Who's ready for a road trip?
The Earthquakes are on their way to their second home aka the Central Coast on Saturday. On tap is a match against the Chicago Fire at UC Santa Barbara's Harder Stadium at 6 p.m. PT (BUY TICKETS).
Now, as a Cal Poly grad I have biased opinions about UC Santa Barbara. That being said, they know how to do soccer on the Central Coast (See: Blue-Green Rivalry and fans storming the field). And, a drive down the 101 to CenCal isn't exactly torture.
If you are planning to make the trip, here's a few tips to keep in mind (and, if you want a more Santa Barbara-slanted perspective, be sure to Tweet @SamGarza17):
Lodging: Travelzoo has this deal available in Los Osos ($159 for one night, dinner and a bottle of wine). Los Osos is west of San Luis Obispo and tacks on an extra 40 minutes of total travel, but you're right on the coast and close to a popular tourist spot, Morro Bay.
Other spots worth considering include: San Luis Obispo (1 hour, 30 minutes from UCSB), Pismo Beach (1 hour, 20 minutes from UCSB) or Solvang (45 minutes from UCSB). If you're thinking about Pismo Beach, also take a look at Avila Beach; it's a hidden gem about 10 minutes north of Pismo.
Food: Two words: tri-tip. The Central Coast does beef and you can be sure if you stop at Firestone's in San Luis Obispo, you'll be back.
San Luis Obispo - Firestone Grill (get the tri-tip sandwich and a side of fries, thank me later), Pizza Solo (the best pie in town and the Solo Stix are on point), Louisa's Place (breakfast spot in Downtown SLO with big portions and plenty to choose from)
Pismo Beach - Splash Cafe (famous for its clam chowder), Del's Italian Restaurant (actually located in Shell Beach, sit-down spot with lasagna that rivals any mom's home cooking), F. McClintock's Saloon & Dining House (steakhouse in Shell Beach with the most talented wait staff in the Golden State)
Sunday Adventures: On your way back to the Bay, make sure to drop by at least one of the aforementioned eateries and check out the outdoor scene. Inspiration Point in Santa Barbara, Pismo Beach, Morro Rock, Hearst Castle, Bishop's Peak in San Luis Obispo - you can pull of the road just about anywhere and find something worth laying eyes on.
It's that time again, soccer fans.
By the end of World Cup Qualification, there will undoubtedly be more Americans rocking a Michael Bradley hairdo than ever before - either as an iconic tribute or a sign of the grueling process that is hexagonal play.
It all kicks off in Honduras at Estadio Olimpico today (1 p.m. PT / beIN Sport). Earthquakes fans will recognize one familiar face suiting up: center back Victory Bernardez.
No idea what the hex entails? What should the U.S. expect in San Sula? Need some insight as to why Hondurans love Jonathan Bornstein?
KICKTV has all of that and more in a brilliantly produced match preview. Check it out!
As a March Madness maniac, I was ecstatic when I heard that Gus Johnson aka My Passion Bucket is Full (See: Passion Bucket) was signing on to broadcast a few Earthquakes games over the radio in 2012.
Not to gush, but the guy is a living legend in my circle. If I scored a game-winning three to win an NCAA Championship, I would want Gus on the call. No play-by-play brings more energy to a game. Nobody.
That's why I was thrilled to see Sports Illustrated's report today that Gus is being groomed to be Fox's voice of the World Cup in 2018. Even as a soccer rookie in the booth last season, you could see glimmers of what the guy is capable of.
"Game tied at one ... Chavez, trying to maneuver on the far touchline ... still handling ... left foot ... cross, Lenhart - OH AND HE HEADS IT IN!"
Sign me up for some Gus Johnson in 2018. Rise and fire.
Simon Dawkins has completed a late-night loan move to the end of the season from Tottenham. #AVFC
— Aston Villa FC (@AVFCOfficial) January 31, 2013
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) January 31, 2013
It's official: Simon Dawkins will join Aston Villa on loan for the remainder of the English Premier League season.
Obviously, this isn't the news Earthquakes fans wanted to hear. However, this doesn't completely shut the door on a future move. In theory, Dawkins could still make a permanent move stateside after the EPL season ends.
Dawkins scored 14 goals and three in 53 appearances - largely as a left midfielder - for the Earthquakes in two seasons.
There weren't a lot of familiar faces on the field for San Jose's 2-0 win against the Houston Dynamo on Tuesday, but a pair of goals from Alexandre Emerson left fans scramling to track down details about the mystery trialist.
Emerson is actually a San Jose native. He left for Mexico when he was 13, suiting up for Chivas before settling in with Necaxa.
You can check out Emerson's finishes in the highlights above. Other players appearing in the reel include: Adam Jahn (first shot), Evan Newton (first save), Tommy Muller (blocked shot), Matt Fondy (goal called back), Jesus Guzman (second-half goalkeeper) and Jacob Hustedt (drew penalty).
The Earthquakes will be well represented in Houston tonight when the U.S. Men's National Team faces a young Canadian squad at BBVA Compass Stadium (6 p.m. PT / ESPN2).
Forward Chris Wondolowski is aiming to make his ninth cap while left back Justin Morrow hopes to earn his first. Not that we're biased over here at sjearthquakes.com, but we've penciled both into our starting XI prediction (see below).
In case you need a bit more backgorund info going into the match, we've got some links for you:
Now, about that un-biased lineup prediction. Here's what I've got (feel free to chime in with your choices):
Chris Wondolowski is hard at work with the U.S. Men's National Team ahead of tomorrow night's 6:00 p.m. PST match against Canada at Houston's BBVA Compass Stadium.
Wondo, the 2012 Volkswagen MLS MVP, is seeking his ninth cap and is eager to impress head coach Jurgen Klinsmann. The match may just be a friendly but has implications for Klinsmann's future roster ahead of the upcoming FIFA World Cup Qualifying round starting in February.
Wondo's past three seasons have been nothing short of sensational - 61 goals in 90 MLS Regular Season matches. The predatory finisher is aiming to transfer such a goal-scoring prowess onto the international scene.
The Danville, Calif. native sat down with ussoccer.com to shed light on his past accomplishments while also forecast his hopes for the matches ahead. To watch the interview and catch highlights of Wondo with the U.S. Men's National Team, click here.
Earthquakes' President Dave Kaval is knee-deep in stadium planning.
With a new stadium set to inaugurate the 2014 season, Kaval and staff have been working diligently to see that even the most minute of tasks are executed successfully. The benefactors, of course, will be the Quakes' faithful.
Currently, San Jose plays in the intimate but limiting Buck Shaw Stadium. Routine sellouts cheer on the black and blue no matter the opponent. Yet, with a successful groundbreaking in October, 2012, the Quakes will open a soccer-specific stadium located on Coleman Ave across from the San Jose Airport. The new stadium will hold 18,000 with room for expansion.
Dave Kaval sat down to speak with Nancy Lin, the host of Business Reinvention, to not only discuss the current state of construction but also, more broadly, to inspect the growing state of soccer in the U.S. The Quakes' President has led a number of sports business panels in recent months and will share his insight on soccer relative to other American sports as well as soccer's following abroad.
To listen to the podcast, click here.
Quakes' General Manager John Doyle has been placed on the National Soccer Hall of Fame ballot for the class of 2013. Voting will conclude on Feb. 22 and the results will be announced shortly thereafter.
Doyle has had an esteemed soccer career as both a player and now as an executive. An All-America honoree at the University of San Francisco, Doyle would go on to establish himself as a model soccer professional in the 1980's and 1990's. The defender played for the San Francisco BlackHawks, the then-San Jose Clash, and the San Jose Earthquakes. Doyle would make his final appearance for the Quakes in 2000.
A veteran of the U.S. Men's National Team, Doyle represented the Red, White, and Blue in the 1990 FIFA World Cup and earned 53 full international caps for his country.
As illustrious as his playing career was, Doyle has led his former team to new heights from an executive standpoint. The Quakes' General Manager was integral in assembling the 2012 team that put together a franchise-best record of 19-6-9 and won their second Supporters' Shield trophy.
To read the full story about John Doyle and the voting, click here.
By all accounts, Quakes' forward sensation Chris Wondolowski has arrived late to the scene.
The soon-to-be 30-year-old has endured trials and tribulations to embrace his past three seasons. Drafted in Round 4 of the 2005 Supplemental Draft by the Quakes, Wondo managed a meager five minutes in his first campaign.
With the team's relocation to Houston, he played in 37 total MLS regular season games and netted four goals. Fast-forward to the three-year span from 2010 to 2012 and a national-team caliber striker has emerged.
Wondolowski's past three seasons have seen him score a record 61 goals in 90 MLS games for the Quakes. The awards have followed: three MLS Best XI's, two Golden Boot awards, and one Volkswagen MLS MVP award (2012).
Such a prolific scoring record has yet to translate into international success. Wondolowski is currently with the U.S. Men's National Team for their January camp and, under the watchful eye of head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, is eager to add his scoring prowess. With only eight caps to his name, Wondo is looking for another come the Jan. 29 friendly against Canada at Houston's BBVA Compass Stadium.
Both Klinsmann and Wondolowski discuss the current state of the January camp as well as Wondolowski's future ambitions with the team. Read the full story here.