Upset over England brings Iceland to its knees in tears of soccer joy


Upset over England brings Iceland to its knees in tears of soccer joy

Editor’s note: CSN Bay Area’s Senior web producer Nate Stuhlbarg planned his trip to Iceland months ago --  but he had no idea he’d be there when the national soccer team would shock the world as it did Monday against England, when it advanced to the Euro 20 16 quarterfinals.

REYKJAVIK, ICELAND -- The epicenter of the sports world fell on a small grassy knoll in the heart of Reykjavik, Iceland, on Monday evening.

With a 2-1 victory over soccer powerhouse England, the small country that prides itself on hard work miraculously punched its ticket to the quarterfinals of Euro 2016, going deeper than ever in a national tournament. 

The win immediately ended Roy Hodgson's reign as England's manager as he resigned following the embarrassing loss.

Reports claim 1/10th of Iceland's population -- close to 30,000 hooligans -- made the trip to France to support the club, but an estimated 15,000 fanatics still filled the park just off Reykjavik's main street in the world's northernmost capital of a sovereign state.

Chants of "AFRAM ISLAND" ("Afram Island" loosely translates to "Onward Iceland") rang out for 90-plus straight minutes just shy of the Arctic Circle.

Wayne Rooney quickly silenced the crowd with an early PK, but Iceland responded with two goals in the next 14 minutes and England's fate was sealed.

Per the MC's instructions following the win, the entire crowd bowed to their knees to reflect on what was accomplished. Shortly thereafter, the masses rose amidst tears, hugs, chants, dances, and flying flags to commence the celebration.

How big was the win? Numerous fans were ready to name a new Independence Day -- before the opening whistle.

There was a public viewing area set up to accommodate 3,000 people downtown, but the country needed a larger setting for Iceland's finest football showcase.

Iceland faces host country France on Sunday, July 3, in the quarterfinals with just eight teams remaining.

Poland vs Portugal. Wales vs Belgium. Germany vs Italy. And France vs The Little Country That Could.

The team clearly still believes its head coach Heimir Hallgrímsson's mantra: "I always say you can win one football match."

Defensive lapses cost Quakes in first loss of new season


Defensive lapses cost Quakes in first loss of new season


Is Saturday's road effort a sign of things to come or a new team trying to gel?

After a 2017 campaign where the San Jose Earthquakes struggled on the road -- especially defensively -- the 2018 season did not start much better in a 3-2 loss to Sporting Kansas City. 

"Of course, I am disappointed to be leaving here without points," said Quakes head coach Mikael Stahre, "but especially because in the first half and then in the first 15 minutes of the second we played really well."

The teams went into the half tied but Sporting Kansas scored twice in the second half, both times taking advantage of San Jose's gift of enough space for KC to take advantage of.

Chris Wondolowski scored for the Quakes -- putting him 10 goals away from Landon Donovan in the MLS all-time race and all alone in second place on that list. 

"I wish we could have won," Wondolowski said. "but credit to our team and Magnus [Eriksson] for putting that ball in there. To finish it was pretty cool, but hopefully we will get a couple more wins."

After conceeding a penalty halfway through the second half, Valeri Qazaishvili equalized in minute 34, following up his own header attempt and cashing in for his second goal of the seaon. 

But that would be all San Jose could muster for the majority of the second half.

Graham Zusi scored in the 56th minute on a beauty of a shot. 

Felipe Gutierrez will be awarded with the game-winner after a left-footed bullet beat Andrew Tarbell.  

San Jose (1-1-0) is winless in its last four against Sporting.

"We came here with ambition to win the game, or second best to leave with a point," Stahre said. "We fought until the end and it was really important for us to score the second goal, but I felt at halftime that we could have won the game. Then we conceded the second goal and we lost the momentum. They are a good team, but I think we can take some positive things with us."

Earthquakes media services contributed to this report.

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.