Weekly update: Playoff hunt
This week's match-up
With their 1-1 tie on the road last Saturday against the Colorado Rapids, the Earthquakes have positioned themselves to wrap up a playoff berth this Saturday against the Kansas City Wizards. The game will kick off at 7 p.m. PT at Spartan Stadium and will be broadcast live on 1590 KLIV (English) and 1370 KZSF (Spanish). With a win against the Wizards, combined with a loss by the Dallas Burn against the Los Angeles Galaxy, the Quakes would clinch a playoff berth for the fourth consecutive season.
Earthquakes all-time record vs. Kansas City Wizards
MLS Regular Season: 16-14-5
Shootout: 3-4 (1996-99)
Overtime: 0-0-4 (2000-2003)
Playoffs: 1-0-0; U.S. Open Cup: 0-1-0
All-Time Scoring (Including playoffs and Open Cup): San Jose - 48, Kansas City - 44
Out: Chris Ronér (R - ankle surgery); Eddie Robinson (L - LCL sprain); Troy Dayak - caution points accumulation; Probable: Brian Ching (L - quad strain)
Earthquakes 1, Colorado Rapids 1; Saturday, October 2; Invesco Field at Mile High: Denver, Colo.
The San Jose Earthquakes used a late Dwayne De Rosario goal to come from behind and tie the Colorado Rapids 1-1 at INVESCO Field at Mile High. With the tie, the Quakes moved into sole possession of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference following the Dallas Burn's 2-0 loss to New England earlier in the day. The Quakes tied the match after the Rapids jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the 14th minute off a goal by Jean Philippe Peguero. In the 13th minute Peguero received a pass from Matt Crawford on the left side in the middle of the box. Peguero's one-time shot bounced off the top of the goal and out of danger. One minute later, Peguero would not miss, however, as he gave the Rapids a 1-0 lead. The Rapids attacked when Jordan Cila hit Crawford on the left side of the field. Crawford's cross found an open Peguero in the penalty area, and his low shot beat a sliding Onstad to give Colorado a 1-0 lead. Rapids goalkeeper Joe Cannon kept the Quakes off the board in the 45th minute on his diving save of an Ronnie Ekelund penalty kick. The play was set up moments earlier when Eddie Robinson lofted a long-ball over the Rapids defense that Donovan was able to control and maneuver into the penalty area. Donovan dribbled around Cannon, only to have the Rapids goalkeeper pull him down setting up the penalty. Ekelund stepped up to take the ensuing penalty kick, but a diving Cannon stuffed his low shot to the right. The Quakes evened the match at 1-1 in the 82nd minute when Ryan Cochrane dribbled up the right side with the ball and lofted a perfect ball over the Rapids defense to a sliding De Rosario, who pushed the ball past Cannon and make the score 1-1. The goal was the first for San Jose since Sept. 11.
Last match vs. Wizards
Kansas City Wizards 1, Earthquakes 0; Saturday, September 18; Arrowhead Stadium; Kansas City, MO
The San Jose Earthquakes lost 1-0 to the Kansas City Wizards on a goal by Diego Gutierrez in the 82nd minute, as the Wizards defeated the Quakes for the first time in six straight MLS regular season games and for the first time since July 27, 2002. Near the end of the half the Quakes picked up the pressure on Kansas City, as Troy Dayak nearly scored in the 44th minute on two consecutive chances. Jeff Agoos sent in a perfect corner kick from the left side that Dayak headed down past Wizards goalkeeper Bo Oshoniyi, but an alert Kerry Zavagnin standing on the far post was able to kick the ball away. His clearance went into the middle of the box, where a sliding Dayak hit the ball again past Oshoniyi and toward the net, only to see Zavagnin clear the ball away from danger again. The Quakes started to press forward to start the second half and had an opportunity in the 50th minute when Ching headed a long-ball up ahead to Donovan in the penalty area. Donovan beat his defender and Oshoniyi to the ball and then popped a shot over the goalkeeper's head that went just over the crossbar. San Jose continued their attack, and in the 52nd minute Richard Mulrooney dribbled into the middle of the field and fired a hard shot that Oshoniyi was able to save. Onstad was forced to again make a terrific save on Wolff in the 58th minute when Arnaud worked a give-and-go with Wolff near the top of the 18-yard box. Wolff broke into the box with the ball, but a charging Onstad managed to storm off his line and gather the loose ball. The Wizards took a 1-0 lead in the 83rd minute on a transition play when Arnaud broke down the right sideline with the ball. Arnaud then sent a low cross into the middle of the field to an open Diego Gutierrez, who fired a low shot past a diving Onstad that glanced off the left post and into the goal for the 1-0 advantage.
The Earthquakes all time regular season record in the month of October is 1-3-2.
Quakes zero in on playoff race
The San Jose Earthquakes are on the verge of clinching their fourth consecutive playoff berth and fifth in nine years after their 1-1 tie last weekend against the Rapids. With a win against the Wizards Saturday, combined with a Dallas Burn loss to the Los Angeles Galaxy, the Quakes would clinch a berth. San Jose would also virtually wrap up a spot with a win this Saturday and a Dallas tie against Los Angeles. If that scenario occurred (San Jose win, Dallas tie), the Quakes would assure themselves of at least a tie in the final standings with Dallas, who the Earthquakes face in the final regular season game at the Cotton Bowl. Right now the Quakes lead the first tiebreaker (head to head competition) with a 2-1 series lead over Dallas and the second tiebreaker (goal difference against all teams). San Jose is +6 in goal difference, while Dallas is -9. In the final game the Quakes would only need a tie or a loss of seven goals or less on Oct. 16 at Dallas to secure the playoff spot.
Playoff tickets on sale now
San Jose Earthquakes MLS Cup playoff tickets for the Western Conference semifinals are on sale now. Individual ticket prices for the Earthquakes 2004 playoff tickets are $45 (VIP), $25 (West Sideline), $15 (East Sideline and Corners) and $12 (Endzone). Youth and senior tickets are available for $12 on the East Sideline and Corners and for $10 in the Endzones. Season ticket holders should use their Playoff Game "A" ticket in their season ticket booklets for this match. Tickets can be purchased by visiting the Earthquakes Ticket Office at 100 North Almaden Ave. in downtown San Jose, by logging on to www.sjearthquakes.com, or by calling Ticketmaster at 408-998-TIXS, 415-421-TIXS, 510-625-TIXS, 925-685-TIXS, or by visiting any Ticketmaster outlet, including Tower Records, Rite Aid, and Ritmo Latino. Discounted tickets for groups of 15 or more are available by calling 408-985-GOAL. The 2004 MLS Cup Playoffs begin the weekend of October 22-24. Depending on the Earthquakes final place in the standings, the Quakes could host a home match on the weekend of October 22-24 or October 29-31. If the Earthquakes do not qualify for the playoffs, customers will be entitled to a full refund at their place of purchase.
Quakes In The Community
Tuesday, October 5
Who: Tighe Dombrowski
Where: Woodside Priory School
Details: Tighe will be visiting the youth soccer players at Woodside Priory School in Portola Valley from 3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Friday, October 8
Who: Wes Hart & Tighe Dombrowski
Where: USE Credit Union in San Jose
Details: Hart and Dombrowski will be signing autographs at the USE Credit Union in San Jose on Oct. 8 from 1 p.m. - 2 p.m.
Saturday, October 10
Who: Eddie Robinson & Ryan Cochrane
Where: Evergreen Valley College
Details: Eddie Robinson and Ryan Cochrane will be participating in the Arca Clinic taking place at Evergreen Valley College in San Jose. Eddie & Ryan will be signing autographs after the clinic. For more information, please contact our sponsorship department at 408-288-2600.
Defense holding strong
Since the All-Star break, the Earthquakes defense has been strong, allowing just seven goals in 11 games and they now rank fourth in MLS in fewest goals allowed with 33. The team has posted six shutouts in those 11 games, including four in a row from Aug. 14 - Sept. 4. The Quakes have only allowed one team, (Los Angeles, Sept. 11) to score more than one goal in a game since the all-star break. The Quakes defense has also allowed a league-low 306 shots this season.
Conway in command
Earthquakes fifth-year veteran goalkeeper Jon Conway is likely to start for the Quakes on Saturday in a crucial match-up against the Wizards at Spartan Stadium. It will be the fifth appearance of the season for Conway, his most since he played in six games in his rookie season of 2000. With a victory, Conway would improve his season record to 3-2, which would not only be a career-high, but the first time ever he has finished with a winning record. Conway's current 0.75 goals against average is a career-best.
Quakes defender Troy Dayak received a yellow card Saturday against Colorado putting him over 21 caution points. Dayak is now suspended for this Saturday's match against the Kansas City Wizards due to caution points accumulation.
Earthquakes goalkeeper Pat Onstad again lowered his goals against average by allowing just one goal in Saturday's match against Colorado. He now possesses a 1.25 goals against average, good for fifth in the league.
National team duty calls
Earthquakes forwards Landon Donovan and Dwayne De Rosario and goalkeeper Pat Onstad will participate in World Cup Qualifying on Oct. 9 and Oct. 13. Donovan has been named to the United States national team's roster for two World Cup Qualifying matches at El Salvador on Oct. 9 and against Panama on Oct. 13 at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. De Rosario and Onstad have been called into the Canadian national team for their World Cup Qualifying games on Oct. 9 at Honduras and Oct. 13 vs. Costa Rica. All three players are currently in training camps with their respective teams and will miss the Quakes Oct. 9 game against the Kansas City Wizards at Spartan Stadium. They will return for the Quakes final regular season match on Oct. 16 on the road against the Dallas Burn.
De Rosario clutch
Quakes forward Dwayne De Rosario scored his fifth goal of the season Saturday night to help the Quakes pull out a 1-1 tie against the Rapids. Of his five goals, three have come in the final 15 minutes of games. On May 22, De Rosario sealed a 4-2 win over Los Angeles with a goal in the 79th minute and then on August 7, he finished off D.C. United with an 82nd minute strike. De Rosario's goal against the Rapids came in the 82nd minute.
Cochrane notches first point
Earthquakes rookie defender Ryan Cochrane made a big impact on Saturday against Colorado with an assist on Dwayne De Rosario's tying goal in the 82nd minute. The assist was the first of Cochrane's career. The former Santa Clara Bronco has had a standout first season starting 16 matches in central defense for the Quakes.
Ching missing in action
Earthquakes leading goal-scorer Brian Ching was forced to miss the Quakes 0-0 tie with Los Angeles on Sept. 25 and their 1-1 tie with Colorado on Oct. 2 due to a strained left quadriceps. Ching suffered the injury last week during practice. Despite missing those matches, Ching is still atop the league's goal scoring charts with 11 goals this year. He is listed as probable for Saturday's crucial match against Kansas City.
Earthquakes forward Brian Ching is the league leader in goals scored with 11 ... Ching is also fifth in MLS in points with 26 on 11 goals and four assists ... Quakes forward Landon Donovan is fifth in assists with nine ... Three Quakes (Richard Mulrooney, Brian Mullan and Brian Ching) are all amongst the top ten most fouled players in MLS. Mulrooney has been fouled 79 times, Mullan 67 and Ching 62 times.
Quakes midfielder Ramiro Corrales played in his 119th game for the Quakes on Saturday vs. Colorado, moving him past Ronald Cerritos and into fourth on the all-time list in team history. Ian Russell is just two games behind Cerritos and could tie him for fifth all-time if he plays in the remaining two matches this season. Forward Dwayne De Rosario jumped into fifth place all-time in points in Quakes history (54) with his goal Saturday, just one point behind Jeff Baicher for fourth place.
Streaking vs. the Wizards
The Earthquakes are unbeaten in eight of their last 10 matches vs. Kansas City, despite dropping a 1-0 decision to the Wizards on Sept. 18 at Arrowhead Stadium. The last time the Wizards won in San Jose was on Aug. 16, 2000 in a 3-0 win.
Top Wizards players vs. Quakes
Wizards midfielder Preki has scored a total of 31 regular season points against the Quakes in 27 games ... Josh Wolff has three goals and two assists in 14 career regular season games ... Chris Klein has one goal and six assists in 24 career games vs. the Quakes ... Francisco Gomez has one goal and two assists for four points against the Quakes in 18 games.
Donovan Quakes top performer vs. Wizards
Earthquakes forward Landon Donovan has dominated the Wizards, scoring six goals and registering two assists in 12 career regular season games ... Donovan scored the game-winning goal against Kansas City in the 2003 Western Conference Championship game ... Brian Mullan has three goals and three assists in 11 regular season games.
Quakes vs. Wizards history
The Quakes lead the all-time regular season series between the two teams 16-14-5 ... The Earthquakes eliminated the Wizards from the 2003 Western Conference Championship game in overtime on Nov. 15, 2003 on a Landon Donovan goal ... Earthquakes defender Eddie Robinson scored his first career MLS goal against the Wizards on July 27, 2002 ... Earthquakes midfielder Ramiro Corrales was ejected for the first time in his MLS career against the Wizards on June 20, 1999 while with the MetroStars ... Corrales scored the game-winning goal against the Wizards in a 2-1 Quakes win on June 29, 2002 ... Brian Ching scored his first career goal and notched his first career assist against the Wizards on June 13, 2001 while with the Galaxy ... Landon Donovan scored the Quakes first-ever hat trick on Sept. 20, 2003 in a 4-1 win at Arrowhead Stadium.
Earthquakes vs. Wizards match-up
The Earthquakes took the season series from Kansas City 2-0-2 in 2003 ... The Earthquakes own a 9-4-4 all-time record over the Wizards at Spartan Stadium ... Kansas City last won a game at Spartan Stadium on August 16, 2000 in a 3-0 win ... Since 1996, San Jose has out-scored Kansas City 45-41 in regular season games ... The Earthquakes out-scored the Wizards 6-2 in four regular season games in 2003.
Earthquakes - Kansas City connections
Earthquakes forward Dwayne De Rosario played for the A-League's Richmond Kickers in 1999 under current Wizards General Manager Curt Johnson, who served as the GM for the Kickers ... Kansas City defender Jimmy Conrad played in 84 games in four seasons with San Jose before joining the Wizards in a trade in January, 2003 ... Kansas City midfielder Francisco Gomez is from Watsonville, Calif. ... Earthquakes defender Jeff Agoos and Wizards goalkeeper Tony Meola were teammates at the University of Virginia in the late 80's and were long-time teammates on the U.S. national team.
Quakes set unbeaten streak record at home
The Earthquakes set an MLS record with their August 7 win against D.C. United, extending their unbeaten streak at home to 46 games when scoring first. That streak now stands at 47 games after San Jose's win over the Dallas Burn on August 21. It started on April 3, 1999.
In all but one of their nine losses this year, the Earthquakes have only lost by one goal. The only game decided by more than one goal was on July 10 against the MetroStars in a 2-0 loss in which the Quakes conceded a penalty kick goal in second half injury time. However, forwards Landon Donovan and Brian Ching, the teams leading scorers, missed the game while traveling with the U.S. national team. The Quakes own a 2-9-0 record in one-goal games.
Mulrooney is Quakes only constant
Earthquakes midfielder Richard Mulrooney is the only member of the San Jose roster who has started and played 90 minutes in all 28 games for the Quakes in 2004. In his 2,520 minutes of play, Mulrooney has scored one goal and notched eight assists for ten points, which is the fifth highest point total on the Quakes. Mulrooney is tied for second with the most minutes played in MLS.
Quakes Closing In On .500
The Earthquakes are closing in on bringing their all-time regular season MLS record to the .500 mark. The Quakes all-time regular season MLS record is 116-120-35.
If the Earthquakes enter the half-time break with the lead, recent history suggests they will keep it. Since the beginning of the 2000 season, the Earthquakes are 42-0-5 in games when leading at the half, including 8-0-1 in 2003 and 7-0-1 in 2004.
Making the first one count
The Earthquakes were 25-2-2 in 2001 and 2002 when finding the back of the net first. The Quakes only gave up leads two times in 2002, losing 2-1 to Los Angeles on July 4 and falling 2-1 to Kansas City on July 27. The team continued that trend in 2003, possessing an 11-0-1 mark in the regular season when they scored the first goal. In 2004, the Quakes are 8-1-1 when scoring first. The Quakes gave up their lead to Los Angeles on July 4, 2004 for the first time since July 27, 2002 against Kansas City. Dating back to the 2000 season, the Earthquakes own a 47-3-4 record in their last 54 matches when they score the first goal of the game. The Quakes are also impressive in the playoffs when scoring first, posting a 6-0-0 record.