SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Simon Dawkins was speaking with a reporter in the locker room after the San Jose Earthquakes’ 4-0 demolition of Chivas USA on Sunday night when defender Justin Morrow cut in.
“I just want to let you know,” he said, motioning at Dawkins, “this man’s name is 007.”
Defender Ike Opara, standing to the side, cracked up and added, “He’s James Bond reincarnated.”
Dawkins is no secret agent – opposing teams are very much aware of the 24-year-old Tottenham Hotspur loanee, especially after his fourth goal in four games on Sunday night. His finish off a Chris Wondolowski feed in the 39th minute was the only goal San Jose scored in open play on a night they broke the all-time franchise record for goals scored in a season.
San Jose's mark of 56 strikes in 2012 shatters the mark of 55 the old Clash set in 1997. And these Quakes still have seven games left to play.
Dawkins’ huge smile after the friendly name-calling from his teammates said it all.
“It’s great,” he said of the Quakes’ prolific offense, in which 12 players have contributed to the team’s score sheet. “I think it’s just really friendly competition. We’re all friends, but we all want to score goals, and you can see that’s benefitting for us. I’m just happy we’re playing well.”
Tellingly, the franchise record fell on a night where the closest Chris Wondolowski came to adding to his league-leading 18 goals was a header off the crossbar in the 16th minute. During a drought in which Wondo has scored only once in the past seven games – and from the spot at that – the Quakes have hit the back of the net 15 times.
“The stats say it,” head coach Frank Yallop told reporters. “We’re scoring tons of goals from everywhere.”
The key, according to Yallop, is the chemistry in the locker room. These Quakes love each other, and it shows in the way they’re spreading the scoring.
And as they inch closer to the Supporters’ Shield – their first piece of hardware in seven years – Yallop has become keenly aware of how special his current unit is. The veteran coach reflected back to his Earthquakes team from 2001-03 that averaged nearly 46 goals per season thanks to big scorers like Ronald Cerritos, Landon Donovan and Dwayne De Rosario.
“For us to [outdo that team] in the day and age our league’s at in the moment,” he said, “with quality players all over the field, with [Designated Players], with us not spending a cent and everyone spending more money than we do – it’s phenomenal, to be honest.
“I would just say one thing. It has nothing to do with me – it’s the players. They want to do it. I set them up to play, but they go out and they play with confidence and they love each other. That’s huge.”