Quakes struggle to go on the attack

In the course of any team's Major Soccer League season, games like the San Jose Earthquakes' 1-0 loss at Arrowhead Stadium against the Kansas City Wizards on Saturday night will happen.

Earthquakes coach Dominic Kinnear felt his side could have emerged with the three points. Instead, San Jose came away with no points. The Earthquakes, who have 13 points from 10 games, ended their stretch of three games in eight days away from home with one victory and two defeats.

"I think this was one of those games that always happen to you at least once a year -- where you dominate the game and have a majority of the chances and the other team gets one chance and buries the chance," San Jose defender Danny Califf said. "You keep knocking on the door and keep knocking on the door and it never opens for you."

Jack Jewsbury's goal in the 59th minute held up for the Wizards victory, in spite of San Jose's effective play 90 minutes.

"As far as I'm concerned, maybe it's not one I should hold but maybe do better with the rebound," San Jose goalkeeper Pat Onstad said.

On the other end, the Wizards defended well enough to keep the Earthquakes from scoring.

"They defended their box well with their two middle guys (defenders Jimmy Conrad and Shavar Thomas)," Kinnear said. "We played a lot of stuff in the air. I just thought that out last pass and our final run to the box just wasn't there because of a number of factors."

The Earthquakes were shutout for the second time in 10 games, but the other shutout was devastating. The 0-0 draw on May 14 against Dallas cost San Jose three players, all injured during the game. Forward Brian Ching, midfielder Brian Mullan and defender Troy Dayak were all injured that night, Dayak for the rest of the season.

With Craig Waibel's season-ending injury on top of that, the Earthquakes have had to dig deep into the squad. Defender Chris Aloisi started his second game of the season Saturday after not having played a minute in the first seven games. Midfielder Mark Chung, acquired on May 20 from the Colorado Rapids, has stepped in for Mullan and forward Alejandro Moreno, who played in the first seven games as a substitute, has started the last two games in place of Ching.

Califf, acquired just before the start of the regular season, has joined Aloisi, captain Wade Barrett and Eddie Robinson in a defense that has surrendered only three goals in the past four games.

And the bench is not left with inexperienced players as a result. MLS veterans Ian Russell and Wes Hart both entered the game Saturday to try and help the Earthquakes score at least a game-tying goal. The Earthquakes simply could not connect on the right combination that would lead to a goal.

"Sometimes, you know, it's just not your night," Kinnear said. "I thought we played well and I told the team that I was proud of them. Sometimes the goals don't happen and they didn't tonight."

Robert Whitman 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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