Weekly update: Playoffs arrive in SJ

Landon Donovan will start at midfield for the Western Conference.

Photo Credit: 
John Todd/MLS/WireImage.com

This Week's Match-Up

The Earthquakes qualified for the MLS Cup Playoffs Saturday night with a 2-2 tie against FC Dallas and earned the fourth seed in the Western Conference. The Quakes open defense of their MLS Cup title with a Western Conference Semi-Final match-up against the Kansas City Wizards in a two-game home-and-home aggregate goal series. Game One of the series will be played Sunday, October 24 at 2:00 p.m. PT at Spartan Stadium and broadcast live on ESPN2 and 1590 KLIV. The Quakes then travel to Kansas City for Game 2 on Saturday, October 30 at 5:30 p.m. PT at Arrowhead Stadium. The broadcast information for Game Two will be announced at a later date.

Earthquakes All-Time Record vs. Kansas City Wizards

MLS Regular Season: 16-14-6

Home: 9-4-5

Away: 7-10-1

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

Injury Report/Suspensions

Out: Chris Ronér (R - ankle surgery); Eddie Robinson (L - LCL sprain); Ronnie Ekelund (L - hamstring strain); Questionable: Troy Dayak (R - shoulder sprain); Brian Mullan (R - ankle sprain);

Last Match

Earthquakes 2, Dallas 2; Saturday, October 16, 2004; Cotton Bowl; Dallas, Texas

The San Jose Earthquakes advanced to the MLS Cup Playoffs on Saturday with a 2-2 tie with FC Dallas at the Cotton Bowl. Brian Ching and Ramiro Corrales scored for San Jose, who qualified for the playoffs for the fourth straight season and will face the first place Kansas City Wizards in the first round in a home-and-home aggregate goal series. FC Dallas took the lead in the 12th minute on an Eddie Johnson goal, as he volleyed home a beautiful cross by Jason Kreis from the right side with his left foot past a helpless Pat Onstad. Once FC Dallas scored, the Quakes seemed to pick up the pace, with Richard Mulrooney finding Brian Ching on a header that went just wide of the post. The Quakes lost Ronnie Ekelund to a strained left hamstring in the 27th minute, as Dwayne De Rosario replaced him, but then seven minutes later San Jose managed to tie the match on Ching's goal in the 34th minute. Brian Mullan received the ball on the right side and tore into the Burn penalty area, streaking past defenders before finding Landon Donovan in the middle of the box, who touched the ball forward before sending a pass up to Ching in the middle, where he headed home the tying goal past Jeff Cassar for a 1-1 game. Just two minutes later, Ramiro Corrales put the Quakes up 2-1 when he found himself on the end of another stellar effort from Mullan. Mullan took over a loose ball and tore into the penalty area, lofting a perfect pass across the area to Corrales, who headed home a ball in the far corner for a 2-1 lead. The Quakes were dealt another blow in the 53rd minute when Mullan was forced to leave the game with an injured ankle, and in the 62nd minute the Burn evened the score at 2-2 on a goal by Oscar Pareja. After a throw-in by Carey Talley soared into the middle of the field, Simo Valkari jumped up and headed the ball toward the Quakes goal. Kreis touched the ball down to Pareja, who was inside the Quakes defense and he managed to send the ball past Onstad to make it 2-2.

Last Match vs. Wizards

Kansas City Wizards 0; Earthquakes 0; Saturday, October 9; Spartan Stadium; San Jose, Calif.

The San Jose Earthquakes earned a 0-0 tie against the Kansas City Wizards, as a crowd of 25,311 saw the Quakes create a number of clear chances, but the post and Wizards goalkeeper Bo Oshoniyi kept the Quakes off the board. The Earthquakes started the game applying pressure early to the Kansas City goal. In just the second minute Brian Mullan received a pass on the left side of the penalty area and beat his defender before sending a dangerous cross to Ian Russell in the middle of the Wizards six-yard box. As Russell attempted to tap the ball past the goalkeeper, the Wizards defense collapsed and knocked the ball away. The Quakes continued to pressure on corner kicks throughout the first half as they created two more clear-cut opportunities three minutes apart. After a save from Oshoniyi on a Todd Dunivant shot, Mulrooney served a corner to the near post, but Ryan Cochrane's twisting header bounced off the post. Two minutes later in the 34th minute, Ching elevated for a header on another Mulrooney corner kick and drove it on goal, but Oshoniyi dove to his right to make the save. The Quakes had one of their best opportunities of the night in the 82nd minute as Richard Mulrooney recovered the ball off a Wizards turnover and dribbled towards the goal before unleashing a shot from 22 yards out that deflected off a diving Oshoniyi's arm and off the bottom of the crossbar. A charging Ching was unable to put the rebound away.

Misc. Notes

In October

The Earthquakes all time regular season record in the month of October is 1-3-4.

Playoffs Against the Wizards

The Quakes and Wizards have met only once in the MLS Cup Playoffs, as they squared off in the 2003 Western Conference Championship on Nov. 15, 2003 at Spartan Stadium. Despite falling behind by a goal twice, the Quakes came back to win on Landon Donovan's golden goal in the 27th minute of overtime. Manny Lagos and Brian Mullan also scored in the match for the Quakes, while Igor Simutenkov and Chris Klein netted goals for Kansas City.

Playoff Format

A total of eight teams advanced to the MLS Cup Playoffs, with the top four teams from the Eastern and Western Conference pairing off within their own Conference. The top team in each group will face the fourth place team, while the second and third place squads will square off. The Conference Semifinal series will be conducted under a home-and-home, aggregate goal format to determine which two teams will advance to the single elimination Conference final match. The higher-seeded team will host both the Conference Semifinal Game Two and the Conference Championship. Game One of the Conference Semifinal ends after 90 minutes ... If teams tied on aggregate after Game Two, 30-minute, golden-goal overtime period follows (played in two equal 15-minute halves), then by penalty kicks (if necessary) to determine Series winner ... Higher seed holds home-field advantage for Game Two ... Conference Championship Games and MLS Cup 2004, if tied after 90 minutes, determined by 30-minute, golden-goal overtime (two equal halves) ... If neither team scores during that time, the series will be decided via penalty kick shootout held according to FIFA regulations.

Playoff Games At Spartan Stadium

The Earthquakes have been at the top of their game at home in the playoffs. Since 1996, the Quakes have posted a 5-1 record at Spartan Stadium and outscored opponents 17-6 in those six games.

Donovan Equals Career High

With an assist against the Burn on Saturday night, Quakes forward Landon Donovan tied his career high with his 10th assist of the season. He also had 10 assists in 2001, his first season in MLS. Donovan finished tied for second in MLS with his 10 assists.

Donovan Playoff Peak Performer

In his three previous trips to the MLS Cup Playoffs, Landon Donovan has been unstoppable for the Quakes. In 2001, he led the Quakes to the MLS Cup Championship by scoring five goals and dishing out two assists in six games. The following season, he notched a goal and an assist in two games, but San Jose was swept 2-0 by the Columbus Crew. Last year, the two-time Honda U.S. Soccer Player of the Year scored four goals and notched two assists as he again led San Jose to the MLS Cup Championship. In 12 playoff games, Donovan has scored 10 goals and recorded five assists for 25 points. He is currently fifth all-time in points (25), second in goals (10) and second in points per game (2.08) in MLS postseason history.

Agoos Experienced

Quakes captain Jeff Agoos is one of the most experienced performers in MLS Cup Playoff history as he is second all-time in games played (35), games started (35) and minutes played (3197).

Quakes in Playoffs

San Jose has been one of the best offensive and defensive teams in MLS postseason history. As a team, the Quakes have scored 28 playoff goals and allowed 19. They are first in goals per game (1.87) and third in goals against average (1.27).

Playoff Iron Men

During the Quakes playoff runs the past three seasons only three players have played in all 12 playoff matches, Jeff Agoos, Landon Donovan and Ian Russell.

Mulrooney Playoff Assist Leader

Quakes midfielder Richard Mulrooney is the club's all-time leader in playoff assists with six.

Onstad's Strong Sophomore Season

Quakes goalkeeper Pat Onstad had a strong second campaign in Major League Soccer as he started 25 games in goal for San Jose and posted an 1.28 goals against average, good for fifth in MLS. He posted six shutouts on the season and earned MLS Player of the Week honors twice (4/10 and 5/15), while also being named MLS Player of the Month for August.

Mulrooney Is Quakes Only Constant

Earthquakes midfielder Richard Mulrooney is the only member of the San Jose roster who started and played 90 minutes in all 30 games for the Quakes in 2004. He tied for first in MLS in minutes played with three other players. In his 2,700 minutes of play, Mulrooney scored one goal and notched eight assists for ten points, which was the fifth highest point total on the Quakes.

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, but he is injured and out for the playoffs...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, but he is out injured for the playoffs...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 12 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 in 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 and Wizards split the season series in 2004 1-1-2...The Earthquakes own a 9-4-5 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...The Wizards topped the Quakes in the semifinals of the 2004 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup 1-0 on August 24.

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.

Four Straight

After missing the playoffs for four straight seasons from 1997-2000, San Jose has completely turned it around the club has now qualified for postseason play four years in a row (2001-2004).

Ching on Top

With his goal in the 2-2 tie against Dallas on Saturday, Quakes forward Brian Ching finished tied with the Burn's Eddie Johnson as the MLS leader in goals scored. A year after recovering from a ruptured right Achilles tendon, Ching scored 12 goals for the Quakes to lead MLS. He is the first player in club history to lead MLS in goals scored. Ching also finished tied for third in points in MLS with 28 points.

Corrales Ties Career High, Remains Hot Against Dallas

Quakes midfielder Ramiro Corrales ended the season on a high note scoring the Quakes second goal in their 2-2 tie with the FC Dallas Saturday night. The goal was the third of the year for Corrales and his third of the year against the Dallas. In his career against Dallas, Corrales has scored four goals and notched six assists.

Tie Record

The Quakes set the club's single season record for ties (11) on Saturday night by earning a 2-2 draw with Dallas. The previous record of nine was set last year.

Defense Holding Strong

Since the all-star break, the Earthquakes defense has been strong, allowing just nine goals in 13 games and they now rank fourth in MLS in fewest goals allowed with 35. The team has posted seven shutouts in those 13 games, including four in a row from Aug. 14 - Sept. 4. The Quakes defense finished second in MLS with only 332 shots allowed this season. The Quakes now have eight shutouts in 2004, two shy of the club record for shutouts in a season. The club record for shutouts was set last year as Pat Onstad and Jon Conway combined for 10 shutouts.

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.

League Leaders

Earthquakes forward Brian Ching is the league leader in goals scored with 12...Ching is also third in MLS in points with 28 on 12 goals and four assists...Quakes forward Landon Donovan is second in assists with 10...Three Quakes (Richard Mulrooney, Brian Mullan and Brian Ching) are all amongst the top ten most fouled players in MLS. Mulrooney has been fouled 89 times, Ching 73 and Mullan 69 times.

Milestones

Ian Russell tied Ronald Cerritos for fifth all-time in San Jose history in appearances with 118 by coming on as a sub against Dallas on Saturday.

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.

Slim Losses

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.

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 116-120-37.

Halftime Success

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 top mark in MLS. 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.


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