Keane gets Galaxy 2-0 win over Quakes in debut


Keane gets Galaxy 2-0 win over Quakes in debut

Many times this season, the Earthquakes have shot themselves in the foot. On Saturday night against the Los Angeles Galaxy, though, they were undone not by any particular mistakes of their own, but by the fact that the Galaxys star-studded lineup simply had too much quality. It was an unfortunate result. We did a lot of right things tonight, Earthquakes defender Jason Hernandez said. I think the story of the game is you see the quality of players they have. The Galaxy featured a strong lineup, featuring not only known quantities in the shape of David Beckham and Landon Donovan, but also new addition Robbie Keane, all three on Designated Player contracts. The Republic of Ireland international threatened from the start, and it didnt take long for him to get onto the scoresheet. After seeing two breakaway chances stopped short for offside, the 31-year-old Keane burst through the Earthquakes defense in 21st minute after collecting a looping pass from Beckham and taking the ball past Earthquakes goalkeeper Jon Busch, leaving him with an easy finish. They are three quality players, said Earthquakes head coach Frank Yallop, on facing the Galaxys trio of stars. Any time you have three players of that caliber on the field at the same time you are going to be a pretty dynamic team. The Earthquakes did have their own chances to get something out of the game, especially with the score at 1-0 until the 90th minute, when Mike Magee finished off a well-worked Galaxy move to put the game beyond doubt. Due to various injuries and suspensions, Yallop was forced to field a lineup with Rafael Baca, naturally a winger, and Ramiro Corrales, naturally a left back, in the center of midfield. Khari Stephenson, normally a midfielder, partnered Chris Wondolowski up front and had the first good chance of the game early on saved by LA goalkeeper Josh Saunders. From then on, though, the Earthquakes lacked consistency and chemistry in the midfield for most of the first half, allowing Beckham and Donovan to pull the strings with relative ease, the period during which Keane netted the opener. After the goal, though, the Galaxy took their foot off the gas, allowing Baca and Corrales some room to work. In fact, the Earthquakes ended up edging the game statistically, putting six shots on target compared to the Galaxys two. However, none of the shots provided Saunders with a serious challenge, highlighting the Earthquakes continued toothlessness in front of goal throughout the summer months. Its a tale of finishing chances. They finished theirs and we had some good chances, but unfortunately we didnt finish ours, Busch said. I thought we played well again tonight, but in the end we didnt get anything out of it. That aspect is frustrating because it has been that way a lot this season where we have done the right things and havent gotten a just result. The loss sent the Earthquakes to their 12th straight winless game, prolonging a franchise record.. During the streak, though, the team has scored in just four of its games, with eight teams posting shutouts against them. Bearing that in mind, with just nine games remaining in the season, the Earthquakes will be looking for some improvement from their offense. New signing Edmundo Zura could be the help the team is looking for, and he made his debut in the 71st minute after joining the team in Los Angeles and passing his medical after a whirlwind week. While Zura wasnt able to make an immediate impact, it could be his presence in the lineup that the Quakes will look for to avoid a repeat of Saturdays defeat.For more Earthquakes, MLS and world soccer musings, you can 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.