Quakes can't equalize, fall 2-1 to Timbers


Quakes can't equalize, fall 2-1 to Timbers

BOX SCOREThe never-say-die late match magic that had carried the San Jose Earthquakes to the top of the MLS standings in the first half of the season failed to materialize in a 2-1 loss to the Portland Timbers at Jeld-Wen Field Tuesday night.

Goals from Danny Mwanga and Jack Jewsbury staked the Timbers to a 2-0 lead early in the second half, but a late goal from Alan Gordon was all the Earthquakes could muster and their three game MLS winning streak came to an end.

The Timbers nearly opened the scoring in the 15th minute, when a long pass from Franck Songoo toward the top of the area was tipped by Earthquakes defender Victor Bernardez right to a wide open Eric Alexander on the left wing. The midfielder turned the ball back toward goal, and with a phalanx of defenders converging on him, unleashed a low shot that caromed off the left post.

Portland would get on the scoresheet in the 29th minute following a textbook counterattack following an unsuccessful Earthquakes corner kick. After disposing Rafael Baca of the ball deep in the right corner, Songoo centered the ball to Alexander and sprinted up the sideline. Alexander returned the ball to Songoo with plenty of open space ahead of him and he carried the ball all the way into the Earthquakes area. A squared pass across the six-yard box was met by Mwanga and redirected past goalkeeper David Bingham to give the Timbers a 1-0 lead.

The Timbers nearly scored another goal from the same combination in the 55th minute. With space to bring the ball into the area, Songoo elected to cross the ball back across the six-yard box to Mwanga, and the Portland forward slammed a shot off the crossbar. The effort was whistled dead for offside, but the Timbers continued to put the Earthquakes collectively on their back foot.

Portland collected their second goal of the night on a free kick in the 59th minute. The deep ball into the area looked destined for the grasp of keeper Bingham, but a challenge from Futty Danso dislodged the ball and it trickled back toward the goal line. As Bingham struggled to catch up with the loose ball, Jewsbury raced in and buried a shot into the back of the net.

The introduction of Marvin Chavez for Rafael Baca in the 59th minute and Steven Lenhart for Khari Stephenson in the 62nd minute signaled a shift to a more offensive-minded formation, and the substitutions paid dividends in short order.

The Earthquakes pulled one back in the 74th minute when a crossing attempt from Justin Morrow was deflected back out of the area directly to Chavez. He stepped into the ball and fired a shot on target that Gordon redirected past Timbers goalkeeper Troy Perkins for the Earthquakes first goal of the evening.

The last Earthquakes substitution came in the 84th minute, when creative midfielder Tressor Moreno replaced defender Jason Hernandez. The visitors pushed forward with numbers in the concluding minutes of the match, but they were unable to find an equalizer.

The Earthquakes will look to return to their winning ways this Saturday when they travel to Texas to face FC Dallas.

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.