Earthquakes

'Quakes look at offseason overhaul

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'Quakes look at offseason overhaul

SANTA CLARA -- With the Earthquakesplayoff hopes existing almost exclusively in the realm of theory the team inall likelihood will need a win to stay alive this weekend thoughts are slowlyturning towards the teams rebuilding for the 2012 season. After a largelydisappointing 2011, it is only natural to expect there will be some changeswithin the team, and head coach Frank Yallop said as much. We can clean out some people and they can go on and get onwith their careers and we can move on as a club, Yallop said of his teamsoff-season plans. While Yallop would not point to any specific players, hemade clear what he expected from his players and explained that those whowerent meeting his expectations would be the ones You should play hard every minute of every game. I know theones that do that and the ones that dont do that wont be here, so thatspretty clear, he said, clarifying that the last four games of the season wouldnot provide an opportunity to make a new impression. Yallops position his been further strengthened by the factthat he will likely have more money to make roster moves in the off-season.While the Earthquakes have generally been at or near the bottom of the leaguein terms of overall salary, comments from Yallop and general manager John Doyleindicated that the ownership group would be making money available in additionto the money freed up by departing players. It will be a busy off-season for us to add some players,but looks like we should have some good tools to do that with some money fromthe ownership group, some money from players leaving, so hopefully we canreplace them with some good quality players that we need, Yallop said. To be fair, I think well probably go both routes, Doylesaid, when asked if hed rather sign one high-salary player or a fewlower-salary players. I think were going to throw everything we can at it andownership has said that much. One potential issue for the teams management, however, isthat among the players whose future is uncertain is one that has actuallyperformed quite well in his first year with the Earthquakes young midfielderSimon Dawkins. The 23-year-old joined the team on loan from English PremierLeague outfit and Earthquakes club partner Tottenham Hotspur, and has fit rightin, having overcome a long battle with injuries. He has scored four goals and notched an assist in his 22appearances for the team, with his good vision and ball skills providing acreative spark in the teams attack. As recognition for his season ofcontributions, Dawkins was recently ranked 21st on mlssoccer.coms24 Under 24 list of the best young players in MLS under the age of 24. Simons been playing well, hes playing most weeks if hesnot injured Yallop said. If he has any hopes and dreams of going back toTottenham, which he does playing here is going to help him do that. Despite all his success with the Earthquakes, Dawkinsfuture is very much up in the air. His loan deal will end at the end of theseason and his Tottenham contract runs until 2013. While he his found a placeto get regular playing time in the Bay Area, he could very well find himself inhigher demand in the off-season, a a result of his improved play. Ive still got two more years at Tottenham, so I want toplay somewhere next season, whether it be, who knows, but Im just working hardto keep my fitness up and it will take care of itself at the end of the day, sowell wait and see, Dawkins said, though he added, Yeah, of course, whenasked if he would return to San Jose, given the opportunity. Ultimately, Dawkins goal is to return to Tottenham andbreak into the first team squad there. Its no mean feat, but for Dawkins, itsa childhood dream. Its my team when I was growing up, Ive been there since Iwas 13, Dawkins said. Its somewhere where I would like to play and if itdoes happen, then it will be a dream come true, but if it doesnt, then theresother teams around the world, so well see what we can do. With Tottenham firmly in the upper echelon of Premier Leagueteams and competition for a place in the squad fierce, it is unlikely thatDawkins will feature for the first team in the near future. In the meantime,the Earthquakes management will be hoping to cement Dawkins return for 2012 asone of the multitude of tasks ahead to restore the team to winningways.For more Earthquakes, MLS and world soccerchatter, you can follow Nick Rosano on Twitter: @nicholasrosano

Quakes crushed in Vancouver, eliminated from MLS Cup Playoffs

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Quakes crushed in Vancouver, eliminated from MLS Cup Playoffs

BOX SCORE

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.