24 July 2009

know your foe - san jose earthquakes

Second place United (6-3-9) heads to the left coast to face last place San Jose (3-10-4) Saturday night - 1030pm. United beat Rochester in the semifinals of the US Open Cup Tuesday night to make their second consecutive Open Cup Final. Most recently in league play, United beat Colorado 3-1 last Saturday. The earthquakes enter the match on a two game losing streak having lost at Chicago and home to Toronto in their last two league fixtures.

San Jose was one of the initial 'founding members' of major league soccer, beginning play in '96, winning their first ever match 1-0 vs. none other than eventual league champions DC United. San Jose would be known as the Clash from their inception in 1995 until 1999 when it was decided to adopt the name of the former North American Soccer League team from San Jose 'the earthquakes'. In 2004 it was rumored that San Jose and the MLS considered re branding the team again to be called 'San Jose America' as part of a partnership with Mexican Club America. After outrage from fans and the resignation of club GM Johnny Moore, enter, a man who could fuck up a wet dream, Alexi Lalas. After Lalas traded away then San Jose striker Landon Donovan's rights to Bayer 04 Leverkusen of the German Bundesliga League, the team was relocated to Houston for the 2006 season. In 2007, MLS Commissioner Don Garber announced that San Jose would resume play as the Earthquakes in 2008.

San Jose California is the third largest city in California as well as the tenth largest city in the US. The Earthquakes play their home matches at Buck Shaw Stadium on the Campus of Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, California. The stadium is named for former SCU football coach Lawrence T. (Buck) Shaw who also coached the 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles. Shaw is the only pro football coach to have ever defeated Vince Lombardi in an NFL Championship game (1960). In 2005 Buck Shaw stadium was converted to a soccer only stadium with a current capacity of just over 10,000. For games with a larger anticipated attendance, the Earthquakes play at Oakland Alameda Stadium.

The Clash opted to change their nickname to the Earthquakes following the conclusion of the 1999 MLS Season. The 2000 season marked the return of a soccer club with the Earthquakes nickname to the Bay Area. San Jose played its first season under the Earthquakes moniker, revamping the organization under the name of the NASL soccer team that had been so popular in the area in the 1970's and early 1980's. San Jose is located at the southern end of the San Francisco Bay Area in close proximity to the San Andreas fault. Earthquakes have damaged the city numerous times in 1839, 1851, 1858, 1864, 1865, 1868, 1891, 1906, 1957, and most recently the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989.

The Earthquakes join the LA Galaxy, and Real Salt Lake in garnering a jersey sponsor with questionable business practices. In 2009 San Jose announced, noted ultra-conservative pyramid scheme company, Amway Global as their presenting sponsor in a three year deal. Despite numerous investigations and allegations against the company, Amway, in addition to being presenting sponsor of the Earthquakes also partnered with the Los Angeles Sol of the WSL.

Head to Head Record
United trails in the all time record against San Jose with a record of 10-12-4. Most recently United beat the Earthquakes 3-0, July 15, 2008 at RFK. However United's last win against San Jose away from estadio RFK came in June of 1998 - a span of 9 games. Last season the teams split the home and away series 1 win a piece, with each team winning the home leg. In 13 matches at San Jose United has only managed 15 goals while conceding 20, sporting an away record of 2-7-4.

Trophy Case
San Jose has won two MLS Cups and one MLS Supporters shield, for best regular season record. Their first MLS Cup came in 2001, when 19 year old Landon Donovan joined the club from German Bundesliga team Bayer Leverkusen. The Quakes defeated the Galaxy 2-1 in the final to complete the transformation from worst MLS team in 2000, to league champions in 2001. In 2003 the Earthquakes once again became league champions defeating the Chicago Fire 4-2 led by man of the match Landon Donovan. In their final original season the quakes added a supporters shield posting an 18-4-10 record before being eliminated by the galaxy in the western conference semifinals and relocating to Houston.

The Earthquakes original coach, Laurie Calloway, provided plenty of controversy and entertainment for footie fans. He immediately clashed with Eric 'Jim Rome can suck my cock' Wynalda. Reports of a fist fight in the locker room after subbing Wynalda out of a match, culminated with Wynalda hiring a plane to fly over the stadium with a banner urging fans to call for Calloway's resignation. The Quakes are currently coached by, former EPL and Canadian National Team defender, Frankie Yallop. After stints as an assistant under Thomas Rongen at DC, and Tampa Bay, the Quakes named Yallop their head coach in 2001. In his first year as head coach Yallop led the Quakes to their first MLS Cup, and after being named MLS coach of the year in '01, and winning a second cup in '03, Yallop departed San Jose to coach the Canadian Men's National Team. After a two year stint in Canuckistan, Yallop returned to Major League Soccer coaching the Los Angeles Galaxy from 2006 - 2007, before returning to San Jose in '08.

Supporters Groups
The Quakes have several supporters groups including an homage to the Clash The Casbah', the ultra creative named 'club quake' and the 1906 Ultras. Given the small capacity of Buck Shaw stadium, you'd think they'd come up with something more inspired than this chant to get the fans involved in the match:
Your Profession
Leader: Ultras, what is your profession?
Response(fists up): Augh Augh Augh

Notable former Earthquakes include, Landy Cakes, current Toronto FC midfielder Dwayne De Rosario, wizards defender Jimmy Conrad, Eddie Lewis, Mr. Personality Eric Wynalda, former DC United defender Jeff Agoos, as well as current Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear. Their current roster includes, Arturo Alvarez, former DC defender Mike Zaher, former Man City Striker Darren Huckerby, former DCU and Reading midfielder Bobby Convey, as well as goaltender Joe Cannon.

The Game
United has not performed well on the road this season, winning only 1 time away from RFK. They have a road record of 1-3-5, scoring 14 goals while conceding 18. United has been playing well as of late, they'll be missing Santino Quaranta who is with the US Men's National Team in the Gold Cup Final, Boyzzzz Kumahlo will miss the game with a broken wrist, and Clyde Simms (hernia) will not travel either. United will however have newly acquired midfielder Danny Szetela.

Prediction: United 3 - San Jose 2


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