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A Supporter’s View: San Jose Earthquakes


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


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 CuauhtĂ©moc 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.


  1. Good article; I don’t think the stats lie – except for finishing, San Jose was definitely the better team on the day. And let’s not forget Shea Salinas missing that sitter late in the game – it should have ended 1-1. (Although I think Salinas added a lot of spark off the bench). If your a San Jose fan, I think you have to be encouraged – like Chris Sullivan said, this team is much farther along than the other expansion teams of recent years. Kamara and Glinton look good, I too hope they can step up, but this team would really benefit from a good finisher…

  2. Thanks for the comments guys. Where’s my man Tony in Quakeland by the way?

    Hey Modibo, good point. Wow those are odd stats by the way. Definitely a head scratcher.

    I have to say it again, I still believe in Kamara and Glinton. I think if given the chance to keep playing together, they will find the back of the net no problem. And yes, I know those opinions are going against the grain…

  3. I think Guerrero and Ronnie O’Brien are a very good combination out wide, witht he former pacey and tricky enough to get to the byline and ROB able to deliver some of the best service in MLS from the right.

    I don’t think anyone beats our (TFC’s) drought, but without a striker they’ll be contenders. I think, overall, they’ll score less goals than TFC this year.

  4. Aristotle is correct, this team WILL set the record for least goals scored. Not a bad collection of defeneders and role players, but still two strikers, an attacking mid, and a true winger away from even posing a threat to anyone in this league (I mean, they did get shut out by the Galaxy didn’t they? Of course, Xavier was suspended, but still…)

  5. Kevin, I agree that the Fire did not look particularly impressive on the field on Sat. But be careful with your stats in trying to push the case for the Quakes’ dominance.

    You specifically cite corners. Let’s compare this past weekend’s stats with Chicago’s prior match:

    Sat April 12


    Fire 0 Quakes 7


    Fire 1 Quakes 0

    Thurs April 3


    Fire 1 Revs 11 (yes! 11!)


    Fire 4 Revs 0

    The weekend before that, for those keeping track, the Fire and RSL tied with 3 corners – and one goal each.

    The point is that corners are a poor indication of really controlling the play. The Fire ripped NE, and they didn’t do it by winning corner kicks. Maybe the Fire’s particularly strong in the air defensively… but if Yallop did his homework on the Revs match he would certainly not bank on taking 3 points by teeing it off from the flags (and I’m not saying that was his gameplan by any means).


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