Despite first-half goals by Brian Ching and Ronald Cerritos staking them to a 2-0 lead, the San Jose Earthquakes were forced to settle for a 2-2 tie against the New England Revolution on Saturday night at Spartan Stadium. Although San Jose had to feel as though it let two points slip away, the Quakes did increase their unbeaten string against the Revs to 11.
The list of players missing from the San Jose Earthquakes 2005 roster would form a pretty solid nucleus for an MLS All-Star team. But in their season opener against New England, the Quakes showed that the new faces might not be so bad themselves. Offensively, anyway.
San Jose got off to a strong start, generating the first good scoring chance of the game in the fourth minute. Forward Cerritos, making his return to the team after a three-year absence, was denied by a point-blank save from Revs 'keeper Matt Reis on a left-footed volley from a Wade Barrett cross.
The Quakes continued to attack down the left flank, as Davis set up the game's first goal in the 13th minute. Davis, acquired in an offseason trade with FC Dallas, whipped in an excellent cross to U.S. national team forward Brian Ching, whose near-post header got past the diving Reis for a 1-0 lead.
San Jose pushed the lead to 2-0 on a penalty kick from Cerritos. Once again, it was one of the new Earthquakes who set up the play, as central midfielder Ricardo Clark drew the penalty, rounding Reis on a breakaway, leaving the goalkeeper no choice but to take him down.
Reis, fortunate to have come away with only a yellow card, guessed wrong on the spot kick by Cerritos, who calmly rolled the ball into the lower-left corner from the spot.
The Quakes were unable to maintain the hectic pace, as New England began to creep back into the game toward the end of the first half. The Revs carried that momentum into the second half, as forward Pat Noonan brought them back into the game with a 52nd-minute strike to make it 2-1.
Noonan combined with fellow U.S. international Clint Dempsey to beat the Earthquakes offside trap, and Noonan tucked a shot off the right post to convert the breakaway.
New England put together two more excellent chances minutes later as Taylor Twellman was denied first by Onstad on a breakaway in the 58th minute and then the crossbar on a close-range blast in the 60th minute.
However, San Jose was unable to hold off the Revs much longer, especially after losing center back Eddie Robinson to a 70th-minute red card for a hard challenge on New England midfielder Shalrie Joseph.
New England tied it just three minutes later as Twellman gathered in a long ball from second-half substitute James Riley, beat defender Troy Dayak and Onstad with his first touch, and then rolled the ball into the empty net to make it 2-2.
Having already sacrificed Cerritos to substitution to account for the lost defender, San Jose was unable to regain the lead in the waning minutes. The Quakes best chance came in stoppage time as a cross by right back Craig Waibel narrowly eluded the onrushing Alejandro Moreno.
MLSnet.com Man of the Match: Taylor Twellman (New England Revolution)
Danny Kadah is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.
New England Revolution (0-0-1) vs. San Jose Earthquakes (0-0-1)
April 2, 2005 -- Spartan Stadium
SJ -- Brian Ching 1 (Brad Davis 1) 13
SJ -- Ronald Cerritos 1 (penalty kick) 21
NE -- Pat Noonan 1 (Clint Dempsey 1) 52
NE -- Taylor Twellman 1 (James Riley 1) 73
New England Revolution -- Matt Reis, Jay Heaps, Michael Parkhurst, Marshall Leonard, Steve Ralston, Jose Cancela, Clint Dempsey, Shalrie Joseph, Cassio (James Riley 56), Pat Noonan, Taylor Twellman.
Substitutes Not Used: Andy Dorman, Connally Edozien, Joe Franchino, Doug Warren.
TOTAL SHOTS: 17 (Taylor Twellman 8); SHOTS ON GOAL: 8 (Taylor Twellman 4); FOULS: 21 (Marshall Leonard 5); OFFSIDES: 2 (Pat Noonan 1, Steve Ralston 1); CORNER KICKS: 4 (Jose Cancela 3); SAVES: 2 (Matt Reis 2)
San Jose Earthquakes -- Pat Onstad, Craig Waibel, Troy Dayak, Eddie Robinson, Wade Barrett, Brian Mullan, Danny O'Rourke, Brad Davis, Ronald Cerritos (Ryan Cochrane 72), Brian Ching (Alejandro Moreno 68), Ricardo Clark (Ian Russell 86).
Substitutes Not Used: Chris Aloisi, Jon Conway, Dwayne De Rosario, Tighe Dombrowski, Kevin Goldthwaite, Wes Hart.
TOTAL SHOTS: 9 (Ronald Cerritos 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 4 (Ronald Cerritos 2); FOULS: 30 (Brian Mullan 7); OFFSIDES: 1 (Ronald Cerritos 1); CORNER KICKS: 4 (Brad Davis 3); SAVES: 6 (Pat Onstad 6)
NE -- Shalrie Joseph (caution; Tackle from Behind) 15
NE -- Matt Reis (caution; Reckless Foul) 20
SJ -- Ricardo Clark (caution; Dissent) 35
SJ -- Brian Mullan (caution; Persistent Infringement) 44
NE -- Jay Heaps (caution; Pushing, Holding) 53
NE -- Michael Parkhurst (caution; Pushing, Holding) 64
NE -- Marshall Leonard (caution; Dissent) 66
SJ -- Eddie Robinson (ejection; Serious Foul Play) 70
Referee: Baldomero Toledo
Referee's Assistants: George Gansner; Steven Davidson
4th Official: Richard Heron
Time of Game: 1:51
All Statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial.