Sometimes you walk out of the stadium and you mutter to yourself about what an unfair game soccer can be; at other times you can't help but blurt it out even before you leave the stadium. Such was the case last Sunday night when the Quakes left the Home Depot Center following a 1-1 tie with Chivas USA.
After watching the replay from every television angle possible, there was absolutely no doubt the offside call made against the Quakes on a potential game-winning Dwayne De Rosario goal was a sorry, if not pathetic, display of officiating.
No matter how you interpret the offside rule, it was an awful call by the assistant referee, who appeared to be trailing the play by at least two or three steps.
In case you missed the last two minutes of our broadcast Sunday, please allow me to share with you the pointed and appropriate remarks from our analyst, Ray Hudson:
"This is a diabolical robbery by the linesman, Mr. Jose Corro. I'm sorry, John, that is absolutely criminal. That was a wonderful advertisement for MLS, one of the best games I've seen all year long. It was harem-scarem football, quality all over the park and some guy with his flag destroys what should have been a dream win. It was a fair result, 1-1, because both teams gave their all. San Jose deserved to win it on an absolutely legitimate goal. It's a disgrace. It makes you want to cry."
I don't subscribe to the conspiracy theories, but you can't wonder any longer why the Earthquakes fans do.
Chivas USA players walked out of the stadium believing they had played their best 90 minutes of the year. They had hit the woodwork twice and missed a couple of other good chances to score. The Quakes hit the woodwork once and had two dead-on runs by Ronald Cerritos that he doesn't miss often, let alone two times in one game. And then there's that game-winner taken away.
Sometimes you walk out of the stadium, as a player, and think, "What could happen next? Maybe it's not our year."
This is the urge the Quakes must fight and they most certainly will. The 2005 season has already seen a stoppage-time goal for a tie by the visitors (Chivas USA in Spartan Stadium April 9), a stoppage-time goal for a win by the Fire (April 16 at Soldier Field), and now a sure-fire stoppage-time goal taken away for a win.
It's only two points lost, but it really means much more than that. Every time you play a team in your conference it's a big match (even this early in the season); a win swings three points either way.
The Quakes are coming off back-to-back ties and will be getting healthier in the coming weeks (Brian Ching could play this week and Brian Mullan may in the next couple of weeks). With the addition of San Jose native Kelly Gray in a deal with the Chicago Fire on June 14, they are now a deeper team than they have been.
With three straight home games against Real Salt Lake, the Colorado Rapids and the Los Angeles Galaxy, it's time for some three point nights, and therefore some six-point swings. No excuses, no whining about it (considering the injustice, you didn't hear a whole lot of whining from the Quakes after the call Sunday), just some good, old blue-collar, San Jose Earthquakes soccer.
Sometimes you walk out of the stadium and say, "That's a fair result." It certainly will be refreshing.
John Shrader has been the voice of the Earthquakes since 1996 and has worked in television and radio in the Bay Area for the past 20 years.