Who are the San Jose Earthquakes? With the Sounders, currently San Jose is the only other former North American Soccer League (NASL) team. The NASL folded in 1984. After the US World Cup in 1994, soccer momentum cooked up enough steam to launch Major League Soccer in 1996 with 10 teams. Nike swooshed everything in the fledgling league. They pushed the name “Clash” onto San Jose. Here is the result of that early MLS effort. I think it’s fair to say this is one of Nike’s few failed efforts.
I have no idea what team or what sport would benefit from this logo. I mean the claws are upside down. The luck of the team slipped out of its grasp before San Jose ever took the pitch. An artistic, fun example of a successful coastal soccer logo is FC Lorient. FC Lorient plays in
Ligue 1. The top-flight football league in France. This sly but slick fish hugs the ball tight, like a right footed striker curling a shot into the waiting yawn of an onion bag (goal). This plate of delicious goal, for a team badge, goes back to 1926. It’s weird but works. Nike doesn’t make everything better. What San Jose has going for them, like Sounders FC is heritage. Last year was the inaugural Heritage Cup between Seattle and San Jose. As original NASL teams they square off for this regular season bragging right each year. It is decided by aggregate goals of the teams regular season matches. Portland and Vancouver will join the Heritage Cup next season. Seattle held the edge over San Jose, until getting clawed 4-nil on the road.
San Jose, is a little slice of the best and worst you find in sports. A flunked team name and badge from 1995-1999. In October 1999 they reclaimed their NASL heritage, and were renamed Earthquakes. The fortune in name change coincided with the arrival of coach Frank Yallop (current). Along with Yallop, along came a young American, Landon Donovan. They won MLS Cups in 2001 and 2003. In 2005 they won the Supporters Shield for best overall league record. The reward, they were dumped from San Jose and moved to Houston. Like the Cleveland Browns, Houston could not keep any of the teams San Jose history. This allowed for the re-expansion of the San Jose Earthquakes in 2008. Unfortunately, all their talent stayed in Houston and went on to win back-to-back MLS cups in ’06-’07. Now with all name changes, badge failures and moving vans parked, San Jose are determined to rise once again from their strange history of success and misfortune.
With “The Boys in Blue” a reassembled sum of their odd and traveled past, San Jose is ready to rise up again.
Round 10 vs San Jose EarthQuakes, keeps the Sounders hands full. San Jose is currently sitting 4th place in the West at 13 points, 1 more than Seattle. They are boasting an improved 4W-2L-1T record after 7 games. San Jose has 2 games in hand on the Sounders, a possible 6 season points. So Seattle can ill afford to lose. A draw could be survivable, but a win is needed to keep playoff pace.
Bobby Convey had been knocking on the door of the US National team. Many felt after the US failure to get out of the ’06 World Cup Group Stages in 2006 that Convey would be a starter for the 2010 US World Cup Team. However he fell out of form after 5 years with Reading in the English Premier League. Reading were relegated for the 2008 season to the lower English Championship League. At 26 the Quakes became a good home for his revival. I still say, he is a player to watch for the 2014 World Cup.
The Sounders should have speed and possession going for them, but San Jose is tough and will hit. So, the boys in rave green will have to keep their heads on. San Jose would love to make the Sounders see red and play a man down. On offense, San Jose are something the Sounders want to be, a good finishing team. Chris Wondolowski, as you would expect with a name like that, is well known for his eye pleasing wonder strikes.
If the Sounders grab some Red Bull inspiration and keep last weeks momentum going, an early goal looks likely. San Jose lost both games here last year and were ill prepared for the Rave Green storm. I am expecting an inspired 2-1, 3-1 victory. San Jose is showing improved results in every category and playing inspired football. They want back in the playoffs. The Sounders can win this match, but they will have to prove it. They will have to play more inspired, smarter football, finishing a first half chance on goal. The defense will need to play another New York style lock down game. One goal for San Jose is all they feel they need to do no worse than draw on the road at Quest.
It is time for the Sounders to shine at home!
The sun shined, but the Sounders did not. Seattle had more of the game but San Jose’s Wondolowski had the lone goal. His 11th minute strike amazingly stood up for more than a draw, and became the game winner. Wondolowski placed a quick hit one-timer past Keller. The play came from a throw-in just above Seattle’s penalty area. The ball was headed across the face of goal and Wondolowski smashed in from the far post. Offside? Put it this way, when you consider the offside calls Sounders FC have received this year, it would have been justly called and more than due in fairness to the Sounders. That said, sports are not about fairness, and credit is due to San Jose for creating and capitalizing on a heads-up play.
The large picture reason this “offside” complaint must be left at the door is that if you want to be a playoff team, then an 11th minute goal against you can not be a game winner. Right now, Seattle has no offensive threat. Until that changes, the San Jose like results have become all too familiar this season. With Colorado up next, this type of frustrating result may occur again. Defeating Colorado on their home pitch at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park seems a daunting task. One Sigi has addressed. Unfortunately, words don’t speak louder than actions in sports. At the end of the San Jose match, John Kennedy Hurtado was taken off the field for a torn ACL. Likely the end of his season. The Sounders are deep at Central Defense, but Hurtado is an All-Star. Injuries sometimes seem the outward manifestation of a teams struggles. Added to Nate Jaqua’s absence due to injury, so far this season team struggle over team successes has become the message.
There is time for this team to get turned around. Overcoming difficult obstacles is what draws us to sports. Year two is turning into test number one for Sounders FC who are fast becoming the underdog. An underdog praying for a draw in Colorado. Maybe taking on this new, more deceptive role will allow for the element of surprise. Helping to turn regular frustration into unexpected intensity, and sneaky speed on the wings. Maybe this will catch Colorado off guard. Or maybe the injection of Jeff Parke, an experienced Central Defender, will give Seattle a much-needed energy boost. Then again, maybe the Sounders will listen to Sigi, and put more than 3 of 18 shots on frame. Creating chances is critical, but making a keeper work for saves is necessary to make those created chances become finished strikes. Soccer is frustration, simplicity, sloppiness, heavenly beauty, complete chaos, and perfected skill all bundled together. What the Sounders need is to put all their frustration and intensity into using any and all of those elements to force the ball into Colorado’s net. That one goal could become the symbol of the effort needed to climb up to the distant height of the 2010 playoffs.