Shaky Start For Earthquakes in Opener

28 03 2010

A couple of things that aren’t in the article, we’ll call them game notes:

• Like I mentioned, I met two bloggers from Real Salt Lake, Randy and Tyler, with www.realsoccernation.com. They were awesome guys to watch the game with. As we watched the game, during Espindola’s athletic maneuver when he leaped over the barrier on the sidelined after being ‘pushed’ Tyler couldn’t help but laugh.

According to him, Espindola is a member of the frequent flopper club – saying that he would bet any amount of money that Espindola wasn’t even touched in that moment of flash. In the words of Tyler “he’s the Vlade Divac of Real Salt Lake.”

That made me laugh.

• One thing I couldn’t help but notice is the horrible footing at Buck Shaw. Actually, it’s something I remember from the games I covered last season. After watching the game, it seems things have gotten worse.

Cornell Glen must have slipped four or five times and it definitely affected plays.

As people kept eating it on the pitch, I told Tyler that it would make for quite an interesting drinking game: every time a player slips, take a drink.

After chuckling for a second he said, “yeah it would. We’re from BYU though, so we don’t drink.”

Oops, Religion fail.

• Saturday’s crowd of 10,589 was a record for a season-opener. It was quite fitting given that as fans entered the game they were handed signs that read, “Build It Now,” a reference to New Earthquakes Stadium, the proposed new home for the Quakes. Packing the season opener only days after the CBA was announced is huge. The proposed stadium will seat 15,000. You can read more about it at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Earthquakes_Stadium.

• You won’t find a more dejected place in all the Bay Area than the Earthquakes locker room after the game. All the players looked to be really down and almost shocked I’d say.

One moment summed it up for me – as Arturo Alvarez walked by Andre Luiz locker and said, “que feo el partido, no?”

Translation: what an ugly game, no?

• What do you give me for defender Jason Hernandez and Zach, from Team Blackout?

Video and article below …

Shaky start for Earthquakes in Opener

By Julio Lara • Daily Journal Staff

Heads hung low in the San Jose Earthquakes locker room Saturday night.

For the players who had been through a 2009 season that netted a last place finish in the Western Conference of Major League Soccer one look prevailed: a long fearful stare that seemed to scream “oh my god, here we go again?”

It was an inevitable emotion following an ugly 3-0 defeat in the 2010 season opener in front a sold-out Buck Shaw stadium. Both teams came into the contest with a lot to prove and both made very distinct statements.

“A 3-0 loss in the home opener, there’s nothing positive out of that,” said Earthquakes goalkeeper Joe Cannon. “But at the same time, I know we’re a better team. Maybe it was just a bad night and we can say it was unlucky, but it wasn’t luck.”

“Obviously (it’s) not the start we wanted at home here,” said Earthquakes head coach Frank Yallop. “When you lose 3-0 there’s not much I can say that was positive.”

It was definitely not the start the Earthquakes were hoping for following a 2009 campaign where they stumbled to a 1-7-2 start (including 1-0 loss to New England in the home opener), a victory, or even a good showing, was a necessity for the Quakes.

Instead, all the questions about whether it will be another long year in San Jose are already swirling only 90 minutes into a new season.

While the final score is an ugly sight for Quakes, there’s more than what meets the eye.

It did take two world-class goals by Javier Morales, a pretty finish by Fabian Espindola and a red card to beat San Jose. This year’s version of the club maintained steady pressure on Real for the majority of the game and had their fair chances to but the ball in the back of the net.

Real seized the lead in the 14th minute on a Morales gem, a strike from 35-yards out words could do no justice to, a goal that even Yallop said was one of the best he’s ever seen during his time with San Jose. They went up 2-0 on an Espindola goal that had a little flare to it as well. The second was a bit more disheartening as a Morales pass sliced right down the heart of the San Jose defense. It took some great finishing by Espindola to complete the deed, a chip over a helpless Cannon.

Espindola and Morales gave the Earthquakes fits the entire game.

“All game he (Morales) was moving around, making it tough for midfielder to track him,” said San Jose defender Ike Opara, the Earthquakes’ top pick of the 2010 draft out of Wake Forest. “The first goal we turned it over (and) we lost track of him again in the midfield, he picked up the ball and the first goal was just a world-class strike. There was not too much Joe (Cannon) could do about it. We didn’t necessarily get beaten behind too many times (and) we were pretty good at keep things in front of us.”

Already down 2-0 at half, things went from bad to worse to even worse in a matter of minutes for the Quakes.

In the 52nd minute Chris Leitch was sent off with a red card following a foul on Espindola just outside the penalty box leaving San Jose to try an overcome a two-goal deficit with only 10 men.

That deficit quickly climbed two-minutes later when Morales executed the direct kick to exquisite perfection as he bent the ball to Cannon’s outside post placing it in the upper V for a 3-0 Real Salt Lake lead. You couldn’t have hand-placed the ball any better.

That goal doubled Morales’ total for the game and the entire 2009 season.

San Jose’s closest chance to salvage anything for the match came in the 61st minute when Arturo Alvarez, who seemed absent for the Quakes on the left wing for the majority of the game, hit iron on a laser beam — but with only 10 players and the lack of a true finisher, a comeback of any sorts was a tall order for San Jose.

“We created some chances,” Alvarez said, “we didn’t take advantage of it and that hurt us in the end.”

___________________

The San Jose Earthquakes began their 2010 season on a down-note last night in San Jose in front of a record opening night crowd. The lost was pretty ugly actually.

I got to cover the game and my story will come out in Monday’s edition of the Daily Journal (www.smdailyjournal.com) but here’s a small preview. I’ll have some time later tonight to post some notes about the game. A shout out to a couple of writers, Tyler and Randy from the Real Soccer Nation blog who traveled all the way from Salt Lake City to cover the match. Tyler said they made the trip in 10.5 hours and got a speeding ticket in Nevada. Freaking cops. Haha. You can read their blog @ http://www.realsoccernation.com/

I’ve also posted some video from the news conference following the game. And if I ever figure out how to upgrade this thing, I’ll post some sound bites as well. Enjoy.

(updated above)

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One response

31 03 2010
Tyler

Hey,

It was great to meet you at the game. Love the article. Thanks for the mentions. Hope to see you in Salt Lake for the game here.

Best of luck to the Earthquakes.

Tyler

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