Weekend Recap: Playoff race heating up
What a difference two weeks can make.
Fourteen days ago, the Quakes were reeling after back-to-back 1-0 losses - Seattle Sounders FC at home and the Colorado Rapids on the road. Ike Opara fractured his foot against Seattle and Ramiro Corrales sprained his knee in Denver. The playoffs seemed to be slipping away.
San Jose's fortune has since taken a 180-degree turn. Khari Stephenson has stabilized the central midfield, Chris Wondolowski has rediscovered his scoring touch and the midfield-turned-defender duo of Brandon McDonald and Bobby Convey has filled in admirably on the Quakes hobbled back line.
Oh, and this guy named Geovanni signed on as San Jose's first-ever designated player.
On Saturday, the Quakes dispatched in-state rival Los Angeles Galaxy, San Jose's second win at Buck Shaw in as many weeks. Wondolowski scored the game winner thanks in part to a goalkeeping gaffe by Donovan Ricketts. Jon Busch recorded seven saves, including a key 1-on-1 stuff of Landon Donovan.
Following back-to-back home wins, San Jose has moved into the No. 6 position in the MLS playoff hunt.
GEOVANNI'S MLS DEBUT
That Geovanni suited up for San Jose on Saturday is nothing short of a miracle. After arriving in San Jose on Sunday, signing a contract on Monday and scrambling to get the necessary paperwork completed, Geovanni debuted in the 72nd minute, subbing on for Cornell Glen.
The Brazilian attacker received a standing ovation from the record crowd of 10,799 while entering the pitch to Samba de Janeiro.
After the match, Geovanni had this to say:
“I am very happy to be here in San Jose and I was glad to make my debut today. I appreciate the support from the fans and the club today and this week. The important thing is that the team got a big win and three important points. We are looking forward to next week, and hopefully the team can get another good result.”
Brian Ching scored a hat trick to lead the Houston Dynamo past the Chicago Fire in an exciting 4-3 result. It was a much-needed win for a Dynamo team that was 0-3-1 in its previous four matches.
FC Dallas extended its unbeaten streak to 11 games with a 1-0 win over Chivas USA. Brek Shea had the decisive strike.
D.C. United won for the first time in MLS play since June 10. Danny Allsopp scored twice in a 2-0 win over the Philadelphia Union.
Birahim Diop replaced suspended Teal Bunbury and scored a brace as the Kansas City Wizards bounced back from last week's road loss to San Jose with a 4-1 win against the New England Revolution.
The Columbus Crew continued to pace the Eastern Conference table with a 3-1 win over the Colorado Rapids. The Crew are six points clear of second-place New York.
Rafael Márquez scored his first-career MLS goal, a cracker that helped the New York Red Bulls to a decisive 4-1 win at BMO Field. It was Toronto FC's first home loss of 2010.