Earthquakes defeat the Galaxy

25 08 2010

So, it’s super late — but it’s worth posting because it is a monster win for San Jose.

Busch saves the day for Earthquakes
By Julio Lara Daily Journal Staff
It’s been an up-and-down year for the San Jose Earthquakes — but they might just have hit their peak.
In what has to be seen as one of the biggest wins since their return to Major League Soccer, San Jose scored early and held on to beat the L.A. Galaxy, the team with the best record in MLS, 1-0, in front a record crowd at Buck Shaw stadium.

The win, coupled with a Colorado loss, propels the Quakes right back into the playoff picture with 29 points.

“For us to get a clean sheet against a team like that, it shows the character we have in our dressing room right now,” said San Jose head coach Frank Yallop. “We picked up three valuable points today. It’s not about how you do it, it’s about getting it done.”

How they did it shouldn’t come as a surprise anymore to anyone that follows the league — with their 8th home shutout in 2010 the Quakes have demonstrated that there might be a tougher team to score on at home than San Jose.

In their latest win the defensive conversation begins and ends with goalkeeper Jon Busch, who was anointed the starter earlier this week after Joe Cannon went down with an ankle injury.

The nine-year MLS veteran was superb between the posts for the Earthquakes, making several key saves including a pair on Landon Donovan, the U.S team star, who is loved and hated around theses parts.

“We knew we could play with them,” Busch said. “They’re probably the best team in the league right now (but) we knew we could compete with them.”

Call it the rivalry, or maybe it’s that San Jose knew that Saturday marked a big stretch of games that could determine their postseason aspirations, but the Quakes seem to have a little extra in the tank when they’ve played against the Galaxy.

Saturday marked the second time that an early goal has fueled San Jose. In Los Angeles, Bobby Convey put the Earthquakes ahead in the second minute. On Saturday Chris Wondolowski was the benefactor of a defensive miscommunication by the Galaxy in the 4th minute.

After receiving a pass by Arturo Alvarez, Convey crossed the ball into the L.A. 18. Galaxy goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts started for the ball but then let up and Wondolowski found himself alone on the end line with the ball at his feet — to his credit San Jose’s leading scorer still had to execute a shot on a difficult angle to convert the score.

Down 1-0, the Galaxy, who came back twice against the Earthquakes in late July to steal a draw, went to work. But at the end of their best efforts was Busch.

Due to injuries, San Jose is still trying to patch things up on their backline — and that showed Saturday.

Three times L.A. was gift-wrapped goals on defensive lapses by San Jose but none greater than in the 39th minute when Donovan was 1-on-1 against Busch. The San Jose keeper went low and to his left to make a marvelous save.

“If that isn’t the save of the week, there must be some amazing save,” Wondolowski said.

“I kind of block everything out,” said Busch on his approach to 1-v-1 opportunities. “I drift off into Jon Busch Land and today, it was a good place to be.”

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51 Days Until the World Cup

20 04 2010

51 days … tick tock tick tock … This was a weird week, talk about busy. I didn’t get around to writing this until the last minute. Writing Fail. Oh well, either way, we’ll be getting into the fun stuff in the coming weeks — mainly that of predicting the outcome of the groups which will be all wrong of course. Shout out to the peoples at The Offsides Rule (link is to your right) for inspiring this week’s countdown. As always, the link to the column on the J.O.B’s website is here.

49 down, 51 to go

By Julio Lara, Daily Journal Staff
We’re just about at the halfway point of our countdown and the excitement is palpable. As April winds down we’ll be heading into an important exhibition stretch for the United States — the month of May will see the Stars and Stripes play games against the Czech Republic, Turkey and Australia before they open World Cup play against England.Head coach Bob Bradley is expected to announce the final roster in the month of May as well.

So as a shout out to the boys in red, white and blue, an all U.S version of the countdown — some fun stuff, some T.V stuff and some “that’s what I’m talking about” stuff.

Mexico or burn?

There are a couple of blogs that you have to follow if you’re a fan of the U.S or soccer in general. One of my favorites as I amp myself for the World Cup is The Offsides Rule on blogspot.

Recently the people at T.O.R posted a short interview with United States star Landon Donovan — and the face of U.S soccer had some funny things to say.

Donovan was asked if he the devil made him choose between playing for the Mexican national team or burning for all eternity in hell which would he pick.

“I’ll burn, baby,” Donovan said.

Funny thing is, before Donovan went on to play for Everton during his loan from the L.A Galaxy, there were rumors that Donovan would actually play in Mexico, for Club America nonetheless (sort of like, the New York Yankees of Mexican soccer). In this same interview Donovan says that that move was actually closer than what people might think.

Other fun tidbits of useless information: Heath bar is his favorite, he started shaving when he was 12 and when playing FIFA 2010 soccer on his XBOX 360 he likes to play as Barcelona because “I want to be Messi just for one day.”

Yes, who doesn’t.

Clint on T.V

ESPN E:60, one of my favorite sports magazine show on television, will be airing a feature on Clint Dempsey today at 4 p.m.

In it Jeremy Schaap travels back with Dempsey to his grandmother’s backyard to trace the origins of the Dempsey’s playing career. It also has interview with his U.S. teammates like Tim Howard who said that Dempsey is “hard nose, doesn’t take crap from anyone, he goes 100 miles an hour and doesn’t back down.”

Dempsey has been battling injuries in the months leading up to South Africa. He’ll sit out Fulham’s quarterfinal leg of the Europa League due to a nagging thigh injury which he sustained in a 2-1 victory over Wigan in the English Premiere League.

More Altidore

Not too long ago we mentioned on the countdown that Jozy Altidore was quoted as saying some things about the U.S and their pending World Cup match-up against England.

He later denied his quotes on Twitter and personally, I rather disappointedly, took him for his word.

But an interview has surfaced on goal.com (who credits FIFA.com in their article) where a confident Altidore speaks out about the Stars and Stripes and their participation in South Africa 51 days from now.

“We’ll be up against a world force in England and two quick teams in Slovenia and Algeria, and I think these opponents really suit our style of play,” Altidore said.

“We’re up to the challenge and the English will realize that when we meet them. It’ll be a tough match; no team can walk over us.”

That’s what I’m talking about,