Quakes Score "Early" and Beat Seattle
By Tommy Brown
It only took four matches for the San Jose Earthquakes to score their first first-half goal of the season, and even then it came in stoppage time. Chris Wondolowski's wonderful curling far post shot in the 46th minute was the deciding factor, though Wondo could have easily had a hat-trick on the night.
In his post-game interview Frank Yallop addressed how important it was to get that first-half goal, but also joked about how Wondo had managed to score the most difficult of his three first half chances. In the end, however, what a goal it was, a brilliant outside of the foot first touch to set up a half-volleyed strike that caromed off the far post and into the back of the net, with nothing that Seattle goalkeeper Gspurning (who had a great game himself) could do.
However, it was a position this San Jose team had not yet experienced this season, and with a makeshift backline that included Dan Gargan's first Quakes appearance at left back, and Nana Attakora's first match since returning from Finland, maintaining a one goal lead seemed a tall task. Though Seattle managed a slew of chances in the second half, Attakora was an immense presence in the middle, and Jon Busch made a vital spectacular double save late in the match to keep the clean sheet.
Yallop decided to make no changes on the night, and post match mentioned that much of the reasoning was due to the potential of set-plays, and the size that Adam Jahn and Ramiro Corrales offered defensively were key factors in that decision (Corrales especially seemed winded at the end of the match, though he managed to create a fantastic opportunity Gspurning saved). With Marcus Tracy making a rare appearance on the bench, I'm sure many Quakes fans were hoping to get a glimpse, but the situation just did not allow for experimentation, and I agree with Yallop's final decisions tonight.
Overall, a good performance from the Quakes, perhaps not as dominant as in previous weeks, but a result everyone can enjoy, and in the end, that's really what matters. Jahn still looks to be a great interim Gordo/Lenny replacement, and Attakora would have man of the match honors if Busch didn't make the immense double save in the back, which gives me hope that the depth of the squad is looking up. Dan Gargan also filled in well at leftback while Justin Morrow is away on international duty, and Sam Cronin, again, was simply key in the Quakes success. Cronin is the engine, the one that gets no credit but quietly pulls the strings and runs the team, to watch him orchestrate is to watch art being made.
San Jose plays at Houston next week, which should be a good matchup of two attack-heavy teams.