Indianapolis will play host to the 2013 MLS SuperDraft, beginning at 8:54 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 17. The Quakes hold three picks in the draft: number 15, number 33, and number 34. Speculation has started to swirl around teams' upcoming decsions, especially Toronto F.C. who sits with the first pick.
While the Earthquakes are coming off their best regular season in franchise history, culminating with the club's second Supporters' Shield, the Quakes have traditionally used their picks to cultivate talent.
Media outlets have embarked on the typical practice of mock drafts. With six Generation Adidas prospects participating in this year's MLS Combine and all expected to be drafted in the first round, the majority of college seniors will fall late.
SoccerByIves Mock Draft:
Soccerbyives.net's latest mock draft has the Quakes utilizing all three picks; selecting West Virginia centerback Eric Schoenle, Creighton's attacking midfielder Jose Gomez, and New Mexico's forward Devon Sandoval. To find the entire mock draft, click HERE.
TheDailyWiz analyzes some of the sleepers that fell to the 31st pick and beyond in past drafts. As the Quakes hold number 33 and number 34, teams have found success drafting players late. These players have included Omar Cummings, Sinisa Ubiparipovic, and Nick LaBrocca. Read the full story HERE.
SJEarthquakes.com sat down with long-time season ticket holder Rober Blackburn to hear his insight on all things Quakes. The Bay Area resident spoke about his time as an Quakes fan, the benefits of being a season ticket holder, and the success of the Goonies in the seasons ahead.
When did you become a fan of the Earthquakes?
I moved to the Bay Area in 2001. I went to the Western Conference Finals in 2003 against the Kansas City Wizards. The Quakes beat the Wizards 3-2 in overtime and I had a great time. I had a friend take me to a few games in 2005 as he was a season ticket holder. The World Cup came out in high definition in 2006 but the Quakes had moved to Houston by that time. Once they came back in 2008, I became a season ticket holder and have been one ever since.
What was your favorite Quakes’ moment?
My favorite Earthquakes moment was Steven Lenhart's winning header against Seattle this past August, 2012. We had played well and led 1-0, but they [Seattle] put in 3 difference makers for the equalizer in stoppage. For us [San Jose] to come back immediately and win with just seconds left was a big statement, and something very special and very rare in soccer.
What was your favorite Earthquakes’ game?
My favorite Earthquakes game was Aug. 3, 2008 when [David] Beckham and the Galaxy played the Quakes at the Oakland Coliseum. The Quakes went up 2-0, and the Galaxy came back to tie it. Ryan Cochrane scored the go-ahead goal with a couple minutes left to give the Quakes the 3-2 victory. Long-story short, Beckham hated to lose. He walked over to the sideline after the game and handed his jersey to my daughter. We have framed it along with the tickets. It was a great experience.
What have been some of the benefits of being a Season Ticket Holder?
During my first couple years as a season ticket holder, we got nice blue portraits and could get everyone’s autograph. I really liked that a lot. I am a VIP season ticket holder and the game day experience with the food and parking is great. I love the game experience as a whole and the VIP package.
Game of the Week:
Chelsea vs. Arsenal: Sunday, Jan. 20, 5:30 a.m. PST, Stamford Bridge
The London derby will headline the upcoming weekend's fixtures. Chelsea, sitting in third on 41 points, look to bring their away form home against their northern London rivals. While both sides have encountered adversity and internal turmoil, Arsenal's form may be the most scrutinized of any "Big Four" team this season. A side that prides themselves on finishing in the top four and qualifying for the Champions League, Arsenal unfavorably sit in sixth and have yet to find a clear talisman with the departure of Dutch striker Robin van Persie. To make matters worse, Arsenal's esteemed leader Arsene Wenger has deemed his players as "timid."
Under Rafa Benitez's guidance, Chelsea has seen an astonishing spell away from home. The Blues walked to a 4-0 victory over a resolute Stoke City this past weekend (in part to Jonathan Walters' two own goals) and have made it seven victories out of their past nine away games. Rafa Benitez's interim status will only remain interim unless Chelsea maintain their ascension up the table.
Fans may be entitled to goals galore in this encounter as both sides have been firing on all cylinders. Arsenal capped 2012 with a 7-3 victory over Newcastle and Chelsea has been finding the net at an alarmingly similar rate. While the clash will draw international attention, a developing subplot is the short-term future of Chelsea's tenured box-to-box midfielder Frank Lampard. Frequently linked with an MLS side, Lampard may truly be in the winter of a once electric career.
Tottenham vs. Manchester United: Sunday, Jan. 20, 8:00 a.m. PST, White Hart Lane
As appetizing as Chelsea vs. Arsenal is for fans, north London's White Hart Lane may produce a matchup just as mouthwatering. A battle between first-place Manchester United and third-place Tottenham, Sir Alex Ferguson's United will be seeking revenge for the 3-2 defeat at the hands of Spurs on Sept. 29. Tottenham's summer signing Clint Dempsey found the net in the match and pacey Welsh winger Gareth Bale was a handful for a typically fortified United backline.
Tottenham will be without their lanky Togolese striker, Emmanuel Adebayor, who has opted to play for his country in the upcoming African Cup of Nations. Andre Villas-Boas side, though, won't be without their offensive weapons. Striker Jermaine Defoe has netted 10 goals on the year while Bale has added nine more.
League leaders, Manchester United, are expecting three points from the affair. The Red Devils are unbeaten in their past nine Premier League matches, including eight victories. Robin van Persie leads his side with 17 goals in 22 matches played and, based on his form from the past year, is hungry for more.
Valencia vs. Real Madrid: Tuesday, Jan. 15, 12:00 p.m. PST, Estadio Mestalla
In the first leg of this home and home Copa del Rey matchup, Real Madrid look to the non-league match to rebound to winning ways. A media firestorm has surrounded the most illustrious and accomplished European club. Real's manager, Jose Mourinho, is no stranger to the media's spotlight but a departure from the club appears imminent for the self-described "Special One." Real Madrid sit in third-place with 37 points after tying La Liga bottom-dwellers Osasuna 0-0 over the weekend. Although Los Merengues were without defender Sergio Ramos and the oft-polarizing Cristiano Ronaldo to suspensions, Madrid sit 18 points behind archrivals F.C. Barcelona; a near insurmountable lead.
To keep their trophy ambitions alive (and Mourinho's career), Madrid's matchup against historic rival Valencia may be the turning point that the side needs.
Wondolowski’s Rise to Stardom:
What a year it has been for the Quakes’ lethal finisher Chris Wondolowski? The striker netted a MLS record-tying and league-best 27 goals. A wealth of individual accolades followed. “Wondo” claimed the Budweiser Golden Boot award, was named an MLS All-Star, and garnered the 2012 Volkswagen MLS MVP award. The Danville, CA native couldn’t have asked for much more.
When looking at Wondo’s past, his journey to donning the number 8 has been a rollercoaster ride that would have directed many to seek other options. The 41st overall pick in the 2005 draft, Wondo netted only seven goals in his first six years in the MLS before transforming into the scoring-machine that the Quakes’ faithful have become so accustomed to.
Soccer America’s Mike Woitalla chronicles the early years of Chris and his family and Chris’ ascendancy to become the league’s most feared goal-scorer. To read the full story, click here.
Former Quake, Ryan Cochrane, joins Santa Clara's coaching staff:
Former Quakes defender, Ryan Cochrane, was named an assistant coach for his alma mater, Santa Clara University. Cochrane was selected by San Jose with the fifth overall draft pick in 2004 and would go on to have a nine year professional soccer career. The 29-year-old was previously an assistant with Wheaton College in 2011 and Trinity University in 2012.
Elliott Almond of the San Jose Mercury News wrote the full story which can be found here.
Game of the Week:
Manchester United vs. Liverpool FC: Sun. Jan. 13, 5:30 a.m. PST, Old Trafford
Bay Area faithful may have their eyes set on the 49ers’ playoff matchup against the Green Bay Packers on Saturday, but the palpable drama will resurface some 12 hours later in Manchester, England.
Manchester United face their bitter northeastern rivals Liverpool in what looks to be a mouthwatering encounter. United looks to stay at the summit of the Premier League and move up to 55 points off of their 22nd match. Liverpool, whose season has not reached their newly elevated expectations under the guidance of first-year manager Brendan Rodgers, simply seeks points. Qualification for a spot in European competition next season may just appease the Kop faithful.
United’s blistering start to the season has been pinpointed to the arrival of Dutchman, and former Arsenal striker, Robin van Persie. The talisman’s prolific goal-scoring run has seen him net 16 league goals in 21 league games so far. Yet, Liverpool’s much-maligned and divisive Luis Suarez has also re-discovered his goal-scoring abilities. The Uruguayan has bagged 15 league goals, including braces in his previous two Premier League matches.
While a 21 point gap displaces Liverpool from Manchester United, the magnitude of the match will draw on decades of competitive battle. Liverpool’s recent rich vein of form has seen the Merseysiders win their previous four matches. Similarly, United is undefeated in their past nine matches from all competitions. With two short-tempered squads, fans will be the greatest beneficiaries of Sunday’s excitement.
Manchester City vs. Arsenal: Sun. Jan. 13, 8:30 a.m. PST, Emirates
Sunday’s drama continues an hour after the conclusion of the Old Trafford battle. Arsenal’s Emirates will play host to Man City in a matchup between the sixth and second sides in the Premier League. To the unrest of Gunner’s fans, Arsenal’s current position would not allow for Champions League qualification and may lead to the termination of Arsene Wenger’s tenure. To make matters worse, Arsenal’s leading goal-scorer, Theo Walcott, has yet to agree upon a new contract despite netting an audacious hat-trick against Newcastle last week.
City is in pursuit of its second consecutive Premier League title despite a seven point discrepancy behind neighbors Manchester United. The recently financed club is led by a three-pronged attack in Edin Dzeko, Sergio Aguero, and Carlos Tevez.
Last season’s matchup at Emirates left the City faithful in a state of bewilderment. Spaniard Mikel Arteta hit an 87th minute wonder strike to give Arsenal the three points in a 1-0 win.
Arsene Wenger has built his well-deserved reputation on earning points from hard-fought matchups and the Frenchman may field a tactically-astute side ready to seize the given opportunity.
Malaga vs. FC Barcelona: Sun. Jan. 13, 12:00 p.m. PST, Estadio La Rosaleda
First-place Barcelona will travel to the Estadio La Rosaleda in a matchup against fourth place Malaga. Barcelona recorded four first-half goals against Espanyol to stroll to victory this past weekend. The Andalusian side, though, may prove more formidable to the Catalonians. Malaga’s combination of a veteran attack supplemented with a young nucleus has catapulted the once overlooked side into fourth place.
Barcelona is expected to secure three points from the match but away games can prove difficult for even the best of sides. Messi has netted an astonishing 27 league goals in 18 league games and Malaga may fall prey to the predatory diminutive Argentine.
Juventus vs. Parma: Sun. Jan. 13, 6:00 a.m. PST, Stadio Ennio Tardini
A multi-faceted Juventus attack will look to maintain its first place position against the eighth-spot Parma. Juventus leads Serie A with 44 points from 19 matches and is ready to gather three more off of the upcoming away game. Parma’s attack is led by Ishak Belfodil’s six strikes. The 20-year-old Algerian and former French youth national team member has embraced his first season with Parma. He may be the catalyst the side needs to climb up the Serie A ladder.
The Turin side should grab three points but fans may be entitled to goals galore in this encounter.
Bay Area's Top 10 stories from 2012
2012 has proven to be a memorable year for Bay Area sports fans. The Giants miraculously won their second World Series in three years. The A's were in first place in their division for only one day but it was the one day that mattered. The 49ers channeled the glory from the past years under Bill Walsh and nearly made the Super Bowl.
The Earthquakes, though, were no strangers to drama. Posting a league-best record of 19-6-9, the Quakes demanded that their fans stay at the game until the very end. The berth of the "Goonies" arose to the delight of the organization and the Quakes' faithful. A three-pronged attack from Chris Wondolowski, Steven Lenhart, and Alan Gordon led San Jose into the playoffs at times to the bewilderment of their Bay Area fans.
Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News details the top 10 moments from 2012. Find the full article here.
One week ago, our country was shocked and overcome with grief as details of a tragedy in Newtown, Conn. came to light.
As Washington Post soccer writer Steve Goff reported today, the news was especially significant to Earthquakes forward Marcus Tracy. The former Wake Forest product grew up in Newtown and his mother used to teach at the elementary school where 26 people were shot and killed on Friday, Dec. 14.
Tracy, his brother and a group of friends decided they wanted to do something to represent their community and pay tribute to those who lost their lives. They produced an original song and tribute that you can see above. Tracy also emailed sjearthquakes.com the following statement:
“When CNN first stated how many people lost their lives, it was complete shock and disbelief. It was unfathomable to think that this happened in the same town I lived in for 18 years, two miles away, at the school my Mom once taught at. It's still hard to believe. It's a very real reminder whenever I leave the house and see all of the media, police from out of town and out of state, the volume of traffic; it’s amazing, though, to see how the town has come together to uplift those most affected by the tragedy. It hurts you as a resident of Newtown that something like this could happen, so just try and imagine how parents, brothers, sisters and spouses are feeling right now. You can't; it's impossible. After days of grieving and trying to comprehend what the hell happened, me and a few friends got together to think about what we could do to help uplift this town and its people. So I turned to one of the only things (besides soccer) that I know and love: music.
I produce music as a hobby and have a production team with my brother and my friend, Anthony Santella. My brother is in Boston, so me and Anthony led the way. We produced the entire song together, but brought in a few of our other friends and created this video/picture montage tribute.
It was therapeutic for us, but also a means, we felt, to represent our town. Right now the whole world knows the town Newtown, CT for one reason only. But Newtown means something much more to each one of us. This is the only way we knew how to speak back to the community and the world that, yes, we were hit hard and suffered great loss, but we will bounce back. And also our way of recognizing and lifting up the 26 people who needlessly lost their lives that day."
The club's collective thoughts are with Marcus and Newtown during this holiday season.
Clint Dempsey named US Soccer “Male Athlete of the Year”:
The Nacogdoches attacker has had a memorable 2012. After recording six goals for the US Men’s National Team, including a memorable strike to beat Italy, Dempsey has received his third “Male Athlete of the Year” honor by US Soccer. Dempsey couldn’t stop scoring for club or country in 2012. The former Fulham hit-man left the club as its all-time leading Premier League scorer. In a much-publicized transfer saga, Dempsey switched to North London side Tottenham. Dempsey has three league goals for the Spurs who currently sit in fourth place in the Premier League table.
For more information on Dempsey’s award, click here.
Lionel Messi keeps scoring:
Ninety goals in a calendar year and still one more game to play. The diminutive Argentine saw Gerd Muller’s 40-year-old record of 85 goals and didn’t blink. Messi will lineup against Villadolid on Sat., Dec. 22 to conclude a historic goal-scoring year. FC Barcelona must also feel relieved to have secured Messi’s abilities for the long-term. Messi, Puyol, and Xavi all extended their stays with the only club that they have ever played for professionally. Messi signed until 2018 while Puyol and Xavi are now contracted until 2016. The 25-year-old Argentine has 25 La Liga goals in 16 games played this season as well as having netted 22 braces in the 2012 calendar year.
Find out more about Messi and Co. here.
Corinthians host Club World Cup:
The nightmare for Rafa Benitez can’t get any darker. After almost having successfully rejuvenated Fernando Torres’ career circa 2008, Benitez lost his most important game to date during his ever-increasingly short tenure as manager of Chelsea. Chelsea lost to Brazilian outfit Corinthians 1-0 and are still trophy-less after their dramatic 2012 Champions League title win.
For the full recap, click here.
Zenit St. Petersburg fan group demands all-white, heterosexual team:
The Landscrona, the largest fan group of Zenit St. Petersburg, has demanded that their team be composed strictly of white, heterosexual players. The blatantly intolerant mandate is somehow justified by the fan group that these players are “only worthy” of the great city of St. Petersburg. The comments have not come without ramifications. Manager Luciano Spalleti has reiterated his firm stance against such demands and has pledged to do everything in his power to increase tolerance among the fan base.
Read the full story here.
Man City denies rumors that it will buy MLS team:
Last week, rumors swirled that Man City was positioning itself to purchase an MLS expansion team in New York City. The Citizens have denied such claims even though the club looks to expand its brand stateside in a growing soccer market. City was reported to purchase a team for $100 million and then re-sell a minority portion to local investors. Among notable names involved in the possible deal was none other than David Beckham. The new team would’ve played out of Queens.
For more on this development, click here.
A weekly insight into local, national, and international soccer, “Anything but Quakes” previews the best matches of the week ahead.
Games of the Week:
Liverpool FC vs. Fulham FC, Sat. Dec. 22, 9:30 a.m. PST, Anfield
With the holiday season approaching, many set aside the time to reflect on the year past. The Barclay’s Premier League will reach its near midway point before the holiday break and finds that the usual suspects are at both the summit and the basement of the league standings.
If the 2011/2012 Premier League season would be any indication of team’s performances in the 2012/2013 season, the upcoming Liverpool FC vs. Fulham match at Anfield may take on more significance for European qualification than the current sides sitting in the 12th and 13th spots respectively.
Liverpool has undergone significant front office changes in recent years. John Henry and Tom Werner’s Fenway Sports Group purchased the famed club in October, 2010 and have set their sights on returning the club to the prominence it found in the 1970’s.
Former Swansea manager Brendan Rodgers now holds the reigns for the Merseysiders. Yet, he is still waiting to align the club’s on-field success with that of their ownership’s vision.
Saturday’s match against Fulham may be the inflection point for a team striving to break into the top four. Despite suffering a 3-1 loss at the hands of Aston Villa last Saturday, Liverpool must now re-group and prepare for the final months of the season.
Expect an open match between the two sides. Fulham’s refined Bulgarian striker Dimitar Berbatov has a knack for taking advantage of opportunistic chances.
AS Roma vs. AC Milan, Sat. Dec. 22, 11:45 a.m. PST, Stadio Olimpico
Rome’s Stadio Olimpico will host the traditionally heralded matchup between two sides admittedly underperforming. AS Roma sits in sixth place and AC Milan are right behind them; two teams perennially fighting for not only a Champions League berth but the Serie A crown.
AC Milan’s performances to date have fluctuated as they try to find their offensive prowess. The loss of journeyman Zlatan Ibrahimovic may have left an indelible mark on their goal-scoring abilities. With rumors that Robinho may leave in January, Milan’s attack may be on a precipitous decline. Young Stephan El-Shaaarawy, though, has taken advantage of the opportunity left by Ibrahimovic’s exit. The Italian has tallied 14 goals in 17 Serie A games this season and is hungry for more.
Roma’s attack is once again spearheaded by an Italian presence. Pablo Daniel Osvaldo has recorded eight league strikes while forever young 36-year-old Francesco Totti has added six more.
Points will be crucial for these two sides as they fight for a place in Europe.
Manchester United vs. Swansea City, Sun. Dec. 23, 5:30 a.m. PST, Liberty Stadium
The “Swans” will host the matchup between first place Manchester United and the 10th place Welsh side. Michael Laudrup has helped Swansea pick up where Brendan Rodgers left them last year; embracing a dynamic brand of passing soccer commonly not found in the British Isles. Swansea may be playing some of the best soccer in the Premier League. Relatively unknown Spanish striker, Michu, has taken the league by storm. The former Rayo Vallecano has provided 12 league goals for Swansea and seems to do nothing wrong in the process. United will be led by Dutchman Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney. Although United are expected to walk away with three points, the Liberty Stadium has proven difficult for many away teams.
Real Madrid vs. Malaga, Sat. Dec. 22, 11 a.m. PST, Estadio La Rosaleda
Real Madrid are desperate to resurrect their winning ways. After a loss and a tie in their past two matches, Real Madrid sit in third place in the La Liga table; four points behind cross-town rivals Atletico and 13 points behind archrivals Barcelona. Add internal strife to the equation, a foreseeable managerial change in the coming weeks, and Real Madrid may be all but out as repeat league title contenders. Fourth place Malaga will be no easy team or place to play. The Champions League side has found a recipe of success through a motley crew of individuals. Madrid may be in for another surprise and, should Madrid not get a win, it may be the last match for Jose Mourinho.
Does it get any better than a seven-goal, multi-comeback California Clasico?
According to MLSsoccer.com, it doesn't. San Jose's 4-3 win against the LA Galaxy on June 30 at Stanford Stadium was the pick for Best Game of 2012. The match featured a pair of rallies - LA from 1-0 down to take a 3-1 lead and San Jose from 3-1 down to win 4-3 - as well as goals from some of the most recognizable faces in the league: Landon Donovan, David Beckham and, of course, Chris Wondolowski.
In a year filled with memorable games (aka Goonie moments), the stunner at Stanford Stadium tops the charts. However, let the debate begin for which game was second best.
Was it Steven Lenhart's 'Blond-Haired Bedlam at Buck Shaw' against the Chicago Fire on July 28, Alan Gordon's header to knock off LA at The Home Depot Center on May 23 or maybe the stoppage-time thriller against Seattle Sounders FC on Aug. 11? Vote now!