I was as surprised as anybody when our trainer said he could not go. Credit Matt Pickens. He is a good young goalkeeper."
Sarachan could have another lineup concern this weekend as Andy Herron was forced off the field with an injury to the top of his foot. He left the stadium on crutches.
Rolfe celebrated his first MLS start in style, scoring his first MLS goal in the 50th minute. "This kid has clear ideas," Sarachan said. "He's got a great idea of where to go with the ball and a great first touch. When he's in front of the goal, he generally gets a good shot off."
The club saw a major shakeup during the week when long-time Fire executive Peter Wilt was replaced as president and CEO by John Guppy, who moved from the MetroStars where he was vice president of sales and marketing. Supporters of the club have said they will wear black to the home opener to protest the decision, but Wilt said to them: "What is really important at the end of the day is the team, the players and the badge. We all know that. That is whom we need to support. I would like to extend that to the front office."
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
The San Jose Earthquakes saw a potential three points slip away for a second successive week, a late goal giving Chivas USA a 3-3 draw in a second consecutive late draw at home to begin the 2005 season. The Earthquakes are in third place in the Western Conference with two points from their first two games, two off the pace of conference leaders FC Dallas.
Chivas USA also gained their first point and scored their first goal in a wild match. Thiago Martins scored the first goal in club history after just three minutes, touching home an Orlando Perez cross from the left flank. But just before the break the Earthquakes pulled level through some freekick magic by Brad Davis, who curled the ball around the wall and inside the left post from almost on the top of the area.
Hector Cuadros again gave Chivas the lead when he powerfully headed home an Ezra Hendrickson cross (73), but the Quakes responded with two goals in four minutes, both from Davis services on free kicks. First Troy Dayak leaped up and sent a looping header over Chivas goalkeeper Brad Guzan from a nearly impossible angle (75), then Brian Ching scored his first goal of the season, knifing to nod home at the near post.
But then just after the 90 minutes ticked over, Chivas scored on a set piece of their own. Jesus Ochoa floated in a free kick from the left into the area where Douglas Sequeira fought off a challenge and spun a header past Pat Onstad inside his left-hand post for the equalizer.
"Disappointed, that is the word for today's game," said Earthquakes coach Dominic Kinnear. "I wasn't happy with the way we started or the way we finished. There were some good stretches in between, but not enough. We needed to preserve the lead at the end and not look for more goals."
Kinnear made one change in the team that played to a 2-2 draw with the New England Revolution to open the season. Eddie Robinson was suspended after being sent off against the Revs, meaning Ryan Cochrane came into central defense.
Here's Kinnear's team (4-4-2): Pat Onstad - Craig Waibel, Ryan Cochrane, Troy Dayak, Wade Barrett - Brian Mullan (Dwayne De Rosario 71), Ricardo Clark (Ian Russell 76), Danny O'Rourke, Brad Davis - Ronald Cerritos (Alejandro Moreno 80), Brian Ching.
Two goals in the second half canceled out a 2-0 lead built in the opening 21 minutes of the opener, then the Quakes allowed the stoppage time equalizer to miss out on the three points in the second match. "We brought in a lot of attacking-minded players in the offseason -- we've had some great pickups," said goalkeeper Pat Onstad. "Unfortunately, sometimes it takes a couple of games like this for guys to wake up and realize there's two sides of the ball."
Of all the changes to Kinnear's squad this season, one of the bigger ones could be the change in attack partnership. A year ago, with Landon Donovan as his partner, Brian Ching tied for the MLS lead with 12 goals. With Donovan having left the club over the winter, former El Salvador international Ronald Cerritos returned to the club - and Ching has scored two goals in the first two games.
"Ronald's crafty and knows the game very well. We don't lose a lot," Ching told the San Jose Mercury News. Said Cerritos: "They have two totally different styles. With Landon, he could play anywhere from the front to the midfield. You had to be ready at any moment. Brian's a target forward. You have to play closer to him to get the balls he brings down. In the penalty box, he's deadly."