Quakes proud of effort vs. EPL's West Brom

July 13, 2011, 11:04 pm
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Nick RosanoCSNBayArea.com

SANTA CLARA, Calif. For the managers on thesidelines of the Earthquakes 2-1 exhibition win over Premier League outfitWest Bromwich Albion, Tuesday nights game provided tests of two differentkinds. For West Brom, it was the teams firstgame of the 2011-2012 season following the clubs best-ever finish (11thplace) in the Premier League. For the Earthquakes, it provided manager FrankYallop a chance to test new players and perhaps find a way to rejuvenate astruggling offense. Anytime it's an exhibition game, you're a littleworried of it being a dull affair, but I thought it was good, Yallop said. Ittakes break away from our league stuff to kind of enjoy the game rather thanworry about the result, so I said to the guys, Just go out and try and enjoythe game and play some good stuff and try and win. Despite thegames status as an exhibition, the team was more than pleased with the way itpresented itself against opposition from arguably the best league in the world.Its an EPL English Premier League team. They are strong team thatfinished in the middle of the table last season. We did really well playingthem tonight, said Earthquakes forward Simon Dawkins, who is currently playingfor the Earthquakes on loan from Tottenham Hotspur, another Premier Leagueteam.RELATED: Earthquakes fixturesThe Earthquakes took an early lead over their English visitorswith a fluky 90-yard goal from rookie goalkeeper David Bingham, a former Cal standout. Binghamcollected an errant pass in his own penalty area and booted it up field.However, West Brom goalkeeper Boaz Myhill, a Modesto native, lost the ball in the sun andit took one hop over his head and into the goal. RELATED: Quakes' Bingham nets 90-yard goal in friendly
Khari Stephensonadded a second for the Earthquakes just before halftime with a trademark blisteringshot from 33 yards out. West Brom pulled oneback early in the second half after a blistering run and shot from wingerJerome Thomas. Despite some heavy pressure, San Jose stood firm and held on for the win.Yallop was indeed pleased with the performances of some of his lesserknown players, in particular highlighting the work of new signing Rafael Bacaand left back Justin Morrow. Simon Dawkins also featured in a more unfamiliarmidfield role, but adapted well. One of the hard parts of MLS is thatit's hard to take chances on players, Yallop said. You kind of go with whatyou know and you don't give many games to young players, you tend to go withexperience and don't play many young guys. It was nice to do that tonight and Ithought they all did fine, it was good. For West Brom, the gamepresented an opportunity to get back on the field after a summer break and justone week of training. With the Premier League season running fall to spring,opposite of MLS, the difference in fitness levels between the Earthquakes andtheir opponents was readily apparent. The opponents were good ofcourse, said West Brom manager Roy Hodgson.Lively, just as we expected, but I think the result's a bit harsh on us,especially as a result of the freak opening goal, apart from that I thought weplayed reasonably well.We came through injury free, the game wasplayed in a good spirit, no injuries, very few fouls, referee did a good job,so perfect workout, really, Hodgson added.The Earthquakes will make aquick return to league action, as they will travel to face the Columbus Crew onSaturday, July 16, a team that they beat 3-0 at home earlier this season. WestBrom has two more games in its preseason tour of the United States, returning to its home base in Southern California to face minor league side Ventura County Fusion beforetraveling north to take on MLS outfit Portland Timbers.For more Earthquakes, MLS and world soccer musings,follow Nick Rosano on Twitter @nicholasrosano

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