinnear’s lineup card listed just 16 players — three of which have spent the vast majority of their season playing for San Jose’s United Soccer League affiliate, Reno 1868. Of those three, one saw playing time — Jackson Yueill, who made his MLS debut.

— The draw is positive for two reasons. One, San Jose was without several key players and it would have been very easy to use that as an excuse for a less than stellar effort. And two, the draws snaps a two-game MLS slide. The race for a playoff spot in the Western Conference is congested. San Jose may be in seventh place, but the draw keeps them just eight points behind first place Sporting KC. 

— The first half unfolded as expected — the shorthanded Quakes had no choice but to play a defensive game and hope Sporting KC made a mistake on a counterattack. That didn’t happen. In fact, three times, SKC had an open net and couldn’t capitalize. San Jose, on the other hand, did not record a single shot on Tim Melia’s goal. Things opened up a little more in the second half for the Quakes. But as its been the case for some time now, the Quakes simply could not break through. KC's Graham Zusi had arguably the match's best chance with mere seconds left to play. The clean sheet for Kansas City means the visitors have now allowed just eight road goals in nine matches all season long. 

— Saturday’s match against Sporting KC was the second in a very busy stretch for the Quakes. Last Wednesday, the Quakes took down the San Francisco Deltas (NASL) 2-0 in U.S. Open Cup play. However, the win means another game on the schedule the following Wednesday — against the reigning MLS champion Seattle Sounders. 

In all, by the time San Jose faces Los Angeles in Stanford Stadium for the Cali Clasico, the Quakes will have played five matches in 18 days before packing up for a cross country trip to Atlanta for another game on Independence Day. 

Tired legs, indeed. 

— A couple of logistic particulars: Saturday’s reported attendance was 18,000 — another sell-out for Avaya Stadium where the Quakes remain very stout. As a side note, the Quakes announced earlier in the week they have sold over 30,000 tickets for the aforementioned Cali Clasico at Stanford Stadium. 

Chris Wondolowski and Anibal Godoy went into the book with yellow cards on Saturday. 

Next up, the Quakes will take on Real Salt Lake next Saturday at Avaya Stadium with kick scheduled for 7:30 p.m.