Controversy in Earthquakes 4-0 loss to Salt Lake


Controversy in Earthquakes 4-0 loss to Salt Lake

Until the hour mark of their game at Real Salt Lake, the Earthquakes were holding on. Salt Lakewas able to maintain possession comfortably and create chances, but couldntput one past Earthquakes goalkeeper Jon Busch. Thirty minutes later, the scorewas 4-0 and the Earthquakes were sent home with their heaviest defeat of the2011 season. The scoreline would reflect a late game collapse from San Jose, but to most observers in the San Jose camp, the game hinged on one moment. The home side finally got their breakthrough just after thegame clock hit one hour, but the controversial circumstances of the goal andEarthquakes defender Bobby Burlings sending off just prior has already broughtplenty of criticism from the Earthquakes and will leave fans talking for daysto come. In the incident, Real Salt LakesAlvaro Saborio went to the ground in the penalty area, apparently under contactfrom Burling. Referee David Gantar had no hesitation in showing Burling the redcard for denying a clear goalscoring opportunity and awarding Salt Lake apenalty, but replays soon showed that no Earthquakes defender had made anycontact with Saborio, who appeared to take a dive, and the incredulousreactions from the Earthquakes players seemed to confirm what fans watching ontelevision saw in the replays. I didnt touch Saboro. I thought it was going to be apossible yellow card for a dive if anything, Burling said. One-hundred percent Burling didnt touch Saborio. Heabsolutely did not touch him, I was standing right there, Earthquakesgoalkeeper Jon Busch said. The guy could have shot before he went down if hewanted to. He cut back against two defenders, neither Bobby (Burling) or Brad(Ring) touched him at all, whatsoever. Gantar had initially shown the red card to Brad Ring, whowas a few feet away from Saborio during the play, but after a conversation withthe assistant referee, gave the card to Burling, instead. Saborio would go onto convert the penalty, which put Salt Lake up 1-0 andeventually stood as the winning goal. Ring, naturally a central midfielder, had already beendeputizing as a central defender following his substitution for Nana Attakora,who made his Earthquakes debut. Following the ejection, Ring had to partner inthe middle with another out of position player, Chris Leitch, and Salt Laketook advantage, putting three more goals past Busch and the Earthquakes enroute to a comfortable 4-0 win. Despite the seemingly comfortable scoreline, though, theEarthquakes players were adamant that the red card and penalty changed thecomplexion of the game. Busch said, It changed the whole game. Up until thatpoint we were playing a pretty good road game against a very good team. Its up to the referee to make sure it is a penalty kickand that changed the game, Earthquakes head coach Frank Yallop said. Redcard, penalty, goal and we were screwed after that. Yallops opposite number, Jason Kreis, was naturally in amore diplomatic mood in the game, implicitly acknowledging that his team mighthave benefited from a refereeing call. However, his team had been the victim ofa similar dive by D.C. United forward Charlie Davies in the two teams June 18showdown, with the ensuing penalty forcing Salt Laketo settle for a tie instead of a win. You hope that over the course of a season some bounces aregoing to go your way and some decisions are going to go your way, and sotonight was one, Kreis said.As a consequence, the MLS Disciplinary Committeesubsequently fined Davies 1,000 by for putting the game in disrepute. Following the game, a number of Earthquakes players voicedtheir displeasure at the standard of refereeing and Saborios actions, not onlyto reporters in the locker room, but also on Twitter. Divingruins the game..Has to be punished harshly..the only way to get rid of it issuspending guys..4 such a good player it's a disgrace, Earthquakes midfielderJacob Peterson tweeted. Peterson was among the players booked, having beenshown a yellow card in the 15th minute for delaying a restart.Earthquakesforward Chris Wondolowski also weighed in on Twitter, calling the penalty andred card call the wrong one, saying Crazy how 1 call can help decide a gameand with it not even bein the right call. So frustrating. TheEarthquakes will now have to do without Burling, who will be suspended, andpossibly more players as they face D.C. United next Saturday, kicking off athree game home stand that could be vital to the teams playoff chances. Buschwas seen making a vulgar gesture to the referee following the penalty kick andcould face disciplinary action, while defender Jason Hernandez was injured priorto the game, potentially leaving the Earthquakes back line perilously thin asthey attempt to snap a seven game winless streak.Formore Earthquakes, MLS and world soccer musings, follow Nick Rosano on Twitter:@nicholasrosano

Quakes crushed in Vancouver, eliminated from MLS Cup Playoffs


Quakes crushed in Vancouver, eliminated from MLS Cup Playoffs


The San Jose Earthquakes' season is over, after the Vancouver Whitecaps beat San Jose 5-0 in the knockout round of the MLS Cup Playoffs on Tuesday night. 

Fredy Montero opened the scoring for the Whitecaps in the 33rd minute. In the second half, Cristian Tecera and Kendall Watson scored seven minutes apart and all but sealed the hosts' first-ever playoff win. Second half substitute Nicolas Mezquida scored a brace for good measure, with two goals in 78th and 80th minute. 

Earthquakes captain Chris Wondolowski was held off of the scoresheet for his fourth consecutive playoff game. The 34-year-old scored one goal in six career postseason appearances. 

Tuesday marked San Jose's first postseason appearance since 2012. The Earthquakes have not advanced past the quarterfinals of the MLS Cup Playoffs since 2010.

Earthquakes come into MLS Playoffs as clear underdogs in Vancouver

Earthquakes come into MLS Playoffs as clear underdogs in Vancouver

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Carl Robinson was talking about the need to rely on key veterans in a playoff game.

And then the Vancouver coach all but confirmed that he will replace two long-time standouts on Wednesday in the Whitecaps' Major League Soccer knockout-round playoff game against the San Jose Earthquakes.

One -- left fullback Jordan Harvey, the longest-serving Whitecap -- definitely will not start. Instead, Marcel de Jong, who has been deployed mainly as a utility player on the back line and in midfield, will get the call.

"Marcel has played very well for the last three games he's played, and so has Jordan, but for this matchup, Marcel will play," Robinson said after a practice Tuesday at the club's University of British Columbia training facility.

Harvey, a 33-year-old Mission Viejo, Calif., native, has rarely taken a night off since joining the Whitecaps in a trade from Philadelphia in Vancouver's inaugural MLS season in 2011.

De Jong, a 31-year-old Newmarket, Ontario, native who plays internationally for Canada, got into only 13 games during the regular season and just seven in 2016 after joining the club in midseason from Ottawa of the second-tier North American Soccer League.

Meanwhile, Stefan Marinovic, a 24-year-old New Zealand international, is expected to start in goal as David Ousted, a 31-year-old Dane who has been the team's heavily used starter since his arrival in mid-2013, watches for the fourth time in the past five games.

Marinovic has a modest 2-2-1 record with one shutout.

"It's no gamble at all," Robinson said of changing goalies. "Stef's a top-class goalkeeper. We know that.

"I'm a very lucky manager in this league in that I've got two very good goalkeepers. Stef's come in and, in the games he's played, he's been exceptional. I need him to make saves at big times. (Ousted) has done that throughout the first two-thirds of the season. Stef has now taken charge."

The Wednesday contest marks the time for the Whitecaps to take charge of their postseason fortunes after they squandered a chance to finish first in the Western Conference and dropped to third thanks to a draw with the Earthquakes two weeks ago and a loss to the Portland Timbers last weekend.

Vancouver (15-12-7) has never won a playoff game in its MLS existence.

The winner of Wednesday's contest will play a two-game, total-goals series against either first-place Portland or the second-place Seattle Sounders.

The Earthquakes, who grabbed the sixth and final playoff berth in the West with a 13-14-7 mark, are clear underdogs. However, Vancouver captain Kendall Waston downplayed the apparent pressure on his team, which was a modest 1-3-1 in its last five regular-season games.

"Pressure, for me, is (not having) money to go buy milk for my son," Waston said. "This is trying to be (as) responsible as we can. We have to look at this match as the others, but the thing is, if we lose, we have to go home -- and we (don't) want to go home."

Vancouver's top scorer, Fredy Montero, said he is ready to play a full game after being used as a substitute in Portland due to a minor injury.

Meanwhile, the Earthquakes will try to continue to rebound from a 6-6-5 start that cost former coach Dominic Kinnear his job. Replacement Chris Leitch saw the team endure some fits and starts, but the Earthquakes managed to get into the playoffs after Marco Urena, a teammate of Waston on Costa Rica's national team, scored the last-minute winner over Minnesota United last weekend.

"I always shine in these important moments," Urena said afterward. "God chose me (for such times.)"

The Earthquakes might need some divine intervention after allowing 21 more goals than they scored during the regular season. Even so, they have one of the all-time best MLS players in Chris Wondolowski, who assisted on the winner and also scored last weekend, earning MLS player of the week honors.

"Legitimately one of the hardest things I had to do in my life," Wondolowski, who loves to shoot, said about passing on the winning goal.

Wondolowski, who is tied for second on the MLS all-time scoring list with Jeff Cunningham at 134 goals, said it has been a "look-in-the mirror-and-see-what-you're-made-of season," for the Quakes, who made several midseason roster changes.