CANDLESTICK PARK, San Francisco, Calif.
August 8, 2009 (WEEK 21) / MLS Game #148
5:30 p.m. PT (FSC/FSE)
The San Jose Earthquakes and Columbus Crew will play the first MLS game ever at San Francisco's Candlestick Park, when the clubs meet as part of doubleheader also featuring a game between FC Barcelona and Mexico's Chivas de Guadalajara. The Quakes still have a mountain to climb to get back into playoff contention, but come off a 4-0 home win against Seattle Sounders FC. The Crew opened their two-game Western swing with a 1-0 triumph at Colorado last weekend, a third win in a row which extended their undefeated streak to six.
REFEREE: Jeff Gontarek. SAR (bench): Frank Anderson; JAR (opposite): Jeff Hosking; 4th: Yader Reyes MLS Career: 4 games; FC/gm: 26.0; Y/gm: 4.0; R: 1; pens: 0
INJURY REPORT: SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES - OUT: DF Aaron Pitchkolan (L groin avulsion); QUESTIONABLE: MF Ramiro Corrales (R ankle sprain); PROBABLE: MF Arturo Alvarez (R hamstring strain); MF Andre Luiz (L elbow sprain) ... COLUMBUS CREW - OUT: MF Guillermo Barros Schelotto (L hamstring strain); MF Alex Grendi (L knee sprain); DF Frankie Hejduk (R quad strain)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: SJ: Jason Hernandez, Aaron Pitchkolan ... CLB: Brian Carroll, Guillermo Barros Schelotto, Danny O'Rourke
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: SJ: Arturo Alvarez, Quincy Amarikwa, Ramiro Corrales, Darren Huckerby, Ryan Johnson, Chris Wondolowski ... CLB: Eddie Gaven, Frankie Hejduk
HEAD-TO-HEADALL-TIME (30 meetings): Earthquakes 12 wins (3 shootout), 47 goals ... Crew 17 wins (2 shootout), 55 goals ... Ties 1
AT SAN JOSE (15 meetings): Earthquakes 9 wins (3 shootout), 29 goals ... Crew 5 wins (0 shootout), 27 goals ... Tie 1
The teams have met three times since San Jose's return to MLS. Last year, the visiting team won in both matches in the season series; this year, the Crew won at home in the first.
When the teams last met, in 2005, the Earthquakes' last year in MLS, San Jose won both matches, taking a 3-1 win in Columbus and a 3-0 victory at Spartan Stadium. But the year before that, the Crew won both meetings, capturing 1-0 results in both stadia.
In their history, the Earthquakes have managed just three victories in 15 trips all-time to Columbus, though they had won the last two before this year. Before the win at Crew Stadium on July 9, 2005, the last win for the Earthquakes in the Ohio state capital came in their first-ever visit, July 20, 1996 at Ohio Stadium. The Crew won all 11 of the meetings at home in the intervening years (two by shootout).
Coaches record: Frank Yallop vs. CLB: P15 W6 L7 D2 ... Robert Warzycha v SJ: P2 W1 L1 D0
LAST MEETING (MLS):
5/27: CLB 2, SJ 1 (Gaven 29; Schelotto 46 - Johnson 23)
The Crew overcame an early deficit to come back for a 2-1 win on May 27 in the first meeting between the teams this season.
After falling behind early - and by big margins - in their previous two games, the Quakes took the lead in the 23rd minute. Eric Denton swung in an early cross from the left, it was chested down by Quincy Amarikwa, and Ryan Johnson skipped in to collect it and side-foot it past Andy Gruenebaum.
But the Crew pulled level just six minutes later. A corner kick flew over everyone to Gino Padula beyond the left post, and he hooked a cross back across goal to Eric Brunner on the far side. Brunner headed back across goal again, finding Eddie Gaven, who stooped to nod home from close range.
Barely 30 seconds into the second half, the Crew pulled ahead. An Alejandro Moreno on the right freed Emmanuel Ekpo, and he sent a centering pass into the box where Guillermo Barros Schelotto came sliding in between defenders to poke home for his sixth goal on the season.
Here's Warzycha's team (4-1-3-1-1): Andy Gruenebaum - Jed Zayner, Eric Brunner, Chad Marshall, Gino Padula - Brian Carroll (Kevin Burns 69) - Emmanuel Ekpo (Steven Lenhart 58), Eddie Gaven, Robbie Rogers - Guillermo Barros Schelotto - Alejandro Moreno. Substitutes Not Used: Alec Dufty, Jason Garey, Alex Grendi, Pat Noonan, Duncan Oughton
Here's Yallop's team (4-4-2): Joe Cannon - Kelly Gray, Nick Garcia, Jason Hernandez, Eric Denton (Cornell Glen 68) - Shea Salinas (Arturo Alvarez 75), Ramiro Corrales, Simon Elliott, Bobby Convey - Quincy Amarikwa (Cam Weaver 83), Ryan Johnson. Substitutes Not Used: Pablo Campos, Brandon McDonald, Aaron Pitchkolan, Andrew Weber
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKESThe San Jose Earthquakes recorded their biggest victory of the season, rolling to a 4-0 victory against Seattle Sounders FC on Sunday afternoon at Buck Shaw Stadium. The Earthquakes have 17 points from 18 matches on the year, still in eighth place in the Western Conference, 18 points behind MLS overall leaders Houston Dynamo.
Sounders FC were coming into the game on a six-game unbeaten run, while the Earthquakes hadn't won in their last four matches.
Featuring newcomers Andre Luiz and Ramon Sanchez in the center of midfield, the Earthquakes dominatedthe match from the outset. In just the second minute, a Ryan Johnson cross from the left side was touched past Kasey Keller by Osvaldo Alonso for an own goal.
Sounders FC were then left a man down in the 33rd minute when James Riley was sent off with a straight red card by referee Paul Ward.
Nine minutes after the second-half restart, the Quakes doubled their lead. Shea Salinas carried down the right before slipping a square pass to Cornell Glen, who eluded a defender and hammered home a low drive inside the left post.
The score increased to 3-0 in the 78th minute when the ball bounced around the box with Seattle unable to clear. Finally parried by Keller, the ball fell to Darren Huckerby and he knocked home the rebound from close range for his third goal of the season.
The Earthquakes finished off the win in the 86th minute as Salinas again worked his way down the right flank before sliding a pass inside to Chris Wondolowski, who drove it home for his first goal since coming to San Jose. Quakes goalkeeper Joe Cannon was called upon to make just one save on the day.
Earthquakes head coach Frank Yallop made two changes to the team that played to a 2-2 draw with D.C. United the week before. Andre Luiz made his MLS debut, coming into central midfield, and Shea Salinas also came in on the right, with Michael Zaher and Antonio Ribeiro going to the substitutes' bench.
Here's Yallop's team (4-4-2): Joe Cannon - Chris Leitch, Jason Hernandez, Brandon McDonald, Bobby Convey - Shea Salinas, Andre Luiz, Ramon Sanchez, Darren Huckerby - Ryan Johnson (Chris Wondolowski 59), Cornell Glen (Quincy Amarikwa 75). Substitutes Not Used: Ryan Cochrane, Simon Elliott, Antonio Ribeiro, Andrew Weber, Michael Zaher
Ramon Sanchez was given his second consecutive start in the center of midfield, this time partnering with new signing Andre Luiz, whose contract was secured just the day before the match.
"I think the new players did a good job of not so much making the spectacular play, but keeping the team moving the ball, and being in the right spot at the right time," said Yallop of his midfield duo. "It makes a difference. You have the confidence to play into them and run off of them because they're not going to lose the ball."
A year ago, the Earthquakes embarked on a nine-game undefeated run and felt the win against Sounders FC could propel them on a similar trajectory this year.
"In this locker room, we feel things have been coming together the last two weeks," said defender Jason Hernandez. "Now were starting to reap the rewards. Guys are already talking about the next game, so we're looking forward to getting back out there and putting together another good performance."
Cornell Glen scored in his first Earthquakes start, a 2-1 vs. Real Salt Lake on May 30, then didn't start for the next six games - missing three entirely while on national team duty with Trinidad and Tobago. Back in the first team the last two games, Glen has hit the back of the net in each.
"Cornell (Glen), we had been trying to get him for a while, and over the last three or four years he has really matured," Yallop said. "I'll tell you what, he is dangerous. He had a couple of very good opportunities today, and put one away. He has the pace to get past defenders and it certainly showed today."
With Ramiro Corrales not having not recovered sufficiently from an ankle injury and Arturo Alvarez hobbled by a hamstring strain, Yallop decided to slide Convey to left back and put in Shea Salinas on the right of midfield. Salinas contributed with two assists in tireless work along the flank.
"This has been slowly building, I think Shea has done pretty well this year," said Yallop. "He was taking players on and his service was good. The final ball has not always been there [in the past]. He needs to still work on that, so he can really punish teams that can't stay with him."
COLUMBUS CREWThe Columbus Crew won for the third consecutive week and ran their undefeated streak to six games, defeating the Colorado Rapids 1-0 on Saturday evening at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. The Crew maintained their hold on the lead in the Eastern Conference with 33 points from 20 matches on the season, a point ahead of the Chicago Fire.
The defending MLS champion Crew were coming off back-to-back wins and hadn't lost in five games, while the Rapids had alternated wins and losses for four weeks.
The game's lone goal came in the 39th minute, through an unlikely source. From a foul some 25 yards from the Rapids goal, Robbie Rogers touched the re-start to defender Chad Marshall, and he drove a curling shot inside the right post and past the dive of goalkeeper Matt Pickens.
The Crew then withstood the Rapids from there, Columbus goalkeeper William Hesmer called upon to make six saves. Colorado finished the game a man down when center back Ugo Ihemelu was sent off in the dying moments.
Crew head coach Robert Warzycha made three changes to the team that defeated Toronto FC 3-1 at Crew Stadium the week before. Jed Zayner and Chad Marshall came into the back four for Andy Iro and Frankie Hejduk, and Robbie Rogers returned from international duty, coming in for Duncan Oughton.
Here's Warzycha's team (4-4-2): William Hesmer - Jed Zayner, Eric Brunner, Chad Marshall, Gino Padula - Eddie Gaven (Adam Moffat 80), Brian Carroll, Danny O'Rourke, Robbie Rogers (Emmanuel Ekpo 66) - Jason Garey (Alejandro Moreno 68), Steven Lenhart. Substitutes Not Used: Kevin Burns, Andy Gruenebaum, Andy Iro, Duncan Oughton
For Marshall, the goal was his third of the season, one tally away from equaling the career-best four goals he recorded last season. Prior to the 2008 campaign, Marshall had scored only four goals during his first four seasons with the Crew,
"I don't usually get to take [free kicks]. It was fun and luckily it went in," Marshall said. "I think this team is a much better offensive team than what the Crew has had in the past. It's going to lead to more goals, and with a guy like Guillermo, he serves in the ball and if you make good runs, he's going to find you. I'm just fortunate to have guys like that on this team."
The Crew ran their unbeaten streak to six (4-0-2) and are 8-1-7 in the past 16 games to maintain a slim lead ahead of second-place Chicago. The Crew are 5-0-1 in Schelotto's absence the past two seasons, outscoring opponents 12-6.
"Anytime you can get three points on the road is huge. We want to stay in the top of the East and so we have to win some road games and we were able to do that tonight," Marshall said.
The Crew have lost just four games over their last 31 league contests. That would be comparable to the best seasons in league history: San Jose had only four losses (18-4-10) in 32 games in 2005; Houston's 2007 team was 13-5-12 in 30 and Columbus of 2004 had five losses (12-5-13) in 30 games.
"How many times did [Columbus] come away from games last year squeaking 1-nil wins when for the world everyone thought it was going to be nil-nil?" said Colorado head coach Gary Smith. "That's why they're champions, because they can win a game 1-nil."
After going the first 11 games of the season without a clean sheet, the Crew have now recorded shutouts in four of their last nine games.
"Teams were gunning for us and the first seven or eight games it caught us off guard. We kept on working and kept on fighting and we're in the spot we want to be right now," said Eddie Gaven. "Everyone was shocked by the slow start we had but things like that are going to happen over the course of a year. The team's not going to be able to win every single game and be in first place for all 30 games."
Marshall's goal was just the second of the season from a free kick for the Crew - and he has scored both. The first came when he headed home a Guillermo Barros Schelotto service April 25 vs. Chicago. A season ago, the Crew scored six goals from free kicks, including one directly from a dead ball by Schelotto and one on a header by Marshall from a Schelotto service.
"It's good for the team that we're scoring set pieces without Guillermo," Warzycha said. "Everybody is starting to believe that even without him we can score on set pieces."