Earthquakes

Quakes affiliate folds, withdraws USL bid

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AP

Quakes affiliate folds, withdraws USL bid

San Francisco Football Club, a group owned by Zappos.com founder and Warriors minority ownership group member Nick Swinmurn, will announce they withdrew their application and bid to become a United Soccer League franchise.

In speaking exclusively to NBCSports.com/BayArea, Swinmurn revealed his group tried to secure AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants, as his team’s home stadium with the 2019 season as their targeted inaugural campaign. 

However, an inability to secure enough dates — with Major League Baseball and the USL running concurrent seasons and the venue’s extensive private events calendar — became an obstacle too great for the group to overcome. 

Swinmurn will also announce the end of Burlingame Dragons FC, the Division IV and Premier Development League affiliate of the San Jose Earthquakes. 

“It was a ‘go big or go home’ scenario’” Swinmurn said, adding that the team turned it attention from building a new stadium in Burlingame for SFFC to 24 Willie Mays Plaza when environmental and parking issues mounted with the city. According to Swinmurn, the cost for the new 6,000-seat stadium near SFO would have been $3 million. 

Initial plans were to play in front of 5,000 fans at AT&T Park — a venue with an extensive history of hosting world-class teams like Chelsea, Juventus and Club America. And according to Swinmurn, had SFFC been able to secure a partnership with AT&T Park, there were several promising investors willing to pay the USL its current expansion fee of $5 million. 

“It’s a tough decision because we really believe in soccer,” Swinmurn said. “We had big dreams in the beginning but ultimately we couldn’t make it happen.” 

The announcement comes as the San Francisco Deltas, a member of the North American Soccer League who was recently downgraded to Division 3, finishes the Fall portion of their inaugural schedule — one that while successful on the field, has produced attendance numbers good for last in that league at just over 2,400 fans a game.

The dismantling of Burlingame Dragons FC marks the end of a three-year run as the Quakes’ PDL affiliate. In three seasons, Dragons FC made the playoffs twice and produced MLS players like Nick Lima (Earthquakes), Joshua Smith (New England Revolution) and Brian Wright (Revolution). 

Wondo remains one goal behind Landon Donovan, Quakes-Rapids play to draw

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USATSI

Wondo remains one goal behind Landon Donovan, Quakes-Rapids play to draw

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE -- Tim Howard had his fifth shutout of the season and the Colorado Rapids played the San Jose Earthquakes to a 0-0 draw Sunday in a match between the worst teams in the Western Conference.

Colorado (7-19-7) was trying to win consecutive games for just the third time this season. San Jose (4-20-8) snapped a six-match losing streak.

San Jose goalkeeper James Marcinkowski had his first clean sheet. The Earthquakes haven't conceded a home goal to Colorado since a 1-1 draw on May 18, 2013.

Earthquakes hire former Chivas boss Matias Almeyda as head coach

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AP

Earthquakes hire former Chivas boss Matias Almeyda as head coach

The Earthquakes filled their month-old head coaching vacancy with an ambitious hire, tabbing former Chivas Guadalajara manager Matias Almeyda to lead the team in 2019. Interim head coach Steve Ralston will coach San Jose for the remaining two games of the 2018 season.

Almeyda won five trophies with Chivas, leading the Mexican giants back towards the top of the Liga MX table. Chivas won the Liga MX Clausura in 2017, the Copa MX twice, and the Supercopa MX once. The 44-year-old's three-year tenure with the club culminated with a CONCACAF Champions League title this past season, after Chivas beat MLS champions Toronto FC on penalties. 

The Earthquakes, meanwhile, are in the worst season in club history. With two games to go, the club sits last in the league table, 27 points out of a playoff spot. San Jose has not won a trophy since winning the MLS Supporters' Shield in 2012. 

Alemyda said Monday that he had options to manage elsewhere, but did not have the same feeling that he did about the Earthquakes.

"There's no ideal location or style in soccer," the 44-year-old said through a translator at his introductory press conference on Monday  (via ESPN). "I like to go places where there are good conditions, good options, good creativity, and seriousness in the project. That's why I'm here. To be honest, I had other opportunities to go other places but in none of them did I feel like I feel here. This is a new project, a new country, a new life for both me and my family. I feel very good about it, and we're excited."

Almeyda previously managed River Plate, leading the legendary Argentine club back to the top division in 18 months at the helm. He did the same in a little over two years at Banfield, and both teams remain in the Argentine Primera División.

A former defensive midfielder, Alemyda played for River Plate, Sevilla, Lazio, Parma, and Inter Milan in a 20-year career. He won three Argentine Primera División titles and a Copa Libertadores playing for River Plate, as well as a Serie A title with Lazio. Almeyda was also capped 35 time by the Argentine national team, winning a silver medal at the 1996 Summer Olympics.