Winning a home game is sweet enough. Winning your first home game as a reborn club is even sweeter.
Winning that first game as a reborn club against the team you used to call your own? Priceless.
Earthquake fans expect ups and downs and disappointments with an expansion year, but Thursday’s 2-1 win against the Houston Dynamo will make dealing with this expansion season a little easier.
As for the Dynamo, just when you thought the champions were ready to turn things around here comes the type of lackluster performance that has plagued the first two months of Houston’s season.
SBI Correspondent Kevin Matthiessen was at the match and provided us with his take on the action below:(Houston Dynamo Correspondent Alex Swaim is out of the country. If you are interested in being a Houston correspondent please contact SBI).
Beating Dynamo gives Earthquake fans reason to hope
By KEVIN MATTHIESSEN
Old Quakes, new Quakes, homecomings, reunions, blah, blah, blah. None of this was on the minds of die hard Earthquakes fans. We’ve already had all of that in the preseason in the P.A.L. stadium game and the Kezar Stadium game. Love had already been lost. And though eight of the Dynamo players received a healthy welcome, it was back to business against brand X MLS team.
It has been my experience that when teams have a good preseason, they usually have a good year in the regular season. That’s why I’ve had such high expectations for the Earthquakes reincarnate. You see, in preseason, they’d tied the Dynamo and DC United, beat the Crew, Toronto FC, and spanked the NY Red Bulls. Heck, they even put more silverware in their trophy case already. And even though all the so-called experts had them deeply rooted in the cellar on their prediction charts, I assumed none of those pundits had even seen them play yet.
After five defeats and only one victory and a draw, I figured it’s time to lower my expectations. Maybe all the sports writers were right after all. Maybe the Quakes did suck and maybe it was a bad idea for Frank Yallop to build from the back. That figures too because I had been pretty happy with every transaction the team had made thus far. Since I’m not an MLS coach or GM, maybe that’s not such a great thing when it comes to wins and losses.
So as I lowered my rear end into my seat at Buck Shaw, I also lowered my expectations. I was thinking, "Gee I wonder how the Quakes are going to lose this game and how bad will it be."
Well the Quakes didn’t lose this time, and they didn’t even tie, they won. Though the home victory could have come a lot sooner, it finally came, and it sure has repaired my faith in the team.
On defense, Ramiro Corrales stayed in the middle of the park just in front of the center backs. This essentially blocked the creativity of De Rosario and kept Ricardo Clark at bay. Eric Denton always kept Brian Mullan in front of him. With some help from Ivan Guerrero, they limited Mullan’s impact in the game.
On offense, Ryan Johnson did all he could to root himself in the starting lineup. To most observers he is exactly what the front line has been missing all season. He did a great job holding the ball up, was excellent in the air, and had a fearlessness about him, that gave the team and the fans confidence going forward. Ivan Guerrero was all over the place and Kei Kamara found space when needed.
All in all, this game restored the confidence of the players and the fans. I think the playoffs may not be impossible.
Welcome Home Dom
You gotta love Dominic Kinnear. The bay area native and former Clasher’s firey passion puts him in a league of his own. He’s not afraid to talk back to anyone. Referrees, opposition players and coaches, and even fans can meet his wrath. One of the funniest things I’ve ever experienced at a game happened on Thursday night. I didn’t hear the heckler but suddenly Dom turns around and says "Hey retard, I’ve already made my three subs!"
I just have never seen a player or coach ever talk back to a heckler. Though this was very amusing it is unfortunate that because of that one heckler, he has a negative view of all of us (from what I read of his post-game interviews). Ah well, go back to Houston then! (We still love you Dom.)