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MLS Match Preview: San Jose Earthquakes vs. Real Salt Lake

BUCK SHAW STADIUM, Santa Clara, Calif.
March 3, 2013 (WEEK 1, MLS Game #9)
10 pm ET / 7 pm PT (CSN-CA; KUCW)

A real insight into the Western Conference power rankings will be on display in the season's first week, when the San Jose Earthquakes entertain Real Salt Lake at Buck Shaw Stadium. The Quakes are coming off a Supportersí Shield-winning season that ended in the conference quarterfinals to eventual champion LA. Real have undergone a real makeover over the offseason, also seeing their campaign last year end in the West quarters to Seattle.

REFEREE: Hilario Grajeda. SAR (bench): Kermit Quisenberry; JAR (opposite): Paul Scott; 4th: Ricardo Salazar
MLS Career: 76 games; FC/gm: 24.5; Y/gm: 3.6; R: 14; pens: 11




ALL-TIME (16 meetings): Earthquakes 6 wins, 24 goals ... Real 5 wins, 22 goals ... Ties 5
AT SAN JOSE (8 meetings): Earthquakes 4 wins, 17 goals ... Real 3 wins, 11 goals ... Ties 1
RETURN MATCHES: 6/1: Real Salt Lake vs. San Jose Earthquakes, 7:30 p.m. MT; 9/21: Real Salt Lake vs. San Jose Earthquakes, 7 p.m. MT


4/21: SJ 3, RSL 1 (Stephenson 47+; Dawkins 92+; Wondolowski 93+ -- Beckerman 53)
6/23: RSL 1, SJ 2 (Morales 79 - Gordon 75; Wondolowski 84)
7/14: SJ 5, RSL 0 (Wondolowski 18, 72, 80; Gordon 63; Dawkins 79)

  • The Earthquakes won all three meetings a season ago in dominating fashion, scoring 10 goals in all, capping the encounters with a 5-0 victory at Buck Shaw Stadium on July 14.
  • The three victories by San Jose snapped a five-game league winless streak in the series, dating back to 2009. Coming into last season, Real had won three of the previous five MLS meetings, with two draws.
  • The Quakes win last year in Sandy was their first ever at Rio Tinto Stadium, and their first in Utah since RSL's inaugural season of 2005.
  • Coaches record: Frank Yallop vs. RSL: P17 W6 L7 D4 ... Jason Kreis vs. SJ: P12 W5 L4 D3


Coming off a season where they set attacking records on their way to the Supportersí Shield, the San Jose Earthquakes come into 2013 looking for some redemption. After the record-setting regular campaign and a first-leg win in LA, the season came to a sudden end with a crushing loss in the second leg of the Western Conference quarterfinals. Frank Yallop begins his ninth season in charge of the club (and sixth in a row) looking for a third title.

WATCH: The Scouting Report on San Jose Earthquakes


  • The Earthquakes ended their preseason last Saturday with a 2-1 win against FC Dallas in the final match of the Portland Preseason Tournament at Jeld-Wen Field. After Chris Wondolowski and Jackson traded goals 11 minutes apart in the first half, Mike Fucito scored the match-winner four minutes after the second-half restart.
  • Here's the Earthquakes team: Jon Busch, Dan Gargan, Victor Bernardez, Jason Hernandez, Justin Morrow, Shea Salinas (Cordell Cato 69), Rafael Baca (Brad Ring 69), Abu Tommy (Sam Garza 42), Ramiro Corrales (John Bostock 78), Chris Wondolowski, Mike Fucito (Adam Jahn 69).
  • The Earthquakes finished the Portland tournament with a 1-0-2 record following a 3-3 draw with the Portland Timbers and a scoreless tie against AIK (Sweden).
  • After a stunning 2012 campaign where he tied the all-time MLS single season record with 27 goals, earning Volkswagen MLS MVP honors as well as the Budweiser Golden Boot and an MLS Best XI selection, Chris Wondolowski was signed to a Designated Player deal in the days leading up to the start of the season.
  • "Chris has been a fantastic player for this club over the last three years and this new contract is a just reward," said Earthquakes head coach Frank Yallop. "He's been the top goalscorer in our league over the last three years, works hard and does all the right things on and off the field. Weíre very excited to have him in the fold long-term here in San Jose."
  • The Quakes will be missing a large number of starters to kick off the new season. Two of their first-choice strikers - Alan Gordon (left foot surgery) and Steven Lenhart (right knee surgery) - will both miss the match.
  • "I certainly don't want to rush anything, but I'd prefer to be on the field and just with the guys and playing for Frank," said Lenhart."I'd prefer to be out there, any opportunity I have, whether it's training or in a game. But it is a long season, and we do have to think big picture."
  • In addition, the Earthquakes will be without defender Steven Beitashour (sports hernia repair) and midfielder Marvin Ch·vez (right MCL sprain).
  • "I think our focus has really changed," Gordon said."Mine has. Last year was a different feel. We were coming off a bad season, and we wanted to make the playoffs. ... You can't peak too soon. We got injured at the end of last year, and look at the Galaxy. They started off slow, [did a] lot of recovering. Once they got focused, they were rolling right into the playoffs, and we met them when they were at their strongest."


IN: DF Dan Gargan (12/14/12 - Re-Entry Draft Stage 2); DF Ty Harden (12/14/12 - Re-Entry Draft Stage 2); DF Bryan Jordan (12/14/12 - Re-Entry Draft Stage 2); FW Mike Fucito (1/17/13 - trade from Portland); DF Peter McGlynn (2/15/13 - Supplemental Draft); DF Nana Attakora (2/22/13 - transfer from FC Haka)

OUT: DF Tim Ward (11/28/12 - option declined); MF Joey Gjertsen (11/28/12 - option declined); MF Khari Stephenson (11/28/12 - option declined); DF Ike Opara (12/12/12 - trade to Sporting KC)



After reaching the MLS Cup Playoffs for a fifth consecutive season - though seeing their campaign come to an end in a quarterfinal loss to Seattle - it's been an offseason of change for Real Salt Lake. A number of regulars - including three Cup-winning, long-time campaigners for the club - have all left. Jason Kreis will take over a much younger team in his sixth full season in charge of the club - coming off a single-season most 17 wins a year ago.

WATCH: The Scouting Report on Real Salt Lake


  • Real concluded their preseason campaign with a 1-0 loss to Seattle Sounders FC in the final of the 2013 FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup at Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium on Saturday night. The game's lone goal was scored by Alex Caskey in the 51st minute.
  • Here's the RSL team: Nick Rimando, Tony Beltran, Kwame Watson-Siriboe, Chris Schuler, Kenny Mansally, Kyle Beckerman, Sebastian Velasquez (John Stertzer 46), Khari Stephenson (David Viana 68), Ned Grabavoy, Alvaro Saborio, Robbie Findley (Joao Plata 46).
  • With the departure of JamÌson Olave during the offseason (to New York) and injuries to Nat Borchers and Chris Wingert, the back four in the Desert Diamond Cup finale looks to be the group that will start in San Jose.
  • "All four of them back there have proven to be good players in MLS and starters, but we really haven't had all four together at the same time," goalkeeper Nick Rimando said."Borchers complemented Schuler, Olave complemented Kwame [Watson-Siriboe] - it's different when you have two young guys who get thrown in there to be on the same page right away."
  • Real picked up veteran backup for Rimando when they signed Josh Saunders - who backstopped the LA Galaxy to the MLS Cup title last season.
  • "We were surprised that Josh was available and we are happy to bring him in," Real Salt Lake GM Garth Lagerwey said."We want to have competition at every spot and I think we got to a point with our goalkeeping situation where we hadn't had that. Signing Josh is key to changing that."
  • RSL also signed Jamaican international midfielder Khari Stephenson, last with San Jose where he did not have his contract pickup following the conclusion of the season. Stephenson played both on the outside and the top of RSL's midfield diamond during the preseason.
  • "Khari is another player who we did not expect to be available and we feel very fortunate that he wasî Lagerwey said."He's an attack-minded player who is very physical and keeps the ball well. We think he'll be a very good fit in our system."
  • Real will also be without midfielder Javier Morales, who is still recovering from surgery to repair a torn lateral meniscus, and has not seen the training field since surgery on Feb. 4.


IN: MF Cole Grossman (11/19/12 - waiver draft); MF Aaron Maund (12/3/12 - trade from Toronto FC); MF Lovel Palmer (12/14/12 - Re-Entry Draft Stage 2); FW Robbie Findley (1/16/13 - rights traded from Portland); MF John Stertzer (1/17/13 - SuperDraft); FW Joao Plata (1/30/13 - trade from Toronto); FW Devon Sandoval (2/19/13 - SuperDraft); FW Olmes GarcÌa (2/21/13 - transfer from Deportivo QuindÌo); GK Josh Saunders (2/22/13 - free); MF Khari Stephenson (2/22/13 - free)

OUT: MF Nico MuÒiz (11/19/12 - option declined); GK Kyle Reynish (12/3/12 - option declined); MF Jonny Steele (12/3/12 - option declined); FW Paulo Jr. (12/3/12 - option declined); FW Emiliano Bonfigli (12/3/12 - option declined); FW Justin Braun (12/3/12 - traded to Toronto); DF J·mison Olave (12/3/12 - traded to New York); FW Fabi·n EspÌndola (12/3/12 - traded to New York); MF Will Johnson (12/3/12 - traded to Portland)

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