Earthquakes Drop MLS Playoff Opener to N.Y. 1-0

Earthquakes Drop MLS Playoff Opener to N.Y. 1-0
October 31, 2010, 4:47 am
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Oct. 30, 2010EARTHQUAKES PAGENEW YORK PAGE MLS SCOREBOARD
MATCH SUMMARY

SANTA CLARA (AP) -- Joel Lindpere picked up the slack with Thierry Henry and Tony Tchani out with injuries.

Lindpere scored in the 55th minute and the New York Red Bulls beat the San Jose Earthquakes 1-0 on Saturday night in the opener of the two-game, total-goals Eastern Conference semifinal.

The Red Bulls, the top team in the Eastern Conference during the regular season, had to make do without international star Henry and midfielder Tchani. They still had enough firepower to beat the Quakes, who were the lowest-seeded team to make the MLS playoffs.

"I think we played really well," New York coach Hans Backe said. "It's probably one of our best away games. (We were) so composed."

Game 2 is Thursday night in Harrison, N.J., where the Red Bulls went 10-3-2 this season, including a 2-0 win against the Earthquakes on Aug. 28.

"It's a great, great win to start with, but it's only the first half," Backe said. "If we can play so composed as today, I think we will be hard to beat."

Lindpere scored after the Earthquakes were unable to clear a cross from Juan Pablo Angel. The ball fell to the feet of Lindpere, who carefully placed a low shot to the far post to beat goalkeeper Jon Busch.

"Often, the difference between who goes on and who doesn't are the plays in front of goal," Earthquakes defender Jason Hernandez said. "They got a goal, and we were chasing it, looking for it and couldn't find it."

New York was an MLS-best 14-0-1 when scoring first in the regular season.

Lindpere almost put New York ahead in the 44th minute when he got the ball 9 yards away from net with Busch off his line, but San Jose's Jason Hernandez was able to clear Lindpere's low strike off the line.

San Jose nearly tied it the 83rd minute when leading scorer Chris Wondolowski banged a volley off the ground. Eduardo had a good look at the uncovered rebound, but his shot caromed off the post.

"We said we have to try to stress them high, force them as much as possible to long passes," Backe said. "Don't give them time and space. The work ethic was great today, the pressing game from the whole team, and that's the key to the defense."QUOTESSAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES HEAD COACH FRANK YALLOPOn the result:
I think it was an even game, I thought we played well tonight. We had our chances to score, but it felt like one of those games where youre going to get one. A couple fell to (Chris Wondolowski) Wondo in the second half where he is usually going to bury that, but he didnt. I think a draw would have been a fair result, I dont feel we deserved to lose.

On the second leg in New York:
New York are happy to come away with the win, but at least its only one goal down. We can head into New York and come away with a two-nil win and go through, so at least its not way out of reach, and we have that to hang on to. Right now, we are one-nil down at halftime.
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES DEFENDER JASON HERNANDEZOn the result:
I thought first of all, that the crowd was fantastic tonight, they really got behind us. We came out on top of them, and theyre a good team. We had some good opportunities, they had some good opportunities, and what it comes down to with who moves on are plays in front of goal. They got one, and we were chasing and looking for a goal, but we couldnt find it. I think we can take a lot of positives out of the game. It came down to efficiency in the final third.

On the second leg:
We have played well on the road all season, so we will just go do it. Ive never come in during halftime of a game and started celebrating like the game is won, so its just a break right now, its halftime. We will come out in New York with the same mentality and hopefully the ball will bounce our way a bit and we will get the result over there.

SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES GOALKEEPER JON BUSCHOn the 1-0 result:
Theyre a dangerous team and have a lot of dangerous weapons. They had a lot of opportunities and we had a few where we could have tied it up, but unfortunately we didnt. We know what we have to do now and luckily, its only one.

Looking Ahead:
We said when we walked out, (Ramiro Corrales) Rams and I were talking, saying remember, its a two-game series. You dont want to kill yourself in game two. You need to give yourself an opportunity in game two. Would we like to go to New York with a lead? Absolutely, but it didnt happen. Theres a whole ninety minutes left to play. We have to go for it, its the playoffs and we have to go for it. We will never give up, battle to the end and see what happens in New York now.

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