As the old saying goes, “Don’t call it a comeback.” But in the case of Wilmer Cabrera’s Chivas USA, you might as well call it that, once and for all. The Goats, a team in limbo, a team in transition, a team destined for a new beginning, are already finding their new beginning after a 1-0 shutout victory over Mark Watson’s San Jose Earthquakes at Buck Shaw Stadium on the campus of Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, Calif.
If there is one person that knows how to get it done with a capital D (and believe us, there was plenty of D-as in defense-from Chivas USA on Wednesday night), it was their trigger-man, Erick “Cubo” Torres. Here are six things we learned, followed by player ratings, from Wednesday night’s match between the San Jose Earthquakes and Chivas USA.
1. Teams trade missed in the first 15 minutes
Early in the first half, Torres was hoping to stun the home fans just seconds in, but his right—footed shot missed wide left. In the fourth minute, Torres tried a through ball for Eric Avila, only to be whistled back for offsides. As for San Jose, their first chance came from Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi, whose through ball for Cordell Cato was called back for offside in the ninth minute. Ryan Finley, now starting up top with Torres for Chivas USA, had a left-footed shot from outside the box missed, well…to the left in the 13th minute. Yannick Djalo was hoping to get out through in the 14th minute, but his form took a hit with a blistering shot that was saved by Dan Kennedy.
2. Quakes still can’t but a goal in the first half
Thus, all signed for San Jose pointed to the old Eagles album. The title: “One Of These Nights.” Quakes defender Jordan Stewart was the first of six players to receive a yellow card in this contest. There were six cautions in this match in all. Djalo’s next chance from outside the box was blocked in the 21st minute of a Sam Cronin free kick. Cronin himself tried his luck in the 23rd minute but it was skied. Finley had a shot from the left side of the box saved in the bottom left corner by Jon Busch.
3. Stewart and Lenhart come up dry in first half
In the 31st minute, Stewart had a left-footed shot from outside of the box sail too high. Stewart was faring no better than Finley, who missed to the right in the 33rd minute of play. In the 35th minute, Stewart tried his luck as the provider, but a through ball for Ty Harden was called back for offsides. Avila had a go in the 37th minute of play but it was blocked.
Steven Lenhart, always a fan favorite among Quakes fans, looked to finally cash in on a header but it was saved in the 38th minute of play by Kennedy. Lenhart was hoping for a result off a header one minute later but it just missed to the right. On Chivas’s end, defender Donny Toia had a shot from the right side blocked in the 41st minute. Toia was booked one minute later for a foul on Lenhart. San Jose turned up the heat again on the ensuing free. Khari Stephenson’s shot was blocked and Djalo missed to the left. Mauro Rosales, who was the provider on the aformentioned chance for Toia, had a shot saved by Busch in the 45th minute.
One player that has been a bright spot for the San Jose Earthquakes in the first half has been Jason Hernandez. One of the vets of this league for seven years strong, Hernandez’s tackles in the 41st minute maintained the deadlock heading into the break. Unfortunately for the hosts, the second half would be a bit of a different story.
4. Erick Torres. Need We Say More?
As with the first half, it was Torres that had the first chance in the second half. A shot from outside the box in the 46th minute was saved in the top center of goal. Djalo had a chance in the 49th minute miss to the right off a poor volley. Finally, in the 53rd minute, Torres broke through for what would be the only goal of the game. His 11th goal of the season, Torres capitalized off a bad clearance attempt by Hernandez and it was all class from there. This goal may as well sum up the sorry state of affairs from the once-proud San Jose Earthquakes franchise in 2014. Take a look.
5. San Jose chase yet another deficit
Well, this was a familiar scenario for this home team: chasing the game from behind. One of those players who tried to be a hero for San Jose was Khari Stephenson, whose shot from the center of the box was close but missed to the right in the 58th minute. Pierazzi was the next to be booked, in the 62nd minute of play. Torres was hoping for a brace in the 63rd minute but was offsides on the Carlos Bocanegra through ball. One minute later, his through ball for Finley was whistled back for offsides.
At this point in the match, fresh bodies would come in to do some relief work. Midfielder Nathan Sturgis, on loan from the Colorado Rapids, came in for Eric Avila in the 68th minute. Harden had a header miss to the right in the 69th minute. In the 71st minute, Leandro Barrera came in for Finley and another Quakes favorite, Alan Gordon, came in for Cronin. Brandon Barklage’s through ball for Lenhart was called back for offsides in the 73rd minute.
6. “Did you feel that?” “No, really, I didn’t.”
Rosales was cautioned for a foul on Djalo in the 76th minute. Djalo, in return skied his free kick in the 77th. In the 79th minute of play, former Portland Timber Andrew Jean-Baptiste came in for Rosales while defender Victor Bernardez, fresh from World Cup duty for Honduras, came in for Barklage. The 81st minute saw a Harden header from the center of the box saved.
Chivas USA’s Marco Delgado had a shot from outside of the box miss to the right. In one of the finest acts of sportsmanship from Busch, he stretches out Torres’s cramp in the 86th minute. Well done, that man. Meanwhile, Chivas defender Tony Lochhead was cautioned for going after Lenny in the 88th minute of play. Forward Michael Fucito came in for Stewart in the 89th minute to provide some added attack in the closing stages of the contest.
In the first minute of second half stoppage time, a Quakes corner saw Pierazzi’s shot blocked and a chance from Stephenson miss to the right. Burling was booked for a foul on Djalo in the second minute. Once again, Djalo failed to capitalize on the chances given to him. A through ball for Lenhart was called back for offsides and a shot from outside of the box missed.to the left.
So, now what?
“It’s hard to look at positives when you lose at home, but I thought there were some good moments in the game,” Watson told MLSSoccer.com’s Pete Ratajczak. “It was a slow start, but we worked our way into the game, and moved the ball well at times and created chances in the first half.
“We were probably in terms of the play, the better team, but it’s not about that; it’s about finishing your chances and not conceding. We gave up a sloppy goal. In the end they scored one and we didn’t.”
“I believe the guys came in with a good mentality,” Cabrera told MLSSoccer.com’s Blair Angulo. “We had the possibilities not only to create chances, but to score. It was a solid performance in the back starting with our goalkeeper, the back four and guys in the middle.
“This team is one of the toughest teams, especially when they play at home. We played here a few months ago and they beat us on a cross. We learned a lesson.”
San Jose Earthquakes in blue, Chivas USA in red
|3||Shots on Target||4|
|10||Shots off Target||4|
|80 %||Passing Accuracy||64 %|
|62.4 %||Possession||37.6 %|
San Jose Earthquakes Player Ratings
Jon Busch 5, Brandon Barklage 3, Jason Hernandez 4, Jordan Stewart 1.5, Ty Harden 3, Cordell Cato 3, Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi 3.5, Sam Cronin 3, Yannick Djalo 5, Khari Stephenson 4, Steven Lenhart 4, Alan Gordon 3, Victor Bernardez 3, Michael Fucito NR
Chivas USA Player Ratings
Dan Kennedy 7, Bobby Burling 5.5, Carlos Bocanegra 6, Donny Toia 5.5, Tony Lochhead 5.5, Eric Avila 5, Marco Delgado 5, Mauro Rosales 5.5, Oswaldo Minda 6, Erick Torres 9, Ryan Finley 5, Nathan Sturgis 4, Leandro Barrera 4, Andrew Jean-Baptiste NR