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MLS Preseason Rewind: San Jose opens stadium with win; Altidore, Giovinco strike for TFC; and more

Avaya Stadium San Jose Earthquakes by Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY

 Photo by Cary Edmondson / USA Today Sports


San Jose’s Avaya Stadium already appears to be a good home.

The Earthquakes triumphed 3-2 over California Clasico rivals LA Galaxy in their final tune-up ahead of the season and the first match held inside their new digs. The match was treated as a soft opening for the 18,000-seat venue, but there was nothing soft about the play on the field.

San Jose took the lead just before halftime after Shea Salinas’ cross found Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez in an awkward stance. The ball deflected off of him and into the net for an own goal at a crucial time of the match.

JJ Koval made it 2-0 in the 58th minute when he was found at the top of the box by Chris Wondolowski. Less than 10 minutes later, the Galaxy got one back when Robbie Rogers’ cross found the head of Jose Villareal.

As he has so many times this preseason, Adam Jahn restored San Jose’s two-goal lead by heading in a corner in the 67th minute. It was Jahn’s seventh goal of the preseason.

A late Robbie Keane strike was added for good measure in a goal-filled evening to open the Avaya. San Jose has its true home opener on March 22 against Chicago Fire, after the season opens against FC Dallas on March 7. The Galaxy open their season on Friday at home against the Fire.

Here are more recaps from MLS preseason action:


Toronto FC enters the season with its big-name attacking acquisitions in the score sheet.

Both Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore scored to give TFC a 2-1 win against Costa Rica U-23s to end its IMG Suncoast Pro Classic campaign in Bradenton, Florida. Giovinco scored his first goal since joining the team when he smashed a volley into the right side of the net in the ninth minute.

The Italian played provider for the second goal when he chipped a ball to the back post for Altidore, who applied the one-touch finish in the 63rd minute.

There was some cause for concern, though, as both Benoit Cheyrou, who set up Giovinco’s opener, and Justin Morrow had to leave the game early through injury. They are not believed to be serious setbacks ahead of TFC’s season opener against Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday.


An emphatic 3-0 victory against Orlando City handed Houston Dynamo its third Carolina Challenge Cup title on Saturday.

Orlando City finished the game with nine players after both Aurelien Collin and Carlos Rivas were shown red cards. Collin was sent off for bringing down Kofi Sarkodie in the box during a clear scoring opportunity.

Brad Davis dispatched the penalty to double the Dynamo’s lead in the 30th minute. They had taken the lead three minutes prior through a Will Bruin strike.

Just before halftime, Houston scored its third when Boniek Garcia sent Leonel Miranda through on goal. The Argentine faked his shot, sending goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts to the ground before sending the ball into the net.

Rivas entered the game in the 63rd minute for Orlando, but he was marching off a minute later when his arm hit Luis Garrido in the face.

The Dynamo plays Columbus Crew at home on Saturday to open the season, while Orlando City welcomes fellow expansion team New York City FC to Florida to begin Sunday’s MLS action.


New York City FC will enter its inaugural MLS season off a 3-0 win against Charleston Battery.

In a dominant display, NYCFC opened the scoring through Ned Grabavoy in the 26th minute. Grabavoy was played in behind the defense by Mehdi Ballouchy and finished with the outside of his foot for a 1-0 lead.

He set up the second goal, driving into the box from the left before dropping the ball off to Adam Nemec for an easy finish. The Battery were then reduced to 10-men after Navion Boyd was shown a red card for shoving Jason Hernandez in the face.

The man advantage was made to count in the 64th minute when Nemec’s cross found Mix Diskerud, whose volley found the back of the net.


Despite it being preseason, there were still plenty of sparks flying during Real Salt Lake’s 2-1 victory against Colorado Rapids to win the Desert Diamond Cup.

RSL finished the night with 10-men, holding off the Rapids after Alvaro Saborio was sent off with 40 minutes left in the game. He clashed with Michael Harrington during a free kick to earn a red card, but Javier Morales curled the set piece into the net for the 51st minute winner.

Luis Gill set up Olmes Garcia for RSL to grab the opening goal in the eighth minute. Colorado equalized in the 28th minute through Dillon Serna.

The Rapids open the season on the road against Philadelphia Union on Saturday. RSL heads to Portland later that evening to open up its season.


Sporting Kansas City had two outings to end its preseason schedule on Saturday, and neither ended in defeat.

After dispatching of Minnesota United 1-0 in the early game, Sporting played Seattle Sounders to a 1-1 draw in its final Desert Diamond Cup games. Bernardo Anor handed Sporting the win against NASL’s Minnesota when he put a deflected corner kick into the net from close range.

Sporting put its probable starters ahead of the new season out of that game, opting to go with a slightly less experienced team for the Seattle game. It didn’t seem to change much when Jimmy Medranda dribbled inside the box and found striker Connor Hallisey for the opening goal in the eighth minute.

A strong Sounders lineup struck back through a familiar partnership. After picking the ball up deep in the attacking third, Clint Dempsey slid a pass behind the defense to a sprinting Obafemi Martins who scored past substitute goalkeeper Jon Kempin in the 60th minute.

Sporting opens its season at home against New York Red Bulls on Sunday, followed by Seattle and New England that same evening.


Back in Bradenton, Florida, Philadelphia wrapped up its IMG Suncoast Classic with a  3-1 win against the Red Bulls.

The scoring started in just the second minute with an own goal. A cross from Andrew Wenger deflected off of Red Bulls defender Ronald Zubar and sailed just over the outstretched arm of Luis Robles.

The Union took it upon themselves to double the advantage in the 32nd minute when Fernando Aristeguieta headed in a free-kick. Wenger made it three with a low finish in the 44th minute.

Ending the shutout, Red Bulls forward Bradley Wright-Phillips netted after finishing a cross from Sal Zizzo in the 80th minute, but the Union suppressed any late comeback.


Vancouver Whitecaps 1, Chicago Fire 1 (RECAP)

Columbus Crew 4, Oklahoma City Energy FC 1 (RECAP)

San Antonio Scorpions 2, FC Dallas 1 (RECAP)


  1. Can’t stand the open ended stadiums MLS builds but the rest of the stadium looks impressive. Glad to see San Jose out of the high school stadium.

  2. Nice another weird looking MLS soccer stadium, but at least better than nothing.
    Hopefully dc, revolution, LA2, Miami, and Sacramento get their stadium before 2020. Other teams that would benefit from a soccer stadium would be, Vancouver with that awesome skyline, same thing with Seattle, Columbus downtown but I know sounders have a perfect stadium and location.
    But in reality, sounders should buy that NBA arena land and make their stadium there or at the old stadium by the needle. If huskies got their stadium totally remodel and the citrus got also redone, why not do something similar for sounders.
    Then if you ask me, what teams need to remodel their digs like tfc plan to, that would be galaxy and rapids.
    Most of MLS to stadiums need a real roof cover design like skc or red bull arena.

  3. Quakes have SOLD OUT most of the stadium sections, with season tickets alone. They’ve sold out the opener, and if I had to guess, they’ll sell out almost every game this year.

    The stadium is beautiful and has great sightlines all around. Go Quakes!

  4. Not sure why Bruce played Todd at centerback, sucks to lose to them, but heck the real games start on Friday. Go Galaxy!

  5. This is what I don’t like about MLS fans, they get all excited for these kind of stadiums.
    What is wrong with these fans, I know it’s better than nothing or playing in a NFL stadium but when you get excited about a high school stadium look alike, a bar, food trucks, and grass, that must mean your not a real soccer fan.

      • I know you are gonna shoot me, but my team is cosmos. Back in the day, inplayed for a local team name cosmos and we had their colors and the coach loved the cosmos and due to him, I became a cosmos fan.
        But I support Houston dynamo in MLS, until cosmos move to MLS, which might be be never 🙁
        Also, don’t get me wrong, Houston dynamos stadium isn’t perfect and our roof cover is whack and there was no need for a stage cover and beer patio and our supporters section is awkwardly set and we need a full roof cover since it’s damn hot and it rains 24/7 in the summer.
        If you ask me the best stadiums in MLS, I’ll say skc park, red bull arena, rio tinto, and dynamos.

      • Apparently, it’s a college stadium in Hempstead with some of the worst turf in the country and 4k fans rattling around in the stands.

  6. I am impressed by the whole stadium set-up. You can walk around the concourse and watch the game. The pitch seemed very fast, and, of course, the Earthquakes won. I was able to get to the stadium by public transportation and the view over the airport was great towards the green hills. The airplanes did not infringe upon the fan noise.

  7. I went to the Quakes game and can say that the stadium is impressive. I really like the open area behind the wide screen. There is a full bar under it as well as a grassy area for games and food trucks. I can’t remember ever going to a stadium and having the choice of a mixed drink or a nice tall beer equipped with a piece of lime. The seats themselves are comfortable and there really isn’t a bad place to sit. I had seats near midfield but moved to the supporters section for the second half to partake in the chants. The club level looks amazing, they have couches in there and it appeared to be catered. I’m looking forward the season and can’t wait to go back to that stadium. Good job Earthquakes! You deserve to finally have your own home.

    • Was the stadium as empty as it looks in the above pic? I hope not. If so, that is poor on your fans part. Very poor for a 1st chance in a new stadium and playing LA. Pre-season or not. I just sat through 2 games, in rain and 40 degree weather in Charleston, SC that had more fans than that.

      • Slow your roll, Scott. It was a “soft opening” – a common occurrence for new stadiums in all sports – and tickets were limited to 10,000 per media reports. But also, congrats on sitting through two miserable games.

      • Having bought tickets in previous seasons, I got promo emails indicating the Quakes were intentionally limiting the number of tickets being sold. I think that was meant by a soft launch. They wanted to put the stadium through its paces and try out their systems with a manageable, friendly crowd before they tried to fill it to capacity. (if your parking lot flow, service times at vendors, bathroom crowd overflow are off it is better to find that out with 5-10K fans in pre-season before you pack in 15K+ for a meaningful game)

      • That looks like it was taken before the game started too. The stands were absolutely more filled by kickoff, and continued to fill out as fans finished exploring and getting concessions–although a lot of people stayed down by the bar instead of moving to the seats.

      • Brilliant. Us folks in the bay area have heard this promo for months on the radio / tv / etc. Nicely played.

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