Quakes close season with 4-2 win over Dallas


Quakes close season with 4-2 win over Dallas

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The Earthquakes closed out a largelydisappointing 2011 by matching their best result of the season, putting fourfirst-half goals past FC Dallas en route to a 4-2 win, but Chris Wondolowskifell just short in his quest to retain the MLS Golden Boot. Simon Dawkins proved the hero on the day as the Earthquakesscored four goals in the span of 11 minutes. The Englishman put two past ashaky Dallas defense to open and close the Earthquakes scoring. Rafael Bacatallied a minute after Dawkins 27th minute opener, squeezing in afar post header for his first professional goal. Wondolowski scored his 16thgoal of the season from the penalty spot in the 34th minute. Asked if the performance was San Joses best of the season, head coachFrank Yallop replied, I think playing-wise its been similar to that but nottook our chances, but we did tonight for sure. Simon Dawkins getting twogoals was terrific, and I think we well deserved the win. FC Dallas scored once at the end of each half, with GeorgeJohn connecting with a diving header to pull one back on the stroke of halftimeand Ruben Luna scoring from close range in the 90th minute.The Earthquakes players and staff admitted afterward thatthe late goal was at least partly a result of the team pushing extra-hard toget Wondolowski his second of the game.If you look at the game, we had the ball a lot, Yallopsaid. I thought we were going the length of the field a lot of the time. Dallas are a dangerousteam, we knew that. The pace of the game was high, we put a lot into it.Wondolowski took a unique point of view on his teamconceding two goals.I blame myself that they scored two goals because they myteammates were trying to go hard and feed me and kept going, Wondolowskisaid. To have teammates like that to have my back like that its one of a kindand I really appreciate and love them.Wondolowskis penalty allowed him to tie D.C. UnitedsDwayne De Rosario on 16 goals, giving him a share of the league lead inscoring, but De Rosario an Earthquake from 2001 to 2005 won the tiebreakerfor the Golden Boot award by virtue of having 12 assists to Wondolowskis four,one of which he tallied on Dawkins final goal.Wondolowski had three good opportunities to score in thesecond half, including two looks at a nearly open goal, but each time Dallas goalkeeper ChrisSeitz was able to pull off the save, and difficult ones at that.Its a shame because another night when you have fivepretty good chances to score and only get one obviously from the penalty was not like Wondo, so I just felt for him, Yallop said.Seitz himself mentioned that he was not even thinking aboutdenying Wondolowski his chance at the Golden Boot, stressing the importance ofputting together a solid second half after conceding four goals in the first.In all honesty, I dont look at it that way, Seitz said.I look at it as us coming out in the second half and trying to put up a zero.We were going to do whatever it took to achieve that, and as a whole we playeda lot better. We tried to shut him Wondolowski down and not give them as manychances.Despite losing out on the Golden Boot, Wondolowski becomesjust the fourth player to twice lead the league in scoring after Carlos Ruiz(2002, 2003), Taylor Twellman (2003, 2005) and Jeff Cunningham (2006, 2009).It means a lot, he said. Its just one of those thingsthat Im glad I can show myself and even others and the league and my teammatesthat I can do it.. His teammates were also full of praise for hisaccomplishment, veteran goalkeeper Jon Busch in particular.To me, Wondo over the last few years showed what a trueprofessional he is in scoring goals, Busch said. The mark of a trueprofessional is consistency, day in day out, game in game out, year in yearoutto put the numbers up back-to-back years that he did just shows he is a toppro and hes one of the best goalscorers in this league. Furthermore, with the Earthquakes finished for the seasonand U.S. national team games scheduled for November and a camp in January,Wondolowski hopes that his goalscoring exploits have put him on the radar ofrecently-appointed head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, himself a prolific goalscorerin his playing days. I would love it. It would be a true honor, Wondolowskisaid of the possibility of returning to the national team fold. Coach Klinsmannsdone a great job so far and I know he has the team in the right direction. Ijust hope and pray that I can be a part of it somehow, some way and hope to geta chance. What is certain, though, is that Wondolowski and theEarthquakes will be looking to return to the playoffs in 2012 after missing outthis year, and the teams star forward believes that process could start withthis win.We have a great core group of guys and I think we canreally build on that, Wondolowski said. Its just one of those things thatstoo little, late, its just unfortunate. I think we have a great group of guysand were going to build and one things for sure: I think well be moremotivated coming in and we have a bitter taste in our mouth right now.For more Earthquakes, MLS and world soccer chatter,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.