May 29, 2011MLSSCOREBOARD EARTHQUAKESPAGE
Its been a frustrating week for the San Jose Earthquakes.Twice they have faced the same team, twice theyve had victory in their grasp,and twice they have let it slip away.
As with most stories, there is another side to it, though.Saturday evenings 2-2 draw at Chicagoconstitutes the sixth straight game in which the team has gone unbeaten inregulation. While the Quakes still sit closer to the bottom of the WesternConference table than they'd like, the change in spirit over the past month is clearlyvisible in the teams recent play. The endeavor and the fight from the guys Ive been reallyhappy with, head coach Frank Yallop said after the game. I think theirspirits been great. Despite twice taking the lead in Chicago through Ramiro Corrales and ChrisWondolowski, the Quakes were pegged back twice by a team tied for thesecond-worst record in Major League Soccer. While there was naturally a certainlevel of disappointment with that after the game, the team is keeping apositive, open-minded outlook as it enters the month of June. We could have lost that game, well, not that we could havelost it but we may have buckled and we didnt, Yallop said. We hada goal conceded on us and we thought were not going to lose this game forsure. I felt very comfortable that theycould see the game out and they did very well. However, for all the mental fortitude shown by the team intaking a point from Chicago,the players conceded that in the long run, these kinds of results wouldntnecessarily be sustainable. We have to learn from this, said Earthquakesmidfielder Anthony Ampaipitakwong, who came off the bench and assisted on bothgoals. "The last couple of games weve been playing great as whole but we have tofinish these games off. Were playingvery well and we just have to bring that to Houston. Tactically speaking, Yallop stayed faithful to his triedand trusted 4-4-2 formation, with the caveat that Corrales, normally aleft back, switched places with Bobby Convey, a left midfielder who has oftendeputized as a left back when circumstances call for it. It proved to be an inspired change from Yallop, as Corralesaccurate crossing and passing added an extra element to the teams attack. Hisgoal from a set play was no mean feet, but the moment of brilliance came whenhis cheeky backheel opened up space for Ampaipitakwong to connect withWondolowski for the second goal. The second one, Rams Corrales drew two guys, back-heeledit to me and Wondolowski any time hes in the box, you just got to get the ballin there in a good spot and hell find it, Ampaipitakwong said. Naturally, it was Wondolowski who benefited most from theEarthquakes attacking play. His headed goal in the 74th minute cameas redemption after he had failed to connect properly with his left foot fromfollowing a well-placed cross from Ampaipitakwong. Still, he remained upbeatabout the teams endeavor, even if they ultimately failed to get all threepoints from Chicago.I thought we got some good balls in the box, scored twogoals. Usually on the road thats prettygood for us, explained Wondolowski. Were a little bummed to come home with atie, I think. While the team will have to cope without Wondolowskispresence for the next four matches as he joins the U.S. national team to play in theGold Cup, all the elements are present in the team for the Earthquakes to carrytheir positive form with them through the month of June. The foundations arethere, the execution just needs a little bit of tweaking. For more Earthquakes, MLS and soccer musings, youcan follow Nick Rosano on Twitter: @nicholasrosano