The view from the Quakes' booth

we've seen one of those in Spartan Stadium this year -- or a 5-5 game?

Again, it's a matter of perspective; your Quakes announcer votes for 5-5. Your Quakes head coach appreciates the entertainment factor, but it's all about winning.

"I'd rather win 1-0 than see 5-5," said coach Dominic Kinnear. "I'd rather see 1-0 with a great defensive effort, than see five wonderful goals by us and being leaky at the back."

While the Quakes were providing brilliant attacking soccer in the first half, the MetroStars scored on three shots outside the penalty area.

"They had pretty much three dream goals that you see probably once a year against you, and they had three in one game," said Landon Donovan. "At the same time we have to fault ourselves for not doing better."

Yin or yang. Whose in charge?

"It felt [like] the same eerie kind of weirdness as the L.A. game," Donovan said. "I didn't know the circus came to town. It was a riot. It was ridiculous."

And it was exciting, exhilarating and inexplicable.

"I said to (MetroStars coach) Bob Bradley at halftime, 'You want to come in for a shot of vodka? Because I don't know what's going on and you probably don't either,'" Kinnear said.

In the sixth game of the season we may have seen an offensive attack that will strike fear in the hearts of every MLS coach. While it's not as simple as 1-2-3 (speaking of weird, that's the Quakes' record), it is not complicated. At the risk of putting even more pressure on a young man who has plenty already, when Donovan goes, this team goes.

"He's dangerous every time he touches the ball," said fellow forward Brian Ching. "It only makes my job easier and hopefully me battling away in there makes his job easier."

With the Donovan/Ching combination up front, a healthier Brian Mullan on the right wing, a more settled Chris Brown from the left wing, and the Ronnie Ekelund/Richard Mulrooney combo controlling the pace of the game you may be seeing the early stages of an offense that better defensive teams than the MetroStars won't be able to stop.

"We've set a high standard here the last three years," Kinnear said. "At times we're playing to that standard, at times we're not."

What Kinnear and the Quakes are looking for now is consistency. Check the scores so far this season. If you can find a pattern you're probably a psychiatrist.

Donovan thinks the luck will change and the tide will turn, and when it does, watch out. As for this cool, breezy, night in May, "It was crazy, I thought I had seen it all," Donovan said. "It'll kick in at some point, hopefully or it's going to be a weird year."

It will kick in, and when it does raise a glass of vodka, if you'd like. Half-full, of course.

John Shrader has been the voice of the Earthquakes since 1996 and has worked in television and radio in the Bay Area for the past 20 years. You can find his weekly column every Monday on

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