Smiles Abound in San Jose for Rapids RompSan Jose Earthquakes roll past the Colorado Rapids 4-1 in Santa Clara
by Luke James | Monday, August 27, 2012
The first installment of the new Soccer Newsday column by giant Englishman Luke James covering the San Jose Earthquakes and the wider San Francisco soccer scene. For Earthquakes coverage, opinions & analysis be sure to follow Luke on Twitter @LukeJamesSoccer and look out for this column.
A 4-1 win would seem just the way to celebrate the official announcement of a ground breaking date (October 21) for your new stadium.
A sold-out crowd of 10,525 San Jose Earthquakes fans were treated to yet another display of the kind of class soccer they believe their team will take to the new stadium in the 2014 season. The Earthquakes completely outplayed the Colorado Rapids, extending their home winning streak to 14 games. They are now firmly atop the Western Conference with a 15-6-5 record and are the first MLS team to reach 50 points this season.
Simon Dawkins, on loan from EPL side Tottenham Hotspur, gave immediate notice of his intention to attack the defense with pace, and it only took 11 minutes for him to find the net. Alan Gordon chested the ball down, shook off the defender at his back and delivered a sweeping cross field pass to Dawkins, who cut inside a defender and struck a powerful shot inside the post.
Chris Wondolowski showed that he is not just a predatory goal scorer that some claim. His work rate in all areas of the field was impressive as he seemed about 5 mph faster to the ball than anyone else.
For the first 25 minutes the Quakes passing game had the Rapids pinned firmly in their own half of the field. On the rare occasions the Rapids did mount an offensive the Earthquakes, without suspended defenders Jason Hernandez and Victor Bernardez, showed their defense was organized and solid.
For the Rapids, Conor Casey looked the most threatening forward, moving into some good spaces but ultimately failing to find the necessary finishing touches to bring him on goal.
Right before halftime, Rafael Baca made a run down the left wing, feinted to gain the necessary step on his defender and delivered a driving ball across the box to the far post where Alan Gordon made it 2-0.
The Rapids pulled one back in the 54th minute with a headed goal by halftime substitute Tyrone Marshall who rose to head a Martin Rivero cross past Quakes keeper Jon Busch.
Earthquakes coach Frank Yallop: “Colorado are a good side, so at some point in games they're going to play well. It was nothing we did, it was something they did.”
In the 68th minute Simon Dawkins showed one of the best trigger shots this side of Ronaldo by striking the ball smartly on the volley for the Earthquakes third goal. Then Alan Gordon completed the Dawkins/Gordon Show in the 75th minute, controlling the ball in tight space, turning and firing past Rapids goalkeeper Matt Pickens.
Frank Yallop on Simon Dawkins: “He’s a really down-to-earth character as well. He comes to work every day with a smile on his face and it shows in the way he plays. He tries to really create and be dynamic in everything he does.”
I asked Simon Dawkins if he thought his recent run of good form had anything to do with him acclimatizing from North London to Northern California.
“Maybe, maybe I’m getting used to it a bit more. But I’m really happy.”
And there was that smile. The San Jose Earthquakes players, staff and fans have an awful lot to smile about right now.