Earthquakes

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Quakes' 4-2 loss in Atlanta

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Quakes' 4-2 loss in Atlanta

It was a gutsy performance for the San Jose Earthquakes, but the task of going cross county to face a dangerous Atlanta United FC team on just two days rest proved to be too much. 

Anton Walkes headed home the go-ahead goal for AUFC in the 81st minute to give Atlanta the 3-2 lead. Josef Martinez would add the no-doubter in the 89th minute for the 4-2 win. 

San Jose played a man down from the 32nd minute onward when Kofi Sarkodie was shown a second yellow and forced the complexion of the game to change completely. 

Tommy Thompson scored in the second minute and Chris Wondolowski equalized in the 65th after Atlanta had roared back to take a 2-1 lead. 

The loss forces a two-way tie for fourth place in the Western Conference with the Quakes sharing that real estate with Portland. 

Here are five things to know about an Independence Day loss to Atlanta United FC. 

— Tommy Thompson has scored — finally. When Thompson signed the team’s first ever Homegrown contract back in 2014, the weight of San Jose fell on the then-18-year-old midfielder’s shoulders. And while he’s shown flashes of promise and has enjoyed the full confidence of Quakes fans, it must feel really nice for the Indiana native to get off the proverbial snide. 

For those keeping track at home, it took Thompson 63 MLS appearances totaling 2,633 minutes and 51 shots before the demigods of scoring found him worthy. 

— It didn’t take referee Jose Carlos Rivero very long to set the disciplinary tone in Tuesday’s match — 10 minutes in, and he had already booked Sarkodie. Rivero would reach into his pocket another six times in the first half alone, including flashing another yellow — then red — to Sarkodie to leave San Jose a man down with a little less than 60 minutes left in the match. 

The effects were felt immediately, as Leitch reached for Cordell Cato to replace the offensive-minded Shea Salinas minutes later. And Atlanta wasted very time attacking Cato’s side — scoring twice going from left to right in the second half. 

The Quakes finished the game with nine men when Rivero sent Victor Bernardez off with a straight red in the fourth minute of added time. 

A team already short on defenders will be without two more for their next MLS match, July 19 on the road against the New York Red Bulls. 

— It’s now two games in a row that Wondolowski scores in exquisite fashion. After Martinez scored on a brilliant header for Atlanta, less than two minutes later Nick Lima’s cross to the back post — going from left to right — landed beautifully on Wondolowski’s right foot for goal number eight of the season and 129th of his career. 

—  Tuesday’s match was San Jose’s sixth in 21 days. Come next Monday, when the Quakes take on LA Galaxy over at Avaya Stadium with a trip to the U.S. Open Cup semifinal on the line, it will be seven matches in 27 days. It’s a grueling stretch of soccer especially when you consider the injuries, suspensions, front office movement and international call-ups the Quakes have had to endure.  

So far, the Quakes are 4-1-1 in those games. 

— If you’re a North American soccer fan, you have to add a trip to Atlanta and Bobby Dodd Stadium to your list of places to catch a match. Tuesday saw almost 45,000 fans back the place and the environment they’ve built is already one of the best in Major League Soccer.

Quakes choose young FIU defender with their first pick in 2018 MLS SuperDraft

Quakes choose young FIU defender with their first pick in 2018 MLS SuperDraft

The San Jose Earthquakes are hoping they've caught lighting in a bottle twice. 

Last season, Nick Lima emerged as one of the game's best young defenders. And on Day 1 of the 2018 MLS SuperDraft, San Jose went to the fullback well with the selection of Paul Marie from Florida International University with the 12th pick in the first round. 

"Paul has the profile we were looking for from the very beginning heading into the combine and the draft," said Earthquakes general manager Jesse Fioranelli via press release. "We were looking for a fullback. We see in him an offensive-minded outside back that has technical qualities and the ability to read the game."

Experts pegged Marie, 22, as a late-first, early-second-round selection. But a pair of solid days during the MLS Combine boosted the Frenchman's stock -- especially on San Jose's board. According to Fioranelli, Marie was No. 4 on their draft board -- having him there at No. 12 must have felt like a steal for Fioranelli and staff. 

"We especially liked that he has character and in the interview that we had with him, he convinced us," Fioranelli said. "The entire coaching staff are really excited about having him part of the club."

San Jose not only lucked out that their fourth-best footballer was there at 12, but with American parents, he does not take up an international slot for San Jose -- the team is still three players over their allotment.

In an interview after his selection with Jason Davis of Sirius XM radio, Marie told San Jose fans what they can expect from the defender. 

"They can expect Paul Marie to give it all for San Jose," he said. 

The Quakes were in need of defensive depth going in to Day 1 of the SuperDraft. In Marie, they have a fullback who can stretch the pitch from the right side and be a backup to Lima. 

Did Quakes pull off 'steal' of MLS SuperDraft in Danny Musovski?

Did Quakes pull off 'steal' of MLS SuperDraft in Danny Musovski?

Not too long ago, former UNLV standout Danny Musovski was the darling of the mock draft. 

And rightfully so -- with 47 career goals in 88 appearances with the Runnin' Rebels, Musovski possesses a knack and nose for the goal that no MLS team can have enough of and thus an early selection in the MLS SuperDraft was expected. 

So when you examine the San Jose Earthquakes' first day of the 2018 SuperDraft, their selection of Musovski can be viewed one of two ways: it's either the steal/ best value of Day 1 at No. 30 or you're skeptical of why the 22-year-old who many experts had going in the top 10 fell all the way down the Quakes in the second round. 

Judging by the way those who know Musovski talk about him, it sounds like Earthquakes fans can lean toward the former. 

"Danny is a striker that we actually saw as one of the biggest prospects considering that over four years he had scored around 50 goals," said San Jose general manager Jesse Fioranelli via press release. "He is a player that we already knew because he was inside of our ecosystem. We are excited to have him at the club."

Fioranelli is talking about Musovski's time with San Jose Premier Developement League affiliate, Burlingame Dragons FC, in 2016 where the forward made a huge impact on a squad that made the PDL postseason fresh off his 12-goal year with UNLV. 

"Quakes got a steal by drafting Danny at No. 30," said his former Dragons FC head coach Eric Bucchere -- who spent last season as an assistant with San Jose affiliate Reno 1868 and founded Path2Pro Soccer thereafter. 

"He's an MLS-ready player with pace, a good soccer brain and knack for scoring goals," Bucchere said, adding that yes, perhaps Musovski's work during the combine wasn't steller, but those two days shouldn't overshadow the striker's upside. "Sometimes it's obvious why a player is good at scoring goals and sometimes you have to watch a player during the course of an entire season to really appreciate what makes him so good." 

There are some experts who point to Chris Wondolowski as a comporable skillset and physical build to Musovski -- a player who no-doubt can find the back of the net but won't blow you away with his athleticism. 

"The last point is that Danny showed more enthusiasm than any other player to join the organization, which was a determining factor for him to join us," Fioranelli said. 

Musovski was a four-year starter and two-time All-America selection for UNLV and the first Rebel to be selected in the Super Draft since Bradley Kamdem in 2016. During his senior season in 2017, he scored 15 goals (good for fourth in the nation) and added six assists in 16 appearances, earning Third Team All-America, First Team All-West Region, First Team All-Western Athletic Conference and Western Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year honors.

Time, and training camp, will tell if Musovski will make an immediate impact with the main club. But he'll definitely have a spot with Reno 1868, the Quakes United Soccer League affiliate known for scoring goals in (record-setting) bunches.