Wondo's brace gives Quakes win over FC Dallas


Wondo's brace gives Quakes win over FC Dallas


FRISCO, Texas Chris Wondolowski scored a first-half brace and the San Jose Earthquakes held the lead, spoiling the debut of FC Dallas Designated Player Fabin Castillo en route to a 2-0 victory at Pizza Hut Park on Saturday night.After failing to score in their season-opener against Real Salt Lake, San Jose finally found the back of the net in 2011 and beat FC Dallas for the first time since rejoining the league in 2008. In the fifth minute, Wondolowski chested down a Chris Leitch pass just inside the Dallas 18-yard box, turned to his left foot and side-winded a volley past a diving Kevin Hartman. After FC Dallas managed their first real scoring threat on a Marvin Chavez cross that skated in front of the San Jose goalmouth, Wondolowski struck again.Leitch's initial pass found the feet of Joey Gjertsen just inside the FC Dallas 18-yard box. Gjertsen then floated another cross to the 2010 Golden Boot winner, who had no trouble heading the ball past Hartman.With Wondolowskis brace, each of San Joses last 12 regular-season goals has come from the American forward, an MLS record. For FC Dallas, it was first time since Sept. 12, 2009, that they conceded two goals in the first half, spanning 38 games and parts of the last three seasons. They gave up three goals in the first half of a 6-3 win over the LA Galaxy.While maintaining possession in the first half, FCD did not register a shot on goal and didnt get their first crack at San Jose goalkeeper Jon Busch until the 55th minute. That came from a toe poke by Milton Rodriguez, forcing Busch to make a diving save. Castillo made his much-awaited debut for Dallas in the 59th minute when he came in for Ricardo Villar. The prized 18-year-old Colombian striker made his presence felt almost immediately with a pretty cross to the far post, but Rodrguezs header went several feet over Buschs crossbar. FC Dallas nearly pulled one back close to full time on a Ruben Luna header, but Busch was there waiting again.San Jose return home to host Seattle on April 3. MLS Cup runners-up FC Dallas, meanwhile, head to Columbus on April 2 still seeking their first win of the 2011 season.
Courtesy San Jose Earthquakes media services

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.