Added forward Alejandro Moreno: They put a lot of numbers in the midfield and we never really had the ball for extended periods of time. We never really got into quality positions where we could get into spaces behind them."
After opening the season by conceding at least two goals in each of their first five matches, the Earthquakes have registered four shutouts in their past six, including two in a row at home in scoreless draws against D.C. United and FC Dallas. Most team members point to the second half of the 3-2 win against Kansas City on April 23 as the turning point for the defense.
"Guys were pretty disappointed in terms of how we started the season defensively," said San Jose goalkeeper Pat Onstad. "People are now pretty determined to make sure we try to keep clean sheets, or at least make it difficult for other teams to break us down."
But equally important has been the addition of center back Danny Califf this season - especially after Troy Dayak and Craig Waibel went down with season-ending injuries. "It's great playing with him. It helps to play with someone who really takes charge on the field," said central defense partner Eddie Robinson. "You can never have too many of those guys on the field. It takes a little bit of pressure off of everybody so you're able to concentrate a little more on your job."
Rookie Julian Nash made his professional debut, coming on as a 79th-minute substitute. "It was an amazing feeling. I really can't describe it. It was amazing to finally accomplish one of my first goals, to get on the field like that, and hopefully I can keep going forward from here and working my way into the lineup."
For Chung, it was his first home match with the Earthquakes. "I enjoyed it, but it is tough to play here and I have to get used to it. This was my first time with the team at home, usually it is a road game for me. I need to get used to it and right now we are disappointed, but I think this team can get a lot better."
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