After the Earthquakes' 1-1 tie with the Columbus Crew on Wednesday night in their second game of the Carolina Challenge Cup, Quakes head coach Dominic Kinnear gave the players Thursday off. A group of Quakes are planning on golfing, while the rest of the team has the opportunity to relax and recover following a series of hard preseason games and practices.
The Quakes return to action and play their final game of the preseason on Friday, March 25 against the Charleston Battery in the Carolina Challenge Cup at Blackbaud Stadium at 3 p.m. PT.
San Jose currently leads the four-team tournament with four points and a 1-0-1 record, tied with Columbus (1-0-1). D.C. United and Charleston each have one point following their 2-2 tie on Wednesday night.
A Rainy Moment
The Quakes were originally scheduled to play the Crew in the second game of the Carolina Challenge Cup on Tuesday night, but the match was postponed and moved to Wednesday evening as torrential rains and lightning made it impossible to play.
Rain started falling throughout the afternoon and it poured during warm-ups as the teams prepared for the 6 p.m. ET kick-off. The teams were set to play in the downpour; however, and just as the players reached their positions on the field, several massive bolts of lightning forced the players into the locker rooms and sent the remaining fans scurrying to safety.
Both teams waited in the tunnel area for 30 minutes, hoping the lightning would leave the area. The original 6 p.m. kick-off was pushed back to 8 p.m., and both teams left the stadium and returned to their hotel.
"That is the worst situation for a player," Earthquakes assistant coach John Doyle said. "You are all pumped up and ready to play, and then you have to come back into the locker room and just wait."
The Quakes and Crew returned to Blackbaud Stadium shortly before 8 p.m., but after more lightning and thunder were sighted the game was finally moved to Wednesday.
While the Quakes players have been keeping busy practicing and playing matches in the Carolina Challenge Cup, there is still quite a bit of downtime for the team. A group of Quakes seem to have found a way around the tedium of hotel life by turning the halls into their own golf course. Using mini-plastic golf clubs and balls, Ryan Cochrane, Kevin Goldthwaite, Roger Levesque, James Twellman and Chris Aloisi have been spotted on several floors playing hall golf. The duo of Cochrane and Goldthwaite are the leaders of the group so far.
"Those guys [Cochrane and Goldthwaite] are pretty good," Levesque said. "I don't think they have lost yet, but just wait."
Another game has taken off in popularity at Earthquakes practices in 2005. The game of "soccer horseshoes", which several players started playing last season, can be found on the sideline following almost every training session.
To play, cones are placed a good distance apart and players pair off into teams. Then one player lofts a ball to his other teammate, who brings the ball down with his first touch, and similar to the real game of horseshoes, must get the ball close to the cone. The team that gets the ball closest to the cone earns the point.
"I never played it when I was playing," Doyle said. "But it is a good game. It is a great way to work on your first touch."
The March Madness of the NCAA basketball tournament that is sweeping the nation has also caught up with the Quakes. For recreational purposes only, goalkeeper Jon Conway has organized a team pool. After the first two rounds of play, Wes Hart is leading the pack, with Goldthwaite and Wade Barrett following him.
"Those guys are on top now," Conway said. "But they might not last. We will have to see how the games go this weekend. I think we are going to see some changes coming up. I'm pretty confident with my boys from Philly, Villanova. I've got them moving on."