Categorized | Match Reports

Quakes survive first half slugfest to outlast Dynamo

Posted on 30 March 2009 by mdiamond

Johnson opened the scoring on minute 30

In a wild and woolly first half that saw all five goals scored within a fifteen minute span, the San Jose Earthquakes outlasted the Houston Dynamo, 3-2, for their first win of the season. Cam Weaver earned his first MLS goal with the game winner that came a minute before half time.

The Dynamo were without their two starting strikers. Brian Ching was with the US National Team, and Kei Kamara remains on suspension after a pre-season altercation. The Dynamo remain winless after two starts.

The Quakes opened the scoring in the 30th minute when striker Ryan Johnson scored the team’s first goal of the season. The play developed off a header by Arturo Alvarez into the middle to Cam Weaver drawing central defenders Geoff Cameron and Bobby Boswell. Weaver one-touched it forward to the unmarked Johnson charging into the box who slotted it off the left post.

“Coach Yallop was stressing all week about our ability to finish,” Johnson said. “That’s one thing that let us down last week, we had the chances, but we didn’t put it away. Today the final touch was there, we capitalized on our opportunities to score, and we could have had even more if we wanted to.”

Three minutes later Alvarez put on a one-man show, intercepting a pass, working down the right, turning into the middle, and unleashing a furious left-footed strike from inside the arc that beat Pat Onstad on the right.

“I saw Brian Mullan trying to attempt a pass, and I read the play,” Alvarez said about his goal. “This gave me the opportunity to steal the ball, and a tunnel opened up, and I took advantage. I also had a good shot giving me the goal.”

“I thought Arturo played well again,” Quake’s coach Frank Yallop said of his winger. “Good goal, but I thought his general play was really good. He looks sharp, glued in, and he looks dangerous when he gets the ball.”

The Dynamo said enough is enough and on the ensuing kick-off put themselves on the board. The speedy Stuart Holden ran down the right and put a perfect service to the head of Chris Wondolowski who was flanked by defenders Chris Leitch and Kelly Gray. Wondolowski easily ripped the net with his header swiftly changing the game’s momentum.

Cannon, warming up. He would need the work

Houston shocked the home crowd in the 36th when Brad Davis tied the game. Wondolowski, in the box and surrounded by defenders, tried to pass outside to Holden, but the ball deflected off Eric Denton to Davis above the arc. Davis, a poor man’s Beckham known for his pin-point accuracy, moved a little left and drilled a curving shot that eluded keeper Joe Cannon inside the left post.

“Brad Davis’s goal was a terrific goal,” Yallop conceded about the Dynamo turnaround. “Great finish. He bent it outside the post, and it bends in. No chance to do anything about it. You’ve got to give credit to Houston; two very good goals.”

Center defender Nick Garcia took responsibility. “It was a mental lapse for us. We’re plenty capable of not conceding those two goals. We should have done better; we know we can do better.”

The Dynamo attack rattled the Quakes back line. Defenders panicked and kicked the ball out needlessly quickly. In the 42nd minute, the Dynamo came close to taking the lead when Ricardo Clark drove a shot that Cannon had to go parallel to tip away.

Cannon, who had no saves in last week’s 1-0 loss to New England, had several game-savers against Houston.

“Joe was huge for us tonight,” Garcia said. “If I had to choose a player of the match, it was Joe, hands down.”

The game winner came in the 44th. From 30 yards out Chris Leitch passed straight up the middle sneaking the ball between two Houston defenders. Huckerby just slowed it down so Cam Weaver could run onto the ball and pop it over the stranded Onstad charging out.

“I think the goal Cam got really helped,” Yallop said about the Quake’s defensive lapses. “If we’d gone into the half 2-2, [the Dynamo] have their tails up, and they’re ready to go. 3-2 deflated them a bit. I told our guys at half time, ‘Let’s try to kill the game a little bit. Let’s not go helter-skelter—try to get another one and concede a goal.’”

Still, Yallop said the defense has to step up. “The two goals they had, somebody was running with the ball for about 30 or 40 yards unopposed. I told our guys don’t allow that to happen. And we did a way better job of that in the second half.”

The Quakes did exactly that, but it was a nail biter along the way. Fifteen minutes into the second half, the Dynamo had three serious strikes within just a couple of minutes. The Quakes had trouble clearing the ball under attack and kept giving the Dynamo chances while dodging bullet after bullet.

San Jose had their chances, too. In the 58th minute after a Dynamo defender tried unsuccessfully to clear the ball, Ramiro Corrales’ shot from 20 yards was wide right by a foot.

After the 80th minute the Dynamo dominated the attacks, but the Quakes were able to deflect the pressure.

“We did a pretty good job [handling the Dynamo offense],” Yallop said about holding them off the second half. “They had a couple of sniffs. So did we. They’re good soccer players out there today. Both teams were dangerous going forward. For purists, it was a good game.”

“I am obviously very happy scoring three goals at home and getting three points,” Yallop summarized. “Obviously it could have gone either way at times. I think it was an early season game where we looked a little bit disjointed at times as a unit, but three points is three points at this point, and I feel good about that.”

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  1. Quakes hope to halt slide vs. Dynamo | American Soccer News Says:

    […] Dynamo host the San Jose Earthquakes on May 23, the Quakes will see a very different team than the first time these sides met in late March. It wasn’t until their fifth game of the season that the Dynamo won their first game of the […]

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