San Jose Earthquakes vs New England Revolution 03-11-2012 - Preview

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San Jose Earthquakes
1 - 0
Final
New England Revolution
MLS Regular Season
March 10, 2012
10:30pm EST
Buck Shaw Stadium

Preview: Quakes, Revs look to start new season right

SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES vs NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION
BUCK SHAW STADIUM, Santa Clara, Calif.
March 10, 2012 (WEEK 1, MLS Game #5)
7:30 p.m. PT (CSN-CA; CSN-NE)

Two clubs looking to make returns to the MLS Cup Playoffs kick off the 2011 season against each other with the San Jose Earthquakes play host to the New England Revolution. The Quakes are trying to recapture the magic of their late-season charge two years ago, behind the goalscoring prowess of Chris Wondolowski. The Revolution have a new head coach in former defender Jay Heaps, the club's first coaching change in a decade.

REFEREE: Jorge Gonzalez. SAR (bench): Greg Barkey; JAR (opposite): Jeff Hosking; 4th: Juan Guzman
MLS Career: 72 games; FC/gm: 24.6; Y/gm: 3.3; R: 23; pens: 21

INJURY REPORT:

  • SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES -- OUT: MF Joey Gjertsen (R knee surgery); FW Alan Gordon (R hip surgery); DF Tim Ward (L non-specific soft tissue injury); QUESTIONABLE: DF Victor Bernardez (R ankle sprain); MF Jacob Hustedt (L ankle surgery)
  • NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION -- OUT: FW Zak Boggs (R ankle sprain); MF Sainey Nyassi (L hamstring strain); DOUBTFUL: FW Saer Sene (L knee swelling)

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INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

SUSPENDED: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (35 meetings): Earthquakes 19 wins (0 shootout), 65 goals ... Revolution 11 wins (2 shootout), 44 goals ... Ties 5
AT SAN JOSE (17 meetings): Earthquakes 9 wins (0 shootout), 36 goals ... Revolution 5 wins (2 shootout), 23 goals ... Ties 3

LAST YEAR (MLS):
5/21: SJ 2, NE 1 (McLoughlin 71; Convey 83 - Tierney 86)
10/8: NE 1, SJ 2 (Feilhaber 55 - Wondolowski 8, 82)

  • This is the only league meeting between the teams this season.
  • The Earthquakes won both meetings in 2011, 2-1 victories both at Buck Shaw Stadium (May 21) and at Gillette Stadium (Oct. 8).
  • The Earthquakes are carrying a four-game unbeaten streak against New England, since a 2-1 Revolution victory, Aug. 29, 2009 at Gillette Stadium.
  • Coaches record: Frank Yallop vs. NE: P17 W10 L5 D2 ... Jay Heaps vs. SJ: first game

SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES

The San Jose Earthquakes are aiming to make their return to the MLS Cup Playoffs, missing out on the postseason last year after a thrilling run that ended just shy of MLS Cup 2010. The Quakes finished seventh in the Western Conference a season ago.

  • The Earthquakes concluded their preseason schedule with a dominating 5-0 victory against Chivas USA in the final match of the Portland Preseason Tournament. Chris Wondolowski, Justin Morrow, Tressor Moreno, Sercan Guvenisik and SuperDraft selection Sam Garza scored for San Jose.
  • Here's the Earthquakes team: Jon Busch, Steven Beitashour, Ike Opara (Jason Hernandez 46), Justin Morrow, Ramiro Corrales, Marvin Chavez (Sam Garza 74), Sam Cronin, Rafael Baca, Shea Salinas (Tressor Moreno 63), Chris Wondolowski (Sercan Guvenisik 79), Steven Lenhart (Khari Stephenson 63).
  • Chris Wondolowski, who has scored 34 goals in last two seasons and finished atop the MLS goalscoring charts in each year, scored four times in preseason play.
  • "We brought in some great guys, especially offensively, and I think that's really going to help produce [goals] and be very dangerous in the attack," Wondolowski said. "I know other guys are going to be scoring a lot, but I think goal totals in general - and general play for us - will improve."
  • Wondolowski still feels he can reach the 15-goal mark in 2012. Each of the last two seasons, his total has been marked by late-season surges.
  • "It's just one of those things were everyone goes out and tries to do their part, and the style of play we have, we like to get the ball wide and whip crosses in," he said. "Those guys were doing their job, and it was my job to try to get on the end of it. I don't think it was too dependent, I just think it was the style of play that we had."
  • Steven Lenhart, who missed the second-half of the season last year for personal reasons, has returned to form in the preseason. He has partnered Wondolowski in attack and scored in his first preseason start, a 2-0 win against Chicago on Feb. 19 in Oxnard, Calif.
  • The Quakes reached terms with Tottenham Hotspur FC in England to have Simon Dawkins return for a second season on loan. Dawkins had six goals and two assists in 26 appearances for San Jose in 2011.
  • "I think that Simon can play on the left side and had success there for us," Earthquakes general manager John Doyle said. "[But] I wouldn't say that that's a certainty. Simon can play second forward, he can play forward, he can play in the middle of midfield. He's a very versatile player, which is great for us. I think we have a much deeper team than we've had in the past and that's a good thing and a bad thing for a coach."
  • Center back Ike Opara, who missed the majority of last season through injury, was called into the U.S. U-23 national team and scored in a 2-1 win against FC Dallas on Feb. 23.

OFFSEASON TRANSACTIONS

  • IN: D Danleigh Borman (12/5: Re-Entry Stage 1/Toronto); F Nate Jaqua (12/12: Re-Entry Stage 2/Seattle); M Clyde Simms (12/12: Re-Entry Stage 2/D.C. United); D John Lozano (1/9: free/America de Cali); M/F Fernando C·rdenas (1/9: free/America de Cali); M Kelyn Rowe (1/12: SuperDraft); D Tyler Polak (1/12: SuperDraft); M Rick Smith (1/17: supplemental draft); M Alec Purdie (1/17: supplemental draft); D Kevin Garcia (1/17: supplemental draft); F Mike Roach (1/17: supplemental draft); F Jose Moreno (2/2: loan/Once Caldas); F Saer Sene (2/13: free: Bayern Munich); M Lee Nguyen (3/2: waiver draft); F Blake Brettschneider (3/6: free); M Alec Purdie (3/6: free); M Michael Roach (3/6: free)
  • OUT: F Alan Koger (11/23: waived); D Otto Loewy (11/23: waived); M Andrew Sousa (11/23: waived); F Milton Caraglio (11/30: option declined); F Monsef Zerka (11/30: option declined); D Ryan Cochrane (12/1: option declined); M Franco Coria (12/1: option declined); M Pat Phelan (12/1: option declined); F Kheli Dube (12/12: Re-Entry Stage 2/Chicago); F Rajko Lekic (1/31: free/Lyngby); F Zack Schilawski (3/5: waived); M Ryan Kinne (3/5: waived)

NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION

For the first time since 2002, someone other than Steve Nicol is in charge of the New England Revolution. Longtime stalwart Jay Heaps moves from the broadcast booth to the bench to take the reins, trying to end a two-year playoff drought. Last year, the Revolution finished in ninth place in the Eastern Conference, tied for the fewest points in MLS.

  • The Revolution completed their four-game run in the Desert Diamond Cup in Tucson, Ariz. without a loss in regulation play. They won their three group play matches, then lost in the final on penalty kicks to the LA Galaxy following a scoreless draw.
  • Here's the Revolution team vs. LA: Matt Reis, Chris Tierney (Darrius Barnes 46), A.J. Soares (John Lozano 46), Stephen McCarthy, Kevin Alston, Benny Feilhaber, Shalrie Joseph, Clyde Simms (Austin da Luz 71), Kelyn Rowe (Ryan Guy 79), Blake Brettschneider (Fernando Cardenas 66), Saer Sene
  • "We showed that at times we can play, but when we can't, we have to make sure we know how to fight," Revolution head coach Jay Heaps said. "By being undefeated in this tournament, you show some character, you show some resolve and you show some fight. Those were things, day one, we wanted to make sure the guys know that's important to us as a staff and they came out and showed that."
  • The draw in the preseason finale was the only blemish on the Revolution's record in their first preseason under Heaps.
  • "We feel like we've made steps," Heaps said. "It's very cliche, but I say all the time: Every time we step on the field, we want to make a step forward. There are areas where we feel we have strengths, and there are areas for improvement."
  • Heaps was looking for the match to serve as a final dress rehearsal before the season opener, and planned to trot out a first-choice XI.
  • "As a coaching staff, it's our job is to manage the minutes right now, so from this preseason, we've had [core] players back," Heaps said. "We've wanted to make sure we're getting minutes for certain players in the right way. Going into the final game, we're hitting stride on our Saturday-Saturday-Saturday schedule that I think will help prepare us as we start the beginning of this year."
  • Both Kevin Alston and A.J. Soares started vs. the Galaxy after missing time during the tournament through injury. Ryan Guy was also able to return from a calf injury and play the final 11 minutes as a substitute, after figuring in the match vs. RSL.
  • The Revolution made three signings early in the week, adding forward Blake Brettschneider and midfielders Alec Purdie and Michael Roach. Brettschneider spent 2011 with D.C. United. Earlier, the Revolution had waived midfielder Ryan Kinne and forward Zack Schilawski.
  • The Revs also picked up former U.S. national team midfielder Lee Nguyen after he was waived by Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
  • "We were a little shocked to see his availability," admitted Heaps. "You want to do your due diligence and make sure there wasn't a reason [he was waived] or there wasn't anything that was blaring. We did a little bit of reconnaissance and found out that it was just a matter of a numbers crunch up there in Vancouver. So we want to make sure that we give him an opportunity to succeed."

OFFSEASON TRANSACTIONS

  • IN: M Clyde Simms (12/12: Re-Entry Stage 2/D.C. United); D John Lozano (1/9: loan/America de Cali); M/F Fernando C·rdenas (1/9: loan/America de Cali); M Kelyn Rowe (1/12: SuperDraft); D Tyler Polak (1/12: SuperDraft); M Rick Smith (1/17: supplemental draft); M Alec Purdie (1/17: supplemental draft); D Kevin Garcia (1/17: supplemental draft); F Mike Roach (1/17: supplemental draft); F Jose Moreno (2/2: loan/Once Caldas); F Saer Sene (2/13: free: Bayern Munich); M/F Lee Nguyen (3/2: waiver draft); F Blake Brettschneider (3/6: free)
  • OUT: F Alan Koger (11/23: waived); D Otto Loewy (11/23: waived); M Andrew Sousa (11/23: waived); F Milton Caraglio (11/30: option declined); F Monsef Zerka (11/30: option declined); D Ryan Cochrane (12/1: option declined); M Franco Coria (12/1: option declined); M Pat Phelan (12/1: option declined); F Kheli Dube (12/12: Re-Entry Stage 2/Chicago); F Rajko Lekic (1/31: free/Lyngby); F Zack Schilawski (3/5: waived); M Ryan Kinne (3/5: waived)