San Jose beats New England 2-0

20 04 2010

The Earthquakes don’t look like the same Earthquakes I saw a couple of weeks ago against Real Salt Lake. I must say, I felt that were much improved. While I did miss my boy Arturo Alvarez (who was scratched because of an injury) it was nice to see youngsters like Wondolowski and Opara step their games up.

Credit goes to the SJEarthquakes website for the picture below. As always, the link to the story on my newspaper’s website is here.

San Jose Earthquakes off to good start
By Julio Lara Daily Journal Staff
Don’t look now, but the San Jose Earthquakes are starting to put things together.
It’s still very early in the 2010 campaign but the Quakes played their best game of the young season defeating the New England Revolution 2-0 Saturday night. 

With the win San Jose moves to 2-1 and avenges two losses to the Revolution in 2009. 

“(It’s) one of our better performances since I’ve been back here,” said Earthquakes head coach Frank Yallop.

He might be right. San Jose hadn’t looked this good, this balanced in quite some time. Offensively they pressured New England the entire night and defensively Joe Cannon and the Quakes recorded their first shutout since October of 2009 — not surprisingly it was also the last time San Jose won a game at home.

The 2-0 outcome could have been greater if it wasn’t for the play of New England goalkeeper Preston Burpo who was superb for the Revolution in the first half. 

Twice Burpo denied Chris Wondolowski, who started in place of the injured Arturo Alvarez up front, on point blank chances in the box. Wondolowski’s opportunities were a product of some aggressive play by the Quakes. Steven Beltashour pushed up on a handful of occasions from his fullback position. His play opened things up nicely for San Jose. 

But the Earthquakes had nothing to show for their great effort going into halftime.

“I thought it was a great display of fighting for the ball tonight,” Yallop said. “Good things happen when you do that. We got in and regrouped and said hey, you’ve got to do exactly the same thing you did the first half.”

The first goal-scoring opportunity of the second half actually belonged to the Revolution. Only a spectacular save by Bobby Convey, who was manning the far post on a corner kick by New England, preserved the 0-0 score. After the save the Quakes went back to work on offense.

Their persistence paid off in the 57th minute and it was Wondolowski who was rewarded. The goal was actually sparked by the play and strength of Ryan Johnson who won the ball just inside the offensive third of the field, fighting off a New England defender in the process. He then threaded a beautiful ball to Wondolowski whose superb run opened him up just enough to receive the Johnson pass inside the 18 and finish with the right foot for the 1-0 lead.

The goal was the first of the season for Wondolowski who’s been playing well as of late for San Jose.

Defensively the Earthquakes looked like a different team than the one that gave up three goals to Real Salt Lake in the season opener — their was a cohesiveness to the group, better communication and a Cannon was rarely challenged for the majority of the contest.

San Jose added to their tally in the 72nd minute on a corner kick off the foot of Convey who found the head of rookie Ike Opara for his second goal of the season.

Cannon made some incredible saves as the game was dying down to preserve the shutout for the Earthquakes. 

Next up for San Jose — a trip south to face Chivas USA.

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