The rebirth finally happened for San Jose Earthquake fans last weekend as two years of frustration and absence were erased by the sights of players taking the field at McCafee Coliseum in Earthquakes uniforms.
No, the team didn’t win, or even score a goal, but after two years of missing their team, San Jose fans at least had a squad to call their own.
The Earthquakes still don’t have an offense to call their own, no surprise considering Ronnie O’Brien is the only player who anyone could regard as a dangerous attacker. That didn’t stop San Jose fans from taking solace in the fact that the Earthquakes were right there with an established Chicago squad.
SBI Correspondent Kevin Matthieson was at the game and offers his take on the historic and memorable day:
The Earthquakes are back, even if the goals are not
By KEVIN MATTHIESSEN
It was not yet dawn on the morning of the Earthquakes first opening day since 2005. Not an alarm, nor a nudge, nor the light of the sun was needed to get this soccer fan out of bed on this fine day. Being as though everyone was still asleep, I tip-toed down the stairs to make some coffee and take care of some necessary tasks around the house before making the journey to the game. And yes I had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn’t in fact dreaming.
Today is opening day and I am going to be there. Until just a few short days ago, this opening day adventure was an uncertainty. What could possibly prevent me from partaking in this historical event? Two words: moving day. Yes, we had been trying to close on a new house for weeks. I had everything planned out and we would move the week before opening day. I wasn’t even going to miss the Quakes first game since that was happening a few days prior. Everything was perfect until the Friday before last that our agent said "This isn’t going happen today. The paperwork isn’t in and even still, it takes days after that…"
Yes, panic was starting to set in. This was not good. I had to make contingent plans. I’d give my brother my ticket. Though happy for him that he would get to go, it made me well, downright sad.
After many phone calls and nervous moments throughout the week, it turned out that we were all set to move just before the weekend. Indeed, we got it all done. Even the cable TV would be hooked up so I could archive the game to DVD as originally planned.
So there I was, on my three hour, three bridges, triangular journey to pick up my friend and get to the stadium in Oakland. I couldn’t help but feel blessed that everything in the world was just right.
Well, turns out almost everything was just right except there were no goals for the home team. We had the MLS Cup trophies presentations, fireworks, parachutists, good weather, a diverse crowd, and great soccer. We had screaming shots nearly missed wide, frozen ropes parried away by the acrobatics of Jon Busch, great hustle in the blazing heat, and a small skirmish. We even got to see the "Blanco Leap" thwarted by a good San Jose defense.
The Earthquakes were the better team on the day and showed great promise. Sure, there was another defensive lapse that led to the lone goal and a severe lack of finishing, but they also displayed long stretches of Yallop-style soccer on the day. The Quakes had the lion’s share of possession with crisp passing and excellent link-up play. They were also able to contain the magic of Cuauhtémoc Blanco for most of the game.
A good measure of how the much the ‘Quakes dominated, in my opinion is corner kicks. The Earthquakes had seven, The Fire, zero. Unfortunately, San Jose couldn’t convert any of them. Jason Hernandez in particular had a few chances but didn’t bother the keeper at all.
I wouldn’t be surprised if this week’s training consisted primarily of corner kicks, free kicks, and finishing drills. That part of their game at least needs a lot of work though everything else looks just fine.
Next week, I expect a 0-0 draw at Colorado. When I think of the first two match results, I can’t help but think of this style of I.Q.-style question: Fill in the blank in logical order: 0-2, 0-1, ___. Hopefully the results will continue in that trend until the Earthquakes "real" home opener on May 3rd at the renovated Buck Shaw Stadium in Santa Clara. For that one, logic indicates: Earthquakes 3, FC Dallas 0.