Matt Fondy Makes Impressive First-Team Debut for San Jose Earthquakes

His breakthrough chance for the San Jose Earthquakes had arrived in a fit of finger-snapping immediacy on Thursday night, for a reason no player would ever want.Sercan Guvenisik, a half-time substitute for forward Steven Lenhart, lasted just 19 minutes in San Jose's friendly with Mexican Premier League (Liga MX) side San Luis FC before hobbling off the field with what would later be diagnosed as a hamstring problem.Earthquakes manager Frank Yallop beckoned to Fondy, who as recently as May had been plying his trade for the Los Angeles Blues in the United Soccer Leagues (USL) before being brought in as a guest player for a recent string of games.It's the sort of audition that can spark a career, should the managerial staff come away impressed with the string of performances. But that couldn't have been farther from his mind when the call came to spell Guvenisik.Maybe that was best. It's hard to get nerves when you don't have time to fall prey to worry.The 23-year-old furiously shed his warmups and filtered out onto the field, where he paired with All-Star forward Chris Wondolowski at the top of San Jose's 4-4-2 formation. It was a fun change from 19 months ago, ...
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San Jose Earthquakes Prove They Are Far More Than a “One-Man Team” in 2012

He'd notched a goal via penalty against the Montreal Impact on Aug. 18, giving him the return rate of 18 goals in just 22 league games (one goal every 1.2 games).It's the sort of proficiency, and consistency, normally resigned for the video-gaming realm, where games flash by and goals flow in.For San Jose Earthquakes forward Chris Wondolowski, however, it was merely the latest goal-scoring exploit in a season that has been chock-full of them.For a while this summer—particularly following a hat trick against Real Salt Lake on July 14, which had sprung his tally to 17 goals in 18 games, there had been serious talk of Wondolowski surpassing Roy Lassiter's league record of 27 goals scored.Following that RSL match, one journalist even asked "Wondo," as he's affectionately known in the Bay Area, whether he would like to break the record with Lassiter in attendance.Then, it had been a question readying entry into the "when" category, rather than "if." Nothing quite so captivates an American audience as a record chase in summer, after all.But there is a dilemma in affixing such a powerful spotlight upon Wondo. As he'll be the first to tell you, this season—heck, his entire career—has never been ...
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San Jose Earthquakes Break Single-Season Goals Record in 4-0 Win over Chivas USA

Since returning to Major League Soccer in 2008, San Jose had won just one of its 10 previous encounters with Chivas USA, their opponents on Sunday night. The run included this season’s May 13 draw (1-1) at Buck Shaw Stadium. But as has so often been the case this season, San Jose has a very bad habit of turning scripts on their heads. They did so again on a Sunday night that started off with a sweltering 6 p.m. PT kickoff, cutting Chivas to shreds as they took their chances, surging to a 4-0 victory. Frank Yallop made just one change from the side that defeated Colorado Rapids 4-1 last weekend, with Victor Bernardez replacing Justin Morrow at center-back. Bernardez and forward Steven Lenhart had both missed the game while serving a one-match suspension stemming from incidents in an Aug. 18 encounter with Montreal Impact. Morrow, who usually features as a left-back but had played some central defense this season—most notably last weekend against the Rapids—had played every minute this season for the Quakes. At 2,340 minutes, he’s tied for sixth-most among all MLS players, and it was deemed that he could have a rest. The fourth goal—sent in quickly ...
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San Jose Earthquakes Throttle Colorado Rapids 4-1, Increase Lead Atop West

Two goals apiece from Simon Dawkins and Alan Gordon fired the San Jose Earthquakes to a 4-1 victory over Colorado Rapids Saturday on an abnormally breezy late summer evening at Buck Shaw Stadium.The win exacted a fitting measure of revenge for the Quakes, who had not lost at home since last season against—fittingly enough—Colorado. Their current unbeaten streak at Buck Shaw now extends to 14 games (10-0-4). San Jose was playing without three of its normal starters, with striker Steven Lenhart and central defenders Victor Bernardez and Jason Hernandez sitting out due to one-game suspensions incurred during last Sunday’s match against Montreal Impact. Save for a span of 10 or so nervy minutes in the second half when Colorado pulled a goal back to make it 2-1, the makeshift central defense of Ike Opara and Justin Morrow held strong.The Earthquakes didn't miss a beat. San Jose were dominant throughout, producing a vintage display that coach Frank Yallop called “one of the best” he’d seen in his almost eight seasons of managing the club (2001-03, 2008—). The win took San Jose to a league-best 15 wins and pushed their lead in the Western Conference standings to seven points over Real Salt ...
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Steven Lenhart’s Winner Saves San Jose Earthquakes in Stoppage Time

The Seattle Sounders had every reason to feel confident heading into Saturday night's MLS Western Conference showdown against the San Jose Earthquakes.Never mind that the game would be played in the cozy confines of Buck Shaw Stadium, where San Jose have been loathe to concede points this season.Never mind that the Sounders were catching the Earthquakes on a brief dip in form—San Jose had grabbed only one point from their last possible six. Sounders striker Eddie Johnson had scored six goals in his last seven games. His fellow forward Fredy Montero had two goals in his last three. Midfielder Mauro Rosales had six assists in his last six games. But a taxing run of games—including Wednesday’s U.S. Open Cup final, which had gone all the way to penalties before Sporting Kansas City prevailed—had forced head coach Sigi Schmid to make some key changes to his normal lineup.Rosales and Johnson had both gone the entire 120 minutes in the Open Cup final, and Schmid decided that, given as how those two and Montero would be unable to go a full 90 minutes against San Jose, he would bring them on as impact substitutes.The gambit nearly worked, too. By the time 90 ...
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San Jose Earthquakes Don’t Miss a Beat with Alan Gordon Leading the Line

Alan Gordon didn’t earn a starting nod in last Wednesday’s Major League Soccer (MLS) All-Star game. He didn’t open the scoring, either, in what would become a thrilling 3-2 victory for the MLS' best over Chelsea, last season's European Champions. Those distinctions went to Gordon’s San Jose Earthquakes teammate, and fellow striker, Chris Wondolowski, a man who is poised to enjoy a potentially historic 2012 season. Wondolowski’s 17 league goals, accrued in just 21 games for an astounding return rate of 0.81 goals per game, have captivated the hearts and minds of supporters around the league.Many believe the late-blooming 29-year-old presents the most formidable threat to Roy Lassiter’s record of 27 goals in an MLS season, a feat the former Tampa Bay forward achieved in the league's inaugural 1996 campaign.With 11 games remaining, the record is very much within "Wondo's" reach. But the 'Quakes' captain will be the first to tell you that he'd never have reached this blooming stage in his career without the teammates who take the field with him for each game.There's a reason that the San Jose starting eleven huddle up before, and often during, games. There's a reason the players often hug each other before ...
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San Jose Earthquakes and Swansea City’s Absorbing Friendly Ends in 2-2 Draw

Wholesale changes were in order throughout Tuesday night’s friendly between San Jose Earthquakes and Swansea City, with both Frank Yallop (San Jose) and Michael Laudrup (Swansea) clearing out their substitutes’ benches. By the time the final whistle had gone on a 2-2 draw, Laudrup had used 21 players in total to Yallop’s 19. Both managers used the word “pleased” in their post-game press conferences when asked to describe their reaction to the result, played out in front of 9,239 at Buck Shaw Stadium. “It was very useful, what I saw tonight,” said Laudrup, who took over the Swansea managerial post on June 15 after Brendan Rodgers left for Liverpool FC. “I think the first half, the first 60, 65 minutes we did well. It’s getting much better everyday, you can see that. We scored a couple of goals, and we could have scored a couple more.” “But in the last 20 to 25 minutes we forgot the ball, we forgot to play,” Laudrup continued. “We gave it away too soon. That’s difficult for our team if we don’t have the ball, because then of course we have to run and it becomes difficult for us.” During his two seasons at ...
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San Jose Earthquakes Acquire Midfielder Mehdi Ballouchy from New York Red Bulls

The San Jose Earthquakes used a package deal of a 2013 international player spot and a conditional draft pick from that same year to entice New York Red Bulls to send along midfielder Mehdi Ballouchy, San Jose's official website reported Monday morning.Ballouchy, a seven-year MLS veteran who had been traded to New York from the Colorado Rapids in September 2010, started 10 times for Red Bulls this season (16 total appearances), providing a goal and two assists.The native of Morocco moved to Denver with his brother as a teenager, spending his junior year attending South High School. The two then moved to Palo Alto, where Ballouchy attended Gunn High School for his senior year.He committed to Creighton University and spent his freshman year at the Nebraska school, but then transferred to Santa Clara University. Playing for coach Cam Rast, Ballouchy thrived in his new school's sunny, palm-tree laden climes.By the time his second season at SCU had come to a close in 2005, Ballouchy had been named a Soccer America and NSCAA/adidas First Team All-American while leading the Broncos to a spot in the NCAA Tournament.His production caught the eye of talent evaluators, and was soon included in one of ...
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Steven Lenhart’s Heroics Help San Jose Earthquakes Earn 1-1 Draw vs. Chicago

Flushed from the excitement of San Jose Earthquakes’ dramatic come-from-behind 3-2 victory over rivals Los Angeles Galaxy on May 23, forward Steven Lenhart summed up his side’s resolute approach by exclaiming, “Goonies never say die!” It was an apt reference to the popular 1980s movie about a ragtag group of kids who continually defy the odds, and it would grow to define an entire season.The Goonies moniker perfectly encapsulated the Earthquakes’ penchant for finding ways to snatch points from the jaws of defeat. The players have made it their own, with team captain Chris Wondolowski even wearing a shirt emblazoned with the motto after some games. While 2012 has been a watershed season for comebacks, San Jose are hardly new to that game. Wondolowski, currently leading the league in scoring with 17 goals through 21 games, topped Major League Soccer with nine game-winning goals in 2010, tying Carlos Ruiz for the single-season league record. Entering Saturday’s game against Chicago Fire, San Jose led the league with 26 goals scored from the 61st minute onward. Their 4-3-3 record after conceding first was also tops.So when Fire winger Chris Rolfe caught ‘Quakes keeper Jon Busch off his line and sent his side ahead 1-0 ...
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Sam Cronin Is the Engine That Powers the San Jose Earthquakes

San Jose Earthquakes central midfielder Sam Cronin rushed toward central defender Jason Hernandez, who was standing with the ball near midfield, and pointed with his finger to where he wanted Hernandez to play it—in front of him, just so, so Cronin could then dictate play.Hernandez acquiesced, and just like that, Cronin was in possession at center circle.The 25-year-old midfielder doesn't usually hold onto the ball for long—his style of play is a staple of the modern-paced midfield game, where one and two touches reign, coupled with uncanny vision and movement.Cronin pairs with Rafael Baca in the 'Quakes' midfield, which uses two central midfielders in a 4-4-2 formation. Baca usually plays a bit higher than Cronin, and to the left, roaming about the attacking third as Cronin holds his position a bit deeper.That makes his defensive acumen—tracking runs from opposing players, being sturdy in tackles—of utmost importance.Against the Los Angeles Galaxy in June 30's fabled California Clasico, at a Stanford Stadium filled to the brim (some 50,391 strong, with a heavy preponderance of Earthquakes supporters), Cronin was tasked with stymieing the prodigious attacking threats of Landon Donovan, David Beckham and Robbie Keane.Though the Galaxy managed to put three goals past 'Quakes' ...
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