Earthquakes

Real Salt Lake vs. Earthquakes: What to watch for

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Real Salt Lake vs. Earthquakes: What to watch for

Programming note: The Earthquakes kick off against Real Salt Lake Saturday at 7:30 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet California.

The last two times these clubs met, the San Jose Earthquakes moved ahead of Real Salt Lake for the Western Conference lead.RSL will try to return the favor this time.San Jose goes for the season sweep of Real Salt Lake on Saturday night at Buck Shaw Stadium.After Simon Dawkins and Chris Wondolowski scored in second-half injury time to lift San Jose to a 3-1 home win over RSL on April 21 - moving the club atop the West for the first time since returning to MLS in 2008 - the Earthquakes (11-4-4) posted a 2-1 victory at Rio Tinto Stadium on June 23 to move a point ahead of Real Salt Lake.Now with that same edge over second-place RSL (11-6-3), San Jose will try to avoid a season high-tying three-match winless stretch following last Saturday's scoreless draw at conference-worst FC Dallas.Down a man in the 80th minute when captain Ramiro Corrales was sent off for picking up his second yellow card, the Earthquakes still had a number of opportunities to find the back of the net."Whether you're down a man or up a man, when you're one-on-one with the goalkeeper, you still need to finish it and we didn't do that," said Wondolowski, the league leader with 14 goals.The suspended Corrales now has to hope his team can finish the sweep of RSL without him."(It would be) a big, big confidence boost," he told the league's official website. "Obviously, they're one of the better teams in the league, that's why they're one point behind us. ... I'm very disappointed I won't be a part of that, but I think the guys can do the job."Wondolowski has one goal in each of the two matches with RSL in 2012 after going scoreless in his first five games against Real Salt Lake.RSL forward Alvaro Saborio is scoreless versus San Jose this season, but he's coming off the second hat trick in club history in last Saturday's 3-0 win over Portland. Saborio, third in MLS with 10 goals, snapped the club's 249-minute scoreless stretch in the 60th minute."The goal - it opens everything," he said. "We finally scored first and got a win."Forward Justin Braun could make his Real Salt Lake debut Saturday when the club goes for its first back-to-back victories since a 3-0 run May 12-June 16.Braun, a Salt Lake City native, was acquired from Montreal on Wednesday for a 2014 conditional draft pick."Really excited to add Justin," general manager Garth Lagerwey told RSL's official website. "Big, athletic player that I think can play either one of the forward spots for us."In six games against San Jose while with Chivas USA, Braun had four goals and an assist.The Earthquakes should have forward Steven Lenhart back after coach Frank Yallop gave him last Saturday off to rest.Alan Gordon, who replaced Lenhart in that match for his third start of 2012, scored and set up Wondolowski's goal last month in Sandy, Utah.San Jose has never won three in a row against Real Salt Lake.

Quakes announce hiring of new head coach: 'We are an ambitious club'

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MLSSoccer.com

Quakes announce hiring of new head coach: 'We are an ambitious club'

SAN JOSE - The San Jose Earthquakes announced Friday that the club has hired Mikael Stahre (Michael STAR-eh) as head coach. Stahre brings 11 years of head coaching experience in top European leagues to San Jose. Chris Leitch and Alex Covelo, who spent the final four months of the 2017 season as head coach and assistant coach, respectively, will return to their roles as technical director and director of methodology.

"After a thorough evaluation process, we are excited that Mikael will be joining our club," said Earthquakes general manager Jesse Fioranelli. "What stood out with Mikael are not only the cups his teams won and his consistency over the past 10+ seasons, but also his ability to identify with our players, our coaching staff and most importantly our goals."

"I would like to take this occasion to thank Chris [Leitch] for his dedication to the club," continued Fioranelli. "We would not be where we are today without the contributions of Chris and Alex [Covelo] on the coaching staff. I look forward to working with him as he resumes his role as technical director. We are a special club with special people."

Stahre, 42, comes to San Jose after one year as the head coach of BK Hacken in the Swedish top-flight Allsvenskan. During his lone season with the club, Stahre led the team to a 14-6-10 record, a +14 goal-differential, the third-fewest goals allowed in the league (28) and a fourth-place finish. Stahre elevated Hacken from 10th place in 2016 with an 11-12-7 record to a top-four finish for the first time since 2012.

"We are very excited to bring Mikael in to lead us forward and build on the momentum of this past season," said Earthquakes President Tom Fox. "We are an ambitious club and believe his extensive experience and track record will bring a strong presence to our locker room and will put us firmly on the path to success."

Stahre, from Stockholm, Sweden, began his coaching career in 2007 with FC Vasby United of the Swedish third-tier. Under his guidance, FC Vasby finished in second place with a 15-5-6 record and the third-best offense in the league, earning promotion to the second-tier Superettan. He remained with the club for one more year, finishing mid-table despite possessing the youngest team in the league, before moving to AIK in 2009.

"I am very proud to be the new head coach of the San Jose Earthquakes and for the opportunity to work with Jesse Fioranelli and the other members of the organization," said Stahre. "I'm going to give everything I have to the Quakes and I am very excited about being a part of the future of the club."

Inheriting a team that had finished in fifth place the year before, Stahre led AIK to a league championship in his first season. The club went 18-5-7 with a league-low 20 goals allowed in 30 games, marking their first Swedish title since 1998. That same year, AIK won the Swedish Cup, comparable to the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, with a perfect 5-0 record in single-elimination play.

After winning the double, Stahre had a stint with Panionios in Greece before moving back to Sweden to take charge of IFK Goteborg ahead of the 2012 Allsvenskan season. Stahre again quickly led his side to silverware, with IFK winning the 2012-13 Swedish Cup. In 2013, IFK rose from a mid-table club to third place (16-8-6), ranking among the league-leaders in goals for (49, t-4th) and goals against (31, 3rd). IFK made another jump the following year, finishing second with a 15-4-11 record and a +24 goal-differential. He also gave increased opportunity to youth players such as 18-year-old forward Gustav Engvall and 20-year-old fullback Ludwig Augustinsson. The duo finished No. 1 and No. 2 in Newcomer of the Year voting and have both gone on to represent the Swedish National Team, who are bound for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

After his three successful seasons with IFK, Stahre's next challenge was to take over Dalian Aerbin (Yifang), who had just been relegated from the Chinese Super League to League One. In his first season in China in 2015, Stahre led Dalian Aerbin to a third-place finish with a 17-6-7 record and the league's second-best goal-differential (+24), narrowly missing out on promotion. He remained with the team for half of the 2016 season, exiting after a 10-6-2 start to the campaign, and returning to Sweden to take over Hacken in January of 2017.

In addition to his many years of coaching First Team football, Stahre also has experience at the youth level. He served as head coach of the Hammarby U-19s from 1994-97 and the AIK U-19s from 1998-2005, leading AIK to the junior national championship in 2004.

The assistants on Stahre's coaching staff will be announced at a later date.

San Jose Earthquakes media services

NASL-champion San Francisco Deltas fold after one season

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USATSI

NASL-champion San Francisco Deltas fold after one season

The dream is no more. 

San Francisco Deltas' CEO Brian Andres Helmick ended speculation on Friday when he released a statement announcing the end of the team after one season in the North American Soccer League -- a DII professional league in the USSF pyramid. 

The Deltas are fresh off claming the NASL's championship in front of a sold-out crowd at Kezar Stadium, But even that wasn't enough to save a franchise who admittedly was struggling to stay afloat. 

"We are closing down the San Francisco Deltas," Helmick wrote. "As many of you have said, this journey that started in 2015 has the makings of a movie with character-defining struggles, heroic moments, painful defeats, and overcoming seemingly impossible hurdles all culminating in a dream come true on Sunday, November 12th when the SF Deltas were crowned the national champions after defeating the New York Cosmos — arguably the most storied brand in U.S. Soccer history. I’ll never forget the scene of thousands of fans storming the field. Now that the celebration has come to an end, players and coaches have been released from their contracts. We will not leave any loose ends and everybody will be paid what they’re owed for 2017 — including players, coaches, staff, partners and vendors."

In 32 league games, the Deltas amassed a 14-12-6 record and advanced to the fourth round of the U.S. Open Cup tournament where they lost to the San Jose Earthquakes. 

"In hindsight we have not been perfect," Helmick said. "Far from it. We have learned so much from this adventure and we will begin organizing our thoughts and learnings that led to us to make this decision. Our hope is to share them for the benefit of others who are interested in developing the sport here in San Francisco or in other cities. I firmly believe that via transparency and collaboration we can improve the sport we all love."

In response to the Deltas news, the NASL released the following statement: 'In San Francisco, it’s unfortunate that the Deltas’ business plans did not materialize in the way they had hoped. We remain a big believer in the market, as evidenced by the atmosphere and crowd at The Championship Final earlier this month, and we still believe that the city deserves a professional soccer team. We are in active discussions with potential ownership groups and we aim to keep professional soccer in San Francisco in the future."

The Deltas experiment is the latest to test the viability of professional soccer in San Francisco. Last Fall, another group fronted by Zappos.com founder NIck Swimurn -- San Francisco Football Club -- attempted to start a team using AT&T Park as its home stadium as part of the United Soccer League. The project and application was pulled.