The San Jose Earthquakes fell 1-0 to the Kansas City Wizards tonight and were eliminated from the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup tonight. The Quakes, who were forced to play every game of the tournament on the road, gave up an Igor Simutenkov penalty kick in the 45th minute and could not come back, getting eliminated in the tournaments semifinal round. The Wizards will play either the Chicago Fire or the A-League's Charleston Battery in the final on Sept. 22.
The Quakes started the game short-handed as projected starter Troy Dayak was forced out of the lineup with a right calf strain during warm-ups. Just seven minutes into the game, San Jose suffered another blow when leading goal-scorer Brian Ching sprained his left ankle and had to be replaced by Arturo Alvarez.
Immediately following the substitution, the Wizards started pressing San Jose, with goalkeeper Jon Conway making a big save on Alex Zotinca's shot from the left side in the sixth minute. Conway was forced to stuff another Zotinca blast in the 11th minute off a feed from Josh Wolff. Conway made one of his best saves of the night in the 15th minute as he charged out and made a sliding kick save on a Davy Arnaud breakaway.
The Quakes had several good opportunities to score, one of the best coming in the 28th minute on a strong build-up as Brian Mullan passed the ball to Landon Donovan in the middle of the field near the Wizards penalty area before finding an open Alvarez on the left side, but Alvarez's low shot was saved by Bo Oshoniyi.
Three minutes later the Wizards were able to take a 1-0 lead on an Igor Simutenkov penalty kick. In the 43rd minute Simutenkov slipped a pass through the Quakes defense on the right side of the field, that Wolff tried to run onto. San Jose defender Ryan Cochrane made a sliding attempt to knock the ball away but instead tripped Wolff to set up the penalty. A minute later, Simutenkov buried the penalty shot past a diving Conway for the 1-0 lead.
San Jose attempted to tie the match throughout the second half, but needed some more heroics from Conway in the 50th minute on another nice save on Zotinca. A minute later Wolff nearly scored as he maneuvered around two defenders and the goalkeeper, but his shot was wide and to the left.
As time was winding down on San Jose's comeback attempt, head coach Dominic Kinnear adjusted his lineup, going with three forwards in an effort to pressure the Wizards net. It worked, as De Rosario had a tough shot saved by the Wizards goalkeeper in the 75th minute after he received a looping pass from Richard Mulrooney in the penalty area. The Quakes continued to move forward and nearly scored on several opportunities.
Jeff Agoos almost tied the game in the 81st minute when his free kick from about 24 yards out on the right side sailed just over the goal. With two minutes left in the match, Eddie Robinson received a cross on the left side and fired a shot that hit the post.
The Quakes return to MLS action this Saturday in a Western Conference battle against the Colorado Rapids at Spartan Stadium on Aug. 28 at 7:00 p.m. PT. The game will be broadcast live on 1590 AM KLIV (English) and 1370 AM KZSF (Spanish).
-The Earthquakes appeared in their first Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup semifinal match tonight.
-Ramiro Corrales did not play for San Jose tonight as he was serving a suspension after being red carded in the Quakes Open Cup quarterfinal win over the Minnesota Thunder.
-Brian Ching left the match with a sprained left ankle in the seventh minute.