After a brutal month on the road, the San Jose Earthquakes returned to the friendly confines of Avaya Stadium with the Houston Dynamo sitting two points above them and above the red line in the muddled Western Conference. The Earthquakes were able to combine a lineup shift and a 33rd minute goal from Danny Hoesen to knock off the Dynamo 1-0 Saturday Night in San Jose.
Manager Chris Leitch returned the team to a more familiar 4-4-2 line up, but with some familiar faces in less than familiar spots. With Anibal Godoy and Darwin Ceren unavailable, Leitch played master chemist and moved Flo Jungwirth and Jackson Yueill into the holding midfield spots, pairing the younger Yueill with the seasoned veteran Jungwirth in a combination that proved effective to keeping the Dynamo attack from gaining much traction.
“As much as he [Yeuill] can connect a pass and play in between the lines, he also broke up some plays tonight and really gave us everything he could on the defensive end as well, and same with Flo,” said Manager Chris Leitch. “We don’t necessarily have a ton of options in there with Ceren and Godoy out, but those guys plugged up some holes and put in some really good shifts. Both of them made the back line’s job easier, that’s what it’s all about.”
With both teams needing points, the first half saw plenty of build up, but no major opportunity until the 33rd minute when Marco Urena found a streaking Kofi Sarkodie on the right. Sarkodie’s ball was played right into the feet of Danny Hoesen who turned the ball on his foot and blasted a left footed liner past Tyler Deric for his third goal of the season. Hoesen found himself back in the lineup, but also in a less than familiar right wing position. “I’ve been on the bench the last few games, so if the coach needs me on the right wing, I’m more than happy to be there and play. I’m more comfortable on the left so I can come inside with my right foot, but I’m smart enough to play on the right side as well.”
With his appearance tonight, Chris Wondolowski further cemented his status as a club legend by passing Ramiro Corrales for most appearances in an Earthquakes shirt with 251. “This one really sneaks up on you, I saw my first appearance when I came on and I remember it so well, said Wondolowski after the game. Chris Leitch added that “he is a leader in every sense of the way. When your best player and your captain is also the guy who works the hardest and stays after training the longest. Its a pretty humongous record that he broke this evening and it couldn’t happen to a more fitting guy.”
With FC Dallas playing to a 0-0 draw with Seattle and Real Salt Lake beating Portland 2-1 Saturday Night, the Dynamo find themselves outside the playoff spots headed into next Saturday’s match up with New York City, which will be played in East Hartford, CT. The Earthquakes got more than they could have asked for by leapfrogging both Texas teams and sitting in 5th place as they head into a road test against new look DC United. While San Jose has continued to struggle on the road, Leitch recognizes the task ahead for his Earthquakes. “Away games can’t be throw away games, we’ve got to try to grind out some kind of result if we can.”
San Jose Earthquakes