'Quakes tie Red Bulls in front of over 40,000 fans

July 3, 2011, 6:04 am
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Nicholas RosanoCSNBayArea.com

STANFORD, Calif. While the announced crowd of 41,082 atStanford Stadium was almost unprecedented in Earthquakes history, fans werealso treated to an unprecedented sight on the field as the Earthquakes battledto a 2-2 draw with the New York Red Bulls. For the first time in 2011,head coach Frank Yallop was able to field what is arguably his first choiceattacking corps. With Chris Wondolowski back from U.S. national team duty, Yallowcould finally go with the combination of Wondolowski, Simon Dawkins, and StevenLenhart, who have been the nucleus of the Quakes offense this season.Whilethe draw did not fully showcase what the three have shown throughout theseason, the course of the match offered a glimpse of what could be in store inthe coming months. Lenhart managed to net the go-ahead goal, while Dawkins andWondolowski also looked dangerous, especially as the game wore on. Ilove playing with those guys, theyre great players, Wondolowski said ofDawkins and Lenhart, though he did acknowledge room for improvement. Ithought it was a little bit of a tight field and it took a little bit away fromour possession. I think we would have liked to connect a little bit morepasses. Wondolowski had a dangerous chance just before Lenhartsgoal, when he struck the post under pressure from his roommate with thenational team, Tim Ream. Bobby Burling played a great ball in and putme through and I was there and Tim Ream did a great job coming back,Wondolowski said. He clipped my back foot and I was going back post, andthats where they got out of it. Dawkins also looked particularlydangerous in the second half. The Englishman did well to utilize the spacecreated for him by Lenhart and take on the defense with his skillful runs anddribbling, setting up several dangerous opportunities for theEarthquakes.Hes a very good, smart player, sharp, quick. I thoughthe did a nice job tonight of linking, Yallop said. Once we got him the balland he had a little bit of space to move in, I thought he did great. Dawkinshimself was pleased with the play between himself and his teammates, though he acknowledgedthat the end result might affect the fans view of the game. At timeswe interchange well and obviously we didnt get the win, so people are notgoing to look at that. Still, we did well, he said. One of the biggest moments of the evening, though, came forSteven Lenhart, who put the Earthquakes ahead 2-1 in the 68th minutewith a diving header from a Steve Beitashour cross. Lenhart was involved in anacrimonious incident in last weekends game after tangling with Los AngelesGalaxy goalkeeper Josh Saunders, but was visibly happy following Saturdayevenings encounter.However, he gave a good deal of credit toBeitashour, who for the second time this season provided the assist to Lenhart.It was perfect, Lenhart said of Beitashours cross. He helps theteam, he works hard and is a good defender, but as he gets forward and getsmore comfortable, hes serving a good ball in. Im just trying to stay activein the box and get on the end of his crosses. Yallop was also pleasedwith his big forwards play, and pointed out that goalscoring was only onefacet of Lenharts game. I thought Lenhart played real well today. Not justthe call, but he held the ball up, was dangerous, he said. With thegrowing wealth of options up front providing for a more dynamic offense for theEarthquakes, the team will hope to see some winning displays in the comingweeks, with the team now riding a three match winless streak. For now, though,its simply a good feeling to have everyone back together on the samepage.For more Earthquakes, MLS and soccer musings, youcan follow Nick Rosano on Twitter @nicholasrosano