Wondolowski scores two; Quakes tie Vancouver


Wondolowski scores two; Quakes tie Vancouver


SANTA CLARA -- All of a sudden, Chris Wondolowski and the Earthquakes found their goalscoring touch. However, they could not make it count against the Vancouver Whitecaps, throwing away two leads on the way to a 2-2 draw at Buck Shaw Stadium, snapping a run in which the team had gone scoreless in five out of its last six, but extending its winless streak to seven games. The Earthquakes couldnt pull away from the Whitecaps as they took the lead twice through Wondolowski, only to be pegged back twice by Vancouvers own star striker, Eric Hassli. The Earthquakes certainly had their opportunities to pull away from their visitors Steven Lenhart missed a pair of one-on-one chances, and the teams inability to finish cost them a win against the last-placed team in the Western Conference. Were back on the scoring charts, but it was just a real frustrating night. Earthquakes head coach Frank Yallop said. We seemed to not get the breaks when you kind of need them. Things certainly looked rosier when San Jose got the best possible start to the game in the third minute. Simon Dawkins played a fine chipped ball over the top to find an onside Wondolowski, who beat longtime former Quake Joe Cannon to give his side a 1-0 lead. However, the defense, solid in the teams recent outings, often looked out of shape as the first half progressed. The Whitecaps new Designated Player, Mustapha Jarju, fired over. Lenhart nearly made him pay, as Dawkins pounced to put him clear on goal, but he took too long to get a shot off, allowing a Vancouver defender to get in a saving tackle. The Earthquakes themselves were made to pay for that miss just minutes before halftime, after a chipped ball from Shea Salinas, another former Earthquakes, found Hassli free in the box. Jon Busch got a glove to his shot, but the Frenchmans effort was simply too powerful to keep out. Earthquakes defender Bobby Burling acknowledged that conceding right before halftime dampened morale, saying, They got one back right before half, and it kind of deflated us a little bit I think. However, there was plenty more to come in the final 45 minutes. Jacob Peterson, the Earthquakes newly acquired right winger, looked active down the flank on his home debut, and had a hand as the Earthquakes pulled ahead once more early in the second half. Peterson whipped in a free kick from the right side, allowing Wondolowski to take advantage of a slip by his marker and head home. Hes a great player and can whip in a great ball, and being a forward and a bit of a poacher myself, I love that and it makes me happy, said Wondolowski, on playing with Peterson. The Earthquakes werent able to make the lead last more than seven minutes, though, as in the 61st minute, as the Salinas-Hassli combination wreaked havoc on the home sides defense one more. Some fancy footwork from Salinas left his marker in the dust, and he did well to draw out Busch before pulling the ball back for Hassli, who finished easily. San Jose then had a trio of good chances to put the game away, but couldnt convert any of them. Wondolowski nearly had his hat-trick, connecting with another Peterson cross, only to head against the bar. He also had a one-on-one opportunity foiled by a last ditch tackle from Whitecaps defender Greg Janicki, while Steven Lenhart couldnt put his own one-on-one chance on target. Despite having a generally positive outing before being substituted in the 66th minute, Peterson was one of the fiercest critics of the teams performance. Im disappointed, we should all be disappointed, he said. Their team is bottom of the league, to tie at home is not good enough. We created some decent chances that second half, but overall as a game, we werent sharp enough. Despite the slip-up and home that sees the Earthquakes drift further and further back from a playoff spot, Yallop was not ready to blame any particular portion of the team, despite some less organized defending than the fans have been used to in the past few weeks. Its a team effort. When we score goals, we all score goals and when we dont defend properly, its not just the defenders, Yallop said. Weve got to get a combination wherewere solid at the back and be dangerous going forward, so right now we seem to be struggling to get that chemistry thats going to be good for us going forward. The Earthquakes will have little to no time to find that chemistry they are off Thursday and travel east on Friday to face off against a tough Real Salt Lake outfit. Still, the lessons from tonights match will be fresh on their mind, and could be that elusive ingredient in the teams formula for success.For more Earthquakes, MLS and world soccer musings, you can follow Nick Rosano on Twitter @nicholasrosano

Road woes continue, Quakes fall to Dynamo


Road woes continue, Quakes fall to Dynamo


HOUSTON  — Alberth Elis and Vicente Sanchez each had a goal and an assist, and the Houston Dynamo blanked the San Jose Earthquakes 3-0 on Saturday night.

Houston (10-7-7) joined Seattle and Sporting Kansas City at the top of the Western Conference standings by improving to 9-0-3 at home.

Elis got his head on a corner kick by Boniek García to open the scoring with his seventh goal in the 21st minute. It was the Dynamos' league-leading 17th goal off a set piece.

Elis helped ice the game in the 86th minute with a nifty touch to get around a defender before Sanchez beat his defender and the goalkeeper to the centering pass for his first goal.

Sanchez gathered a loose ball just before it crossed the end line and centered it to Mauro Manotas for his eighth goal in stoppage time.

Tyler Deric had three saves for his fourth shutout.

San Jose (9-10-5) has lost five straight on the road and remains one point up on Vancouver for the final playoff spot.

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Quakes' 2-1 win over Columbus


Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Quakes' 2-1 win over Columbus


It appears that stretches at Avaya Stadium for the San Jose Earthquakes are showing up on the schedule at just the right times. 

Not too long ago, the Quakes were reeling after a miserable stretch of soccer on the road. But now, after two straight wins at Avaya -- the latest a 2-1 victory over Columbus Crew SC on Saturday -- San Jose is once again knocking on MLS' playoff door. 

Marco Ureña scored in the 42nd minute and Chris Wondolowski added the eventual game-winner in the 56th. 

It's going to make for a nail-biting latter part of the season for sure in the super tight Western Conference. But for now celebrate with these five takeaways from the Earthquakes' ninth win of the season. 

-- Don't look now, but the win on Saturday means the Quakes have already surpassed their total from last year. The victory jumps their point total to 32, good for fifth in the Western Conference as of this article's publication. Dallas' loss and more importantly Vancouver's draw were huge results for San Jose as the season turns to the scoreboard-watching phase with eight teams jockeying for six playoff spots. 

-- Have a game, Tommy Thompson. Columbus controlled the first 20-25 minutes but it was around that time that the midfielder began to put his stamp on the match -- much to the appreciation of his San Jose teammates. He gave Columbus fits purely with his work rate and along with his assist, he came within inches of his second goal of the season. It was undoubtedly one of Thompson's most complete matches. Not only did he facilitate Wondolowski's goal, but defensively, Thompson was a visible and noticeable force. One has to wonder if he's turned the corner with that aspect of the game -- it was his defense that many speculated was keeping him out of the lineup during Dominic Kinnear's time as the head coach. 

-- Marco Ureña scored his third goal of the season and his first since a 2-1 win over Real Salt Lake on June 24. Ureña was a mainstay in Kinnear's lineup and hasn't really gotten the opportunity to earn the trust of new head coach Chris Leitch -- with a lot of his time spent on international duty since the Leitch was hired. Keep an eye out on that relationship. 

And, it's also time to acknowledge another round number for Wondolowski. With his goal in the 56th minute, the forward has hit the 130 career goals mark -- 123 of those have come since 2010. 

Wondolowski is still fourth on the all-time list but now he's only three behind Jaime Moreno and four behind Jeff Cunningham. 

-- That's now back-to-back impressive performances for David Bingham. And that has to feel super good for the former Cal keeper considering the defensive disaster that was San Jose's most recent road trip. 

-- After years of research and MLS flirting with the idea, Video Replay is here. And like most new things that are introduced into a sport rich in tradition, there is plenty of chatter -- for and against the change -- floating around. 

There will be four main areas of focus for MLS' new VAR: goals, penalty calls, direct red-card incidents and cases of mistaken identity (when it relates to yellow and red cards). 

On Saturday, the system was not truly tested except for the couple of minutes it took to analyze Adam Jahn's goal for Columbus.