Quakes proud of effort vs. EPL's West Brom


Quakes proud of effort vs. EPL's West Brom



SANTA CLARA, Calif. For the managers on thesidelines of the Earthquakes 2-1 exhibition win over Premier League outfitWest Bromwich Albion, Tuesday nights game provided tests of two differentkinds. For West Brom, it was the teams firstgame of the 2011-2012 season following the clubs best-ever finish (11thplace) in the Premier League. For the Earthquakes, it provided manager FrankYallop a chance to test new players and perhaps find a way to rejuvenate astruggling offense. Anytime it's an exhibition game, you're a littleworried of it being a dull affair, but I thought it was good, Yallop said. Ittakes break away from our league stuff to kind of enjoy the game rather thanworry about the result, so I said to the guys, Just go out and try and enjoythe game and play some good stuff and try and win. Despite thegames status as an exhibition, the team was more than pleased with the way itpresented itself against opposition from arguably the best league in the world.Its an EPL English Premier League team. They are strong team thatfinished in the middle of the table last season. We did really well playingthem tonight, said Earthquakes forward Simon Dawkins, who is currently playingfor the Earthquakes on loan from Tottenham Hotspur, another Premier Leagueteam.RELATED: Earthquakes fixturesThe Earthquakes took an early lead over their English visitorswith a fluky 90-yard goal from rookie goalkeeper David Bingham, a former Cal standout. Binghamcollected an errant pass in his own penalty area and booted it up field.However, West Brom goalkeeper Boaz Myhill, a Modesto native, lost the ball in the sun andit took one hop over his head and into the goal. RELATED: Quakes' Bingham nets 90-yard goal in friendly
Khari Stephensonadded a second for the Earthquakes just before halftime with a trademark blisteringshot from 33 yards out. West Brom pulled oneback early in the second half after a blistering run and shot from wingerJerome Thomas. Despite some heavy pressure, San Jose stood firm and held on for the win.Yallop was indeed pleased with the performances of some of his lesserknown players, in particular highlighting the work of new signing Rafael Bacaand left back Justin Morrow. Simon Dawkins also featured in a more unfamiliarmidfield role, but adapted well. One of the hard parts of MLS is thatit's hard to take chances on players, Yallop said. You kind of go with whatyou know and you don't give many games to young players, you tend to go withexperience and don't play many young guys. It was nice to do that tonight and Ithought they all did fine, it was good. For West Brom, the gamepresented an opportunity to get back on the field after a summer break and justone week of training. With the Premier League season running fall to spring,opposite of MLS, the difference in fitness levels between the Earthquakes andtheir opponents was readily apparent. The opponents were good ofcourse, said West Brom manager Roy Hodgson.Lively, just as we expected, but I think the result's a bit harsh on us,especially as a result of the freak opening goal, apart from that I thought weplayed reasonably well.We came through injury free, the game wasplayed in a good spirit, no injuries, very few fouls, referee did a good job,so perfect workout, really, Hodgson added.The Earthquakes will make aquick return to league action, as they will travel to face the Columbus Crew onSaturday, July 16, a team that they beat 3-0 at home earlier this season. WestBrom has two more games in its preseason tour of the United States, returning to its home base in Southern California to face minor league side Ventura County Fusion beforetraveling north to take on MLS outfit Portland Timbers.For more Earthquakes, MLS and world soccer musings,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.