Quakes expected more vs. United

For the second consecutive home game, the San Jose Earthquakes left with a 0-0 draw after Saturday night's result with D.C. United at Spartan Stadium. But the
circumstances surrounding this result were much
different than the May 14 game, in which San Jose
played well against league power FC Dallas.

"We're disappointed. We have these games at home and
we need to expect to win," said left back Wade
Barrett. "It was kind of an ugly game tonight -- we
never really got much of a flow going."

The Earthquakes were unable to penetrate D.C,'s five-man
midfield all evening and had to settle for more of a
counterattacking style. Unlike in previous matches,
including last week's 1-0 loss to Kansas City, San
Jose could not hold onto the ball for more than a few
seconds.

"It was a bit of an inconsistent performance from us
tonight," said San Jose head coach Dominic Kinnear.
"Give credit to D.C. -- they flooded the midfield and our
service to the forwards was just a bit off."

The D.C. central mid duo of Brian Carroll and Ben Olsen
did an excellent job of disrupting the San Jose
attack, while the third center midfielder, Christian
Gomez, was free to create all over the field.

"They put a lot of numbers in the midfield and we
never really had the ball for extended periods of
time," said San Jose forward Alejandro Moreno. "We
never really got into quality positions where we could
get into spaces behind them."

With the D.C. United midfield cutting off balls through
the ground, the Earthquakes looked to attack through
the air. But that's where United had a huge size
advantage with a backline anchored by 6-foot-2 Bobby
Boswell, who towered over San Jose forwards Alejandro
Moreno (5-foot-11) and Ronald Cerritos (5-foot-9).

"They play five in the midfield, and it's difficult to
get through that," said San Jose midfielder Mark
Chung, playing his first home game for his new club.
"And it was tough for our forwards to go against their
backs -- they're like seven-feet tall."

Of course, San Jose could have used the presence of
6-foot-1 forward Brian Ching, who is out with a right
hamstring strain.

"He's a tough, strong guy up there," said Chung.
"Ronald and Alejandro did a great job, but it's just
tough for those guys. We're just disappointed with the
tie."

Having conceded the vast majority of possession to D.C.
United, the Earthquakes were forced to be precise in
defense. After a poor back pass by Eddie Robinson in
the first minute of the game that nearly led to a
Jaime Moreno goal, the central duo of Robinson and
Danny Califf was extremely precise in shutting down
the potent DC attack.

"They seem to overload the attack, but we did a great
job with our communication," said Califf, also making
his home debut with the Earthquakes. "We just really
buckled down on defense. I don't think it was working
for us offensively, but everyone worked really hard on
the defensive end of the ball."

United posed unique challenges for the San Jose
defense, as their midfielders are prone to shifting
around, making it difficult to stay with marks.

"They've got tremendous attacking players -- with their
place-changing, they can cause a lot of problems if
you're not organized," said Califf. "The guys that
they've got up front are dangerous, so I think we're
happy that we got a clean sheet."

Danny Kadah is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.


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