'Quakes' winless streak at 11 after 2-1 loss

August 14, 2011, 5:00 am
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Nicholas Rosano

It all seemed to be going right as Joey Gjertsen pounced toopen the scoring in the 22nd minute on Saturday evening -- theEarthquakes had their first lead in over three games and the teams flickeringplayoff hopes seemed to be gaining some kindling. However, two blows of thewhistle later, and the Earthquakes found themselves in a big hole and a mandown, unable to break through once more as the Colorado Rapids sent them to afranchise-record 11th straight winless game, coming out 2-1 victors. I thought we played well. For some reason were not gettingthe breaks, but we cant give up, head coach Frank Yallop said following thegame. We put in a good effort and to come out with no points isdisappointing. The Earthquakes looked bright throughout large stretches ofthe game, though their profligacy in front of goal was further compounded bytwo controversial decisions from referee Paul Ward on either side of halftime. In the 39th minute, Ward awarded a penalty afterconsultation with his linesman, the assistant referee having adjudged that SamCronins arm had made contact with the ball in the penalty as he slid out ofplay. Colorados Caleb Folan calmly slotted the penalty past Jon Busch toequalize for the Rapids. Things went from bad to worse for Cronin in the 50thminute, as the midfielder saw red for a two-footed challenge on PabloMastroeni, prompting a less than favorable reaction from the Earthquakes fansand players. Jeff Larentowicz would soon hammer the nail in the Quakescoffin when he whipped in a free kick, which somehow found its way through thelegs of Simon Dawkins and past Jon Busch in the 72nd minute. Unfortunately it went through Simons (Dawkins) legs, Buschsaid. We know hes just going to hit it hard, hes not going to bend it.Busch then conceded while things may have broken down onthat play, the type of goal was symptomatic of the struggles the team has beenhaving lately. I take care of my side and the wall takes care of theirside and unfortunately, on a different night, the ball doesnt go in but thatshow the ball is bouncing for us right now, he said. Despite everything that didnt bounce the Earthquakes waythough, they didnt always do much to help their cause. While their play wasbright, the quality of finishing didnt always match, perhaps no more so thanwhen Gjertsen slotted a well-placed ball in for Chris Wondolowski, only for thereigning Golden Boot winner to balloon it over the crossbar with the score at1-1. Wondo couldve scored four goals but he didnt, Yallopsaid. You cant fault the man for getting into spots to score. He was braveand had good chances. However, with chances rapidly running out for theEarthquakes to claim a berth in the postseason and the winless skid continuing,the missed goals are starting to become more and more glaring. With seven ofthe last ten games on the road, the loss to Colorado represented a significantblow, capping off a crucial home stand that saw the Earthquakes claim just oneout of nine points on offer.With the team facing a trip to face league leaders andrivals Los Angeles Galaxy next weekend, followed by a cross-continental trip toToronto the following weekend, it is indeed difficult to envy the teamsposition. Still, Busch highlighted his sides resilient spirit, reminding thoselistening that the team was not quite done yet. Its never too late when you havent been officiallyeliminated, he said. We just have to pick ourselves up again and dustourselves off and start to prepare for LA.For more Earthquakes, MLS and world soccer musings,you can follow Nick Rosano on Twitter @nicholasrosano

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