MLS respects timing more than dominance, so Quakes have a counterpuncher's chance

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MLS respects timing more than dominance, so Quakes have a counterpuncher's chance

The San Jose Earthquakes cheated the reaper Sunday, which is news in and of itself. I mean, they’re a playoff team so rarely that getting to a 35th game is quite the achievement, and they should not begin the arduous process of sobering up until Tuesday morning.

I mean, their playoff game with Vancouver is Wednesday night, so slapping themselves back into form is probably a priority.

They got an improbable stoppage time goal from Marco Urena Sunday against Minnesota to sneak through the back door into the final Western Conference playoff spot Sunday, their first appearance in the postseason in five years. It was as electrifying a moment as Avaya Stadium has seen since it opened, and one of the best goals in franchise history if only for its importance.

That said, the Quakes also enter the postseason with a losing record (13-14-7) and the worst goal difference (minus-21) for any playoff team in league history. They are the most cinder-based of the league’s Cinderella stories, and are dismissed with prejudice by most observers as being as one-and-done as one-and-done can be without being none-and-done.

This is a league, though, that has respected timing more than dominance. In 2016, the Montreal Impact finished last in the East and got to the conference final; in 2012, Houston (which was a relocated Quakes team) just snuck in to the postseason and reached the final; in 2005 and 2009, the worst (Los Angeles and Real Salt Lake) ended up first.

In other words, the Quakes’ pedigree, modest though it is, still allows it a counterpuncher’s chance. Its attack, which is third-worst in the league, playoffs or no, is matched by its defense, which is fourth-worst in the league. Their years as a de facto vehicle for Chris Wondolowski are coming to a close, sooner rather than later. They are in no way an elegant team. They are working on their second coach of the year (Chris Leitch).

But therein lies their mutating charm. Their postseason pedigree stinks, but there is a no compelling reason why they cannot cheat a result or two. After all, the lower scoring a sport is, the greater chance for an upset, and the Quakes’ history screams that no franchise could use one more.

So they head for Vancouver, a raucous crowd and a difficult side, carrying with them only their humble resume and the indomitable cheek demanded of the upstart. I mean, anybody in their right mind would much prefer the Whitecaps’ chances, but you gotta be who you gotta be.

Plus, the Quakes are getting a 35th game, which is more than they had a right to expect, all things considered.

Earthquakes secure spot in playoffs with clutch goal in stoppage time

Earthquakes secure spot in playoffs with clutch goal in stoppage time

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE — Marco Urena scored in the third minute of stoppage time and the San Jose Earthquakes secured a playoff spot with a 3-2 victory over Minnesota United on Sunday in their regular-season finale.

San Jose (13-14-7) needed a win for the final spot in the Western Conference after FC Dallas' 5-1 victory over the Los Angeles Galaxy. It's an unexpected run for the Earthquakes, who fired coach Dominic Kinnear midway through the season.

In the build-up to the winner, San Jose goalkeeper Andrew Tarbell sent a long ball that was chested by Victor Bernardez and headed to Quincy Amarikwa inside the 18-yard box. Minnesota goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth pushed Amarikwa's shot wide but San Jose star Chris Wondolowski chased it down for a feed to an open Urena in front of goal.

The Earthquakes have won seven of their last nine home games — with every win coming by one goal.

Wondolowski gave San Jose a 2-1 lead in the 55th with an easy redirection of Danny Hoesen cross at the back post.

Minnesota (10-18-6), which has lost nine of its last 12 road games, tied it at 2 in the 81st on Francisco Calvo's header off the crossbar.

Bay Area pro sports teams unite to donate $450K for North Bay fire relief efforts

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Bay Area pro sports teams unite to donate $450K for North Bay fire relief efforts


SANTA CLARA – Bay Area professional sports teams including the Oakland Raiders, San Francisco 49ers, Oakland A’s, San Jose Earthquakes, San Francisco Giants, San Jose Sharks and the Golden State Warriors today announced a collective donation of $450,000 to support North Bay fire relief efforts. The teams urge all of their fans to contribute to the effort. 

The teams have established a YouCaring site www.youcaring.com/firerelief for fans to donate whatever they can to support the victims of these devastating fires.  Alternatively, Bay Area fans who would like to contribute via text to relief efforts can text REDCROSS to 90999 to give $10 to American Red Cross Disaster Relief.

Firefighters from across California and neighboring states are working feverishly to contain the fires that have resulted in multiple casualties and destroyed more than 2,000 structures. The North Bay fires, which started on Sunday, October 8th, are some of the most destructive wildfires in California history, where seventeen fires have raged across parts of four counties. 

“The Raiders family expresses our deepest concern for everyone affected by the North Bay fires,” said Raiders President Marc Badain. “The Raiders have held training camp in Napa for the past 22 seasons and have formed a strong bond with communities in Napa and Sonoma counties. The Silver and Black ask the entire Raider Nation to help spread the word on how everyone can assist the region in its recovery.”

“The North Bay fires have devastated families, homes, businesses, and schools across the region, and as first responders work tirelessly to put out the fires and aid those in need, Bay Area sports teams are unified in supporting relief efforts,” said 49ers CEO Jed York. “Although we can never replace what was lost, together we can help those impacted by the fires rebuild.”

“When a tragedy hits this close to home, we feel it’s our duty to get involved and to help our community and those who have been impacted,” said A’s President Dave Kaval. “We are proud to team up with all of the Bay Area professional sports teams to support North Bay disaster relief efforts.” 

“The world has faced an unimaginable amount of tragedy and devastation in the past few months and the fires in the North Bay hit particularly close to home,” said Earthquakes President Tom Fox. “We’re happy to do our part, along with the other pro teams in the region, to help rebuild our community stronger than ever.”

“We want all the communities affected by these horrific fires to know the Giants and all of the Bay Area teams are here to support you as you recover and rebuild in the days, weeks and months ahead,” said Giants President and CEO Larry Baer.  “You are part of our family and we are holding all of you close to our hearts.”

“It is devastating to witness a region dedicated to hospitality, friendliness, and community experience such loss,” said Sharks COO John Tortora. “These are friends, family members, individuals and businesses who have a unique sense of solidarity and we generously will support relief and recovery efforts as they navigate this tragic time.”

“The North Bay is a large part of our Warriors family and we’re devastated by what they are enduring at this time,” said Warriors President and COO Rick Welts. “We are joining forces with the rest of our sports community to help relief efforts and encourage any fans who are able to help by donating as well.” 

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