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Preview: Quakes take Shield chase into thin air of Colorado

October 6, 2012 (WEEK 31, MLS Game #299)
7 p.m. MT (Altitude; CSN-CA)


Still chasing the Supporters’ Shield, the San Jose Earthquakes hit the road for a vital match against the Colorado Rapids on Saturday evening at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The Quakes lead Eastern Conference leaders Sporting KC by three points with three matches to play, after their last-gasp 3-3 home draw with FC Dallas last weekend. The Rapids are coming off a 1-1 home draw with the LA Galaxy last weekend, but saw their bid for a playoff spot ended at midweek.


REFEREE: Jose Carlos Rivero. AR1 (bench):Adam Wienckowski; AR2 (opposite):Corey Parker; 4th:Ramon Hernandez

MLS Career: 6 games; FC/gm: 25.8; Y/gm: 4.0; R: 3; pens: 3


  • COLORADO RAPIDS – OUT: DF Anthony Wallace (L Achilles tear); MF Pablo Mastroeni (headaches); FW Edu (R foot contusion); PROBABLE: FW Omar Cummings  (R ankle soreness); FW Conor Casey (R knee soreness); FW Tony Cascio (L ankle sprain); MF Brian Mullan (L hamstring strain) …
  • SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES – OUT: MF Mehdi Ballouchy (L knee ACL tear); GK David Bingham (R wrist sprain); MF Cesar Diaz Pizarro (R groin strain); DF Tim Ward (L non-specific soft tissue injury); QUESTIONABLE: MF Simon Dawkins (R ankle sprain); DF Ike Opara (concussion symptoms); PROBABLE: MF Sam Garza (R ankle sprain)


SUSPENDED: SJ: Victor Bernardez (caution accumulation; through Oct. 7)

SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: COL: Jeff Larentowicz, Tyson Wahl … SJ: Ramiro Corrales
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: COL: Jaime Castrillon, Tyrone Marshall, Drew Moor, Martin Rivero … SJ: Rafael Baca, Mehdi Ballouchy. Steven Beitashour, Marvin Chavez, Sam Cronin, Alan Gordon, Steven Lenhart, Chris Wondolowski

ALL-TIME (50 meetings): Rapids 18 wins (2 shootout), 66 goals… Earthquakes 23 wins (1 shootout), 75 goals… Ties 9

  • AT COLORADO (25 meetings): Rapids 10 wins (1 shootout), 32 goals… Earthquakes 11 wins (0 shootout), 29 goals… Ties 4
  • 2012 (MLS): 6/20: COL 1, SJ 2 (Mullan 18 – own goal 83; Wondolowski 90+ pen), 8/25: SJ 4, COL 1 (Dawkins 11, 68; Gordon 43, 75 – Marshall 54)
  • The teams are meeting for the third time this season, and the Earthquakes have won the first two. A Chris Wondolowski penalty kick in stoppage time gave the Quakes a 2-1 win June 20 in Commerce City, then Alan Gordon and Simon Dawkins each scored twice in a 4-1 victory Aug. 25 at Buck Shaw Stadium.
  • The Rapids have won just once in their last eight home games vs. San Jose, that win coming Aug. 7, 2010.
  • Colorado’s 2-1 win at San Jose last Aug. 13 was their first in northern California since 2003. The Quakes had won three meetings in between, with four draws.
  • Coaches record: Oscar Pareja vs. SJ: P2 W0 L2 D0 … Frank Yallop v COL: P27 W10 L10 D7


  • The Quakes broke on top in the 11th minute. Simon Dawkins sped unchecked down the left wing to collect a well-placed cross-field pass from Alan Gordon. With Colorado right back Hunter Freeman trying to recover, Dawkins cut inside and fired from the top of the box to beat goalkeeper Matt Pickens at the near post.
  • San Jose doubled the lead two minutes from the break. Rafael Baca, played down the left wing on a free kick by Ramiro Corrales, broke away toward the end line before delivering a perfect cross to the top of the six-yard box. Gordon snuck in from wide of the back post and tucked it home smartly with the outside of his right foot.
  • The Rapids pulled a goal back in the 54th minute when substitute Tyrone Marshall hammered home an unmarked header off Martin Rivero’s corner kick.
  • But in the 68th minute, Dawkins restored the two-goal cushion by lashing a first-time strike from 16 yards off a pass by Sam Cronin.
  • Gordon put things truly out of reach when he settled a long header from Ramiro Corrales and swiveled to slot it home, left-footed, from 13 yards in the 75th minute.
  • SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (4-4-2): Jon Busch - Steven Beitashour, Justin Morrow, Ike Opara, Ramiro Corrales - Marvin Chavez (Mehdi Ballouchy 80), Sam Cronin, Rafael Baca, Simon Dawkins (Sam Garza 90) - Alan Gordon (Khari Stephenson 78), Chris Wondolowski.
  • COLORADO RAPIDS (4-2-3-1): Matt Pickens - Hunter Freeman (Tyrone Marshall 46), Marvell Wynne, Drew Moor, Luis Zapata - Joseph Nane (Tony Cascio 73), Jeff Larentowicz - Brian Mullan (Andre Akpan 84), Martin Rivero, Jaime Castrillon - Conor Casey.

The Colorado Rapids played to a second consecutive draw, ending in a 1-1 tie with the LA Galaxy on Sunday evening at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The Rapids are in seventh place in the Western Conference with 31 points from 31 games.


•    The teams traded goals in the opening quarter-hour. In the 10th minute, after Robbie Keane’s shot was blocked by two Rapids defenders, the rebound fell to Marcelo Sarvas, who drilled a shot from the top of the 18-yard box into the top corner to give the Galaxy the lead.
•    But six minutes later the Rapids had their reply. After Hunter Freeman intercepted a Galaxy pass, the right back stormed up the field and sent a low cross into the penalty area for Jaime Castrillon, who cleanly finished for the equalizer.

WATCH: Rapids fall to Galaxy

•    Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja made one change to the side that came back for a 2-2 draw with Vancouver Whitecaps FC at BC Place. Hunter Freeman came into the side in place of Tyrone Marshall.


•    With the Vancouver Whitecaps FC win against Chivas USA on Wednesday evening, the Rapids were eliminated from playoff contention.
•    The Rapids did extend their current home undefeated streak to four games, with two wins and two draws in that time. But away from Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, the Rapids have gone 10 games without a win.
•    “I think I said at the beginning that this is an ongoing project and we don’t want to use that to excuse ourselves when we don’t get results. But definitely the team is looking good and I’m happy with their showing,” said Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja. “Obviously we need to get better and we have three more games and I know this is a professional staff that we have in our locker room. We don’t quit; we keep pushing for the points.”
•    Making his first start in five matches, since Aug. 25, Hunter Freeman chipped in with his fifth assist of the season, his first since Aug .11.
•    “We wanted to have some outlets on the right and defensively Drew [Moor] helps us when we’re going away, especially defending,” said Pareja. “But Hunter brought us a lot of energy on that side. As a player he crosses the ball a lot and does it very well. So I was very happy with the production that Hunter brought us today.”
•    Said Freeman: “I was a little surprised, to be quite honest, because in training all week I hadn’t really been there [with the starting 11. But that’s our job, to be ready whenever our number’s called. ... This game I think kind of played into my hands a little bit. There was a lot of space wide and going forward. Unfortunately we didn’t get the victory, but I thought my performance was good.”
•    The goal was Jaime Castrillón’s team-leading eighth of the season.
•    Pareja returned to a twin-striker setup with Conor Casey and Omar Cummings again the partnership; Casey recorded his third assist of the season.
•    “Conor was doing a great job of showing as a target. I played it into him, and just continued my run. He took a few touches, played it out wide to me and there was a lot of space to whip the ball behind the back four, but we didn’t really have guys in positions to get onto it, so I just tried to drive the ball deeper and cut it back across the box and Jaime was there making a late run. He’s gotten off the end of a lot of my crosses, so it wasn’t really a surprise,” said Freeman.
•    Holding midfielder Hendry Thomas started his fifth consecutive match, but lasted just 73 minutes, taken off because of a nagging ankle injury.
•    “I have a small pain in my ankle,” Thomas said. “It’s better. I feel some pain, but hopefully [this week] it’ll be better and I can fully train.”
•    Missing a second consecutive match, winger Brian Mullan was an unused substitute for the LA match, and hopes to again be available for the San Jose contest.

The San Jose Earthquakes extended their unbeaten streak to six games with yet another late comeback, ending in a 3-3-3 draw with FC Dallas on Saturday evening at Buck Shaw Stadium. The Quakes lead the Western Conference and the MLS overall table with 61 points from 31 games.

•    The Quakes broke through in the 24th minute. Marvin Chávez latched onto a loose ball near midfield, then delivered a bending cross from the right wing. Chris Wondolowski dummied the ball to Alan Gordon, who easily finished past a helpless Kevin Hartman.

WATCH: Quakes, FCD in wild draw

•    FC Dallas were level in the 37th minute when Jackson skipped through a tackle and fed a pass to the heart of San Jose’s defense, where Blas Pérez took one touch to free himself and tucked a sharply angled shot just inside the far post.
•    Pérez gave FCD the lead in the 72nd minute, knifing between Quakes center backs Víctor Bernárdez and Jason Hernandez to head home David Ferreira’s deft cross from the edge of the area. But San Jose was even 10 minutes later when substitute Steven Lenhart scored with a stabbing, 18-yard left-footed shot off a well-weighted layoff by Gordon.
•    FCD rookie defender Matt Hedges appeared to be the hero in the 88th minute, slotting home a rebound after Pérez’s redirection crashed off the post and was cleared off the line by Bernárdez.
•    But there was one more twist in the tale, five minutes into stoppage time, when Lenhart headed home a ball flicked on by Gordon, from a cross by Justin Morrow on the right to leave the teams in a 3-3 draw.
•    Earthquakes head coach Frank Yallop made one change to the team that defeated Seattle Sounders FC 2-1 at CenturyLink Field. Marvin Chavez came into the team in place of Simon Dawkins.
•    SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (4-4-2): Jon Busch - Steven Beitashour, Jason Hernandez, Victor Bernardez, Justin Morrow - Marvin Chavez (Shea Salinas 72), Sam Cronin, Rafael Baca (Khari Stephenson 82), Mehdi Ballouchy (Steven Lenhart 51) - Alan Gordon, Chris Wondolowski.

•    The Earthquakes continued their remarkable late heroics with another stoppage-time goal. The Quakes have scored eight goals in stoppage time that have gained a victory or a draw this season, an MLS record.
•    “We’re not surprised,” said forward Alan Gordon. “We expect to score. Definitely. After they scored their third goal, Lenny looked at me and said, ‘We’re going to get this.’ And I was right there with him. There was not one feeling of doubt in me. ...It’s a will. It’s a will to dig deep, and reach where the other team doesn’t want to reach. They thought the game was over, and it was far from over.”
•    The Quakes have scored 21 of their 65 total goals after the 76th minute; they have allowed 7 of 39 in the same time span.
•    “When we get three goals at home, we should be winning those games,” goalkeeper Jon Busch said. “Not to put a negative into it – we’ll definitely take the point – but I don’t know how many more times we can go to the well. … It keeps happening, but we can’t keep putting ourselves in these holes. Eventually, luck runs out.”
•    The Quakes are the eighth team in MLS history to have a trio of goalscorers with double-digits in goals (Chris Wondolowski 22, Alan Gordon 13, Steven Lenhart 10) – the first in a decade, since Colorado had three in 2002. Of the eight, San Jose has had one twice (1996: Paul Bravo 13, Missael Espinoza 10, Eric Wynalda 10; 1997: Ronald Cerritos 12, Jeff Baicher 10, Lawrence Lozzano 10).
•    “It’s not like we’re just lumping it forward and hoping for the best, chipping in to guys that don’t care about heading the ball,” Quakes head coach Frank Yallop said. “With Alan and Lenny, we’re putting it in to some people who want to challenge and fight and knock balls down to each other. They’re not just flicking it on and crashing, they’re trying to find each other in the box. Although it’s Route 1-looking, it’s effective.”
•    The last two Quakes goals came with the trio all on the field together again, after Lenhart came on for the final 39 minutes. San Jose has 10 goals in 239 minutes with the threesome on the pitch together.
•    “I think Gordon and Lenhart are very underrated with their touch,” Wondolowski said. “They can definitely bang with the best of them, be physical, fast and powerful, but they have a bit of class as well.”
•    Said Gordon of his second goal: “Here’s a guy [Wondolowski] that has 22 goals, he’s the best goalscorer in the league, and he has the awareness to step over the ball and know that I’m open, to have confidence in me. He should get an assist for that, to be honest, because he made everything possible. Anybody else would just try to shoot that and put it over the goal.”
•    While Gordon moved into a tie for sixth place in the MLS Golden Boot standings, he also recorded a pair of assists, and now has seven for the year, tying his career single-season best (set in 2008 with LA).
•    There was a downside to the late heroics, as winger Mehdi Ballouchy suffered a knee injury that will put him out for the remainder of the season. “You hate to see a non-contact injury like that,” Wondolowski said. “I hope he has a fast recovery. We’re going to need him, because he’s been doing well.”
•    Shea Salinas, who has not made a start since July 28 and seen just 21 minutes of action since that time, could be ready to return after replacing Ballouchy vs. FCD.
•    The Quakes extended their home undefeated run to 14 games, the second-longest active such streak in MLS.
•    “It’s a great group of fans we have here. They never leave their seats or give up on us when we’re down late in matches. We feel that energy for 90-plus minutes and it wills us to never give up,” said Lenhart. “This is a special group of men and a special fan base. More importantly than the games, we are going to remember the relationships with each other and our fans.”


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