July 30, 2011Nick Rosano
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The Earthquakes were knocked around by D.C. United during their 2-0 at Buck Shaw Stadium, and ironically enough, most of the damage was done by former Earthquakes. Two former Earthquakes, the recently departed Brandon McDonald, and the long gone but fondly remembered Dwayne De Rosario, were on top form tonight as D.C. extended the Earthquakes winless streak to nine games.
NEWS: Former Quake De Rosario's brace powers D.C.
De Rosario, an attacking midfielder and forward who helped the Earthquakes to MLS Cup titles in 2001 and 2003, struck twice in the second half to stake D.C. to a 2-0 lead it would not relinquish. McDonald, meanwhile, who was traded to D.C. for allocation money on June 27, put in a strong defensive performance, particularly painful given the Earthquakes current struggles with injury and suspension, in the defensive line. De Rosario has a long history with the Earthquakes and head coach Frank Yallop, having worked with Yallop not only at the Earthquakes between 2001 and 2003, but also during Yallops tenure as coach of the Canadian national team between 2004 and 2006. Its always nice coming here and playing, and playing against Frank Yallop, hes the guy that brought me to the Quakes, De Rosario said. Im just happy first and foremost that we came out here and played the way we did and was able to come up with a positive result and that was three points. After a scoreless, back and forth first half, De Rosario signaled his intentions by testing Busch just seconds after the restart, and while the veteran goalkeeper saved on that instance, he was powerless to stop De Rosarios subsequent goals in the 57th and 67th minutes. We talked about De Rosario being a game-changer, Busch said in the locker room after the game. De Rosario changed the game in the second half. We didnt." De Rosarios second goal was particularly well-worked, as the Canadian veteran played a one-two off a throw in before receiving the ball at the top of the area and smashing into the far corner past a helpless Jon Busch. The second goal was right out of the blue, great finish, so thats why he gets paid what he gets paid, Yallop said of the goal. McDonald, on the other hand, has been with the Earthquakes more recently after joining in 2009, he earned a call up to the U.S. national team training camp in 2010 and put in a series of solid performances during that season, helping keep over ten clean sheets while he was on the field. He saw himself increasingly relegated to the bench in 2011 in favor of players like Jason Hernandez, Bobby Burling and at times Ike Opara. This led the Earthquakes to trade McDonald in June to a D.C. outfit in desperate need of defensive help, but with Opara now likely out for the season, Burling suspended for Saturdays game, and Hernandez out with a short term injury, his presence was sorely missed on Saturday evening. Yallop was forced to use left back Ramiro Corrales as a central defender alongside recent acquisition Nana Attakora, who is still regaining match fitness. When you put a lot of guys that have not played together much, that have not really overly confident with their play, it just doesnt turn out to be a good performance, and I think that kind of showed tonight, Yallop said. On the other hand, San Joses loss has been D.C. Uniteds gain. Since McDonalds arrival, the team has posted a number of impressive results on the road, including two shutouts, a 0-0 draw at a hot FC Dallas side and a 1-0 win at a New York Red Bulls outfit high on firepower. Hes been great, he really has, D.C. United head coach Ben Olsen said to reporters after the game. In particular Dwayne tonight and Brandon in the back, I thought was a real man back there. Him and D.C. center back Dejan Jakovic both together worked very hard and were very physical with Alan Gordon, who is always a handful, so overall, a good night for us. McDonald acknowledged that his familiarity with the Earthquakes players did play a part in helping his team to a shutout victory, though conceded there was more to it than just knowing your opponent well. I think you can use that familiarity as an advantage, I think anybody can use that as an advantage, but at the same time you never know what youre going to get when youre facing an opponent that can come out and do something that I didnt expect, he said. We just have to be on our game and do what we have to do to get a victory. When asked about his quick return to San Jose, just over a month after he had been traded, McDonald answered, Its a little bittersweet, but at the same time, more on the sweet side. Coming anywhere, any team you want, as a defender, it was good to get a shutout, so mission accomplished. For the Earthquakes, their mission is far from accomplished, and the team will be counting on improved performances in its upcoming home stand against the Portland Timbers and Colorado Rapids to keep any serious playoff hopes alive.For more Earthquakes, MLS and world soccer musings, you can follow Nick Rosano on Twitter: @nicholasrosano