Sept. 23, 2010
Well, were closing in on the end of September and the Earthquakes are proving to be a dangerous team to play against, and the main reason is their defense.
With 10 shutouts this season it is obvious the team has bought into the notion that if you dont give up a goal, you cant lose the game.
Whats amazing is the way they have withstood a ton of injuries without complaint or excuse making and found the people to step in and just get the job done. What is also great is how they have managed to bolster and improve their front line in the process.
Geovanni continues to impress and as he plays more and more with the team, his impact will likely improve. Add to the mix his ability and more importantly, his accuracy on free kicks and it looks like money well spent.
Chris Wondolowski continues to score important goal after important goal. He personifies how grit, determination and mental toughness can create success. When he scores, its not the highlight reel type of goal that gets nominated for Goal of the Week honors. It is generally the capper or completion of a beautiful run or service from a teammate that, oh, by the way, just won the game for the team. His game is about being relentless and being in the right place at the right time. From what I can tell, there is no prima donna in his game like you see with some forwards. My guess is there are plenty of players in the league who can match his speed, size and ball handling skills, but its his heart, determination and desire to win that separates him from the rest.
This week the boys head up to Toronto where there have been a ton of changes. TFC recently replaced their Coach (Prekki) and GM. They also ended a losing streak that had reached 6 matches in their first game under the new head coach. TFC is a difficult place to play for a number of reasons. They have amazing fans and sell out every game; they play on an artificial surface and they have former Earthquake Dewayne DeRosario. Their followers used to get especially riled up against San Jose because a couple of former Earthquakes became such when they refused to play for the club due to the artifical surface at their stadium.
Ronnie OBrien and Darrin Huckerby were both originally claimed by TFC but refused to report, forcing the team to move them. Now that both of those players are out of the picture, it is yet to be seen if that animosity will carry over.
Im not big on historical records of team versus team in the MLS because so much can change from one match to the next, let alone one year to another, but the clubs have tied in both of their matches in Toronto. Im not sure I have a reason why this match will end up any different but Im anxious to find out.
Joe Washington is the Live Events Producer for Comcast SportsNet Bay Area and a wannabe "Earthquakes Ultra."