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


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


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.

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.