Preview: Quakes host 'Caps in battle of league's top defenses
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES vs VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC
BUCK SHAW STADIUM, Santa Clara, Calif.
April 7, 2012 (WEEK 5, MLS Game #41)
7 p.m. ET (CSN-CA; SNET Pac)
Two of the teams possessing the stoutest defensive records in Major League Soccer meet on Saturday afternoon at Buck Shaw Stadium when the San Jose Earthquakes play host to Vancouver Whitecaps FC. Vancouver still has yet to concede a goal this season, playing to a second consecutive scoreless draw in Philadelphia last weekend. The Quakes have allowed just one goal, coming off a second consecutive shutout in a 1-0 win at Seattle on Saturday.
REFEREE: Ramon Hernandez. SAR (bench): Frank Anderson; JAR (opposite): Ian Anderson; 4th: Yader Reyes
MLS Career: 31 games; FC/gm: 28.6; Y/gm: 4.4; R: 7; pens: 7
- SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES – OUT: MF Joey Gjertsen (R knee surgery); DF Tim Ward (L non-specific soft tissue injury); DOUBTFUL: MF Sercan Guvenisik (R hip flexor strain); QUESTIONABLE: Ramiro Corrales (R ankle sprain) ...
- VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC – OUT: FW Etienne Barbara (groin strain); FW Darren Mattocks (R shoulder burn); DF Alain Rochat (L knee sprain); DOUBTFUL: MF Floyd Franks (lower back pain); QUESTIONABLE: MF Michael Nanchoff (L heel contusion); GK Brian Sylvestre (R knee surgery); PROBABLE: FW Camilo Sanvezzo (R quad strain)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED: VAN: Atiba Harris (through April 7)
- ALL-TIME (2 meetings): Earthquakes 0 wins, 3 goals ... Whitecaps 0 wins, 3 goals ... Ties 2
- AT SAN JOSE (1 meeting): Earthquakes 0 wins, 2 goals ... Whitecaps 0 wins, 2 goals ... Ties 1
- RETURN MATCHES: 5/5: Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. San Jose Earthquakes, 4 p.m. PT; 7/22: Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. San Jose Earthquakes, 4 p.m. PT
LAST YEAR (MLS)
- 5/11: VAN 1, SJ 1 (Chiumiento 90 – Wondolowski 39)
- 7/20: SJ 2, VAN 2 (Wondolowski 3, 54 – Hassli 42, 61)
- The clubs played to a pair of draws in Vancouver's inaugural MLS season, including a 2-2 tie at Buck Shaw Stadium.
- Chris Wondolowski has scored all three of San Jose's goals vs. Vancouver.
- Coaches record: Frank Yallop vs. SEA: P2 W0 L0 D2 ... Martin Rennie vs. SJ: first game
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
The San Jose Earthquakes made it two wins from their two-game road swing, knocking off Seattle Sounders FC 1-0 on Saturday evening at CenturyLink Field. The Quakes sit in a three-way tie for first place in the Western Conference with 9 points from 6 games.
HIGHLIGHTS: SEA 0, SJ 1
- The game's only goal came after 24 minutes. While preparing for a cross from Marvin Chávez, Steven Lenhart was bundled into by Sounders FC defender Marc Burch, and referee Mark Kadlecik pointed to the spot.
- Chris Wondolowski stepped up and converted the penalty past goalkeeper Michael Gspurning for what would prove to be the game-winner.
- Earthquakes head coach Frank Yallop made one change to the team that rolled to a 3-0 win against Toronto FC at BMO Field. Rafael Baca returned to the side in place of Tressor Moreno.
- SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (4-4-2): Jon Busch - Steven Beitashour, Justin Morrow, Victor Bernardez, Ramiro Corrales (Jason Hernandez 46) - Marvin Chavez (Simon Dawkins 89), Sam Cronin, Rafael Baca, Shea Salinas - Chris Wondolowski, Steven Lenhart (Alan Gordon 67).
- The Earthquakes return home after winning a second game on the road in two outings this year; in 2011, they won just three of 17 road games total.
- "I thought we deserved a victory. It's not often you can say that. I think it was a well-earned three points on the road, which is difficult to do in our league," said Earthquakes head coach Frank Yallop.
- "We talked about it in preseason. We're here for one job. We know we're deep enough to win the Cup this year," Quakes goalkeeper Jon Busch said. "... We're not getting carried away. At the end of the day, this is just game [No.] 4 and we've got to keep moving forward."
- The Earthquakes have recorded three shutouts in four games this season, and still have yet to concede a goal through open play. The lone goal came through a penalty kick in a 1-0 loss to the Houston Dynamo.
- "We said we needed to get better at seeing games out and defending as a unit. I think Victor Bernardez has made a big difference at the back line. Jon Busch, you can go on and on but the team is determined not to give goals up," said Yallop. "... It's early, four games, we have a long way to go but the signs are good. If we can get up to a good start and maintain it we can play with anyone and that's the thing for me.
- With one goal allowed, the Quakes are tied with Sporting Kansas City for the second-best defensive record in MLS through four weeks. Only Vancouver Whitecaps FC, with 360 shutout minutes to start the season, is better.
- "Even though it took a bit of time in the preseason, [once] we started gelling, I knew we have something special," said striker Chris Wondolowski. "We had a talk at the beginning of the year, and we have high expectations of ourselves. This win doesn't make me any more of a believer or any less. I believed in our team from the get-go."
- The Quakes were forced into a change at halftime when Ramiro Corrales suffered an ankle injury and Jason Hernandez came into central defense, with Justin Morrow moving to left back. Corrales is listed as questionable for this weekend.
- "It's unreal," said Wondolowski. "[Jon] Busch commands it, he's done a great job with a couple great saves. You have Bernardez winning almost every head ball and Jason [Hernandez] coming in at center back ... Credit to all of our defenders, it's a pleasure to play with them and I'm proud to be a part of it."
- San Jose's Chris Wondolowski has scored four goals in four games this season, and has scored now in eight of his last nine games, dating back to the end of last season.
- "It's a shot from 12 yards away. I'm a forward, I should make it and it doesn't matter what keeper is in there," said Wondolowski. "Anytime I take a PK I play to myself and try to stay away from playing the 'keeper as much as possible. He's a big guy and it's a bit intimidating, I always try to put my laces through it and put it in a corner."
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC
Vancouver Whitecaps FC extended their unbeaten and unscored upon start to 2012, playing to a second successive goalless draw, this time against Philadelphia Union on Saturday afternoon at PPL Park. Whitecaps FC still in fourth place in the Western Conference with 8 points from 4 games.
HIGHLIGHTS: PHI 0, VAN 0
- In his first appearance against his former club, Whitecaps FC's Sebastien Le Toux nearly made it a dream return, but he blazed his 83rd-minute chance over the bar when nearly in all alone.
- The home side nearly took the lead in the 47th minute, but Carlos Valdés put his left-footed volley off a Keon Daniel corner kick off the post.
- Whitecaps FC goalkeeper Joe Cannon was called upon to make two saves, while Philadelphia 'keeper Zac MacMath was not credited with a single save on the day.
- Whitecaps FC head coach Martin Rennie made three changes to the team that and gained a scoreless draw with D.C. United at BC Place. Jordan Harvey came in at left back for Alain Rochat, John Thorrington started in place of Camilo, and Atiba Harris came into the team for Eric Hassli.
- VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC (4-3-3): Joe Cannon - Lee Young-Pyo, Jay DeMerit, Martin Bonjour, Jordan Harvey - John Thorrington (Gershon Koffie 59), Jun Marques Davidson, Matt Watson - Davide Chiumiento, Sebastien Le Toux, Atiba Harris (Long Tan 70).
- Whitecaps FC extended their shutout streak to start the season to 360 minutes in their second consecutive scoreless draw, at Philadelphia. It's the second-longest goalless streak to open the season; the MLS record is 421 minutes, set by the New York Red Bulls in 2007.
- "We do think we could've done a little bit more today. I think that shows some progress with the club, that there's not satisfaction with a point on the road, even though it's a long travel," said head coach Martin Rennie. "Four clean sheets in a row, those are all positive things, but to build the kind of team we want to build we've got to have higher expectations than that."
- While keeping things clean at one end, Whitecaps FC also saw their goalless streak extended to 202 minutes.
- "Obviously we're working on it in terms of going forward and creating chances. At the end of the day, I've built two or three teams in the past and I've always found this is the part that takes a little bit longer to get clicking," said Rennie. "The most important thing is that you're competing and organized and hard to play against, picking up points and picking up wins. We're not clicking yet, but we're doing well."
- For a second consecutive match, Whitecaps FC were officially held without a single goal attempt on target.
- "I don't think we take enough chances," midfielder John Thorrington said. "We play a more cautious pass rather than a more threatening pass, or try to make an extra pass rather than get a shot on target. Our shot attempts and shots on target aren't anywhere near they should be, and that's a function of many different things."
- Thorrington made his 2012 season debut, playing 59 minutes on the right side of midfield. Thorrington appeared in 10 of Whitecaps FC's final 12 league games last year, after playing just 52 minutes before the start of August.
- "I can bounce back much easier now that [the medical staff] has addressed my back [injury]," Thorrington said. "Physically in the game I was quite pleased fitness-wise that I was able to get through the 60 minutes. I was never tired or felt like I couldn't keep going.
- Eric Hassli was lost to an ankle sprain in the days leading up to the match, and Rennie changed his scheme, pairing Atiba Harris with Sebastien Le Toux in a front two.
- Harris will definitely be out for the San Jose match, suspended after the match following a ruling by the MLS Disciplinary Committee.
- "I feel like we got into some good spots and got some good balls into the box," Thorrington said of the Philadelphia match. "We didn't quite have the cutting edge, and that's something we worked on in practice today and something the coaches have addressed.