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 wasn't a dream start for the U.S., but let's slow down on the doomsday scenarios. Life on the road in the Hex ain't easy.
In case you missed the match, here's a snapshot courtesy of US Soccer. Included is that unreal bicycle kick from Juan Carlos Garcia (a play that originated with Earthquakes defender Victor Bernardez).
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).
Quakes' President Dave Kaval has been hard at work to build the Quakes' new stadium, set to open across from the San Jose Airport in 2014. San Jose's fearless leader sat down last week to participate in a panel discussion titled, "The ReInvention of the Arena Experience" to discuss how stadiums directly impact the overall fan experience as well as add color to the progress of the Quakes' new stadium.
A full recap of the panel can be viewed in the video below.
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.