Earthquakes Weekly Update: November 15, 2010

Quakes look ahead to Expansion Draft, MLS off-season

Jon Busch vs. Colorado Rapids Eastern Conference Championship

Photo Credit: 
Doug Pensinger / Getty

The San Jose Earthquakes 2010 season came to an end last Saturday night with a 1-0 loss to the Colorado Rapids in the Eastern Conference Championship at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The Quakes concluded their season with a 13-10-7 regular season record with 46 points. San Jose reached the playoffs for the first time since their return to MLS in 2008 and were eliminated in the Eastern Conference Championship game.
 
Last Game
Colorado Rapids 1, Earthquakes 0; Nov. 13, 2010; Dick’s Sporting Goods Park; Commerce City, Colo.
Defender Kosuke Kimura scored a rare goal and the Rapids earned an even rarer shot at their first MLS crown, topping the San Jose Earthquakes, 1-0, in a chilly Eastern Conference Championship at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Saturday night. The Rapids will make their first MLS Cup appearance since 1997 when they take the field next Sunday at BMO Field in Toronto. They’ll face FC Dallas, who knocked off the LA Galaxy 3-0 on Sunday night. The San Jose Earthquakes, meanwhile, saw their surprising postseason run come to an end, falling two steps short of winning the first MLS title since their 2008 rebirth and third in franchise history. Steady and patient play from the Rapids made sure of that, and they got the game-winner late in the first half after a number of chances skipped wide. Kimura stepped up from his spot on the back line in the 42nd minute and curled an in-swinging left-footed cross intended for Cummings in the box. But the ball skipped over the Jamaican international’s foot and then past lunging Quakes goalkeeper Jon Busch into the corner of the goal. Wondolowski’s best chance came in the 63rd minute when he skipped a header just wide of the post after redirecting a cross from teammate Ryan Johnson. Rapids goalkeeper Matt Pickens needed to make just one real save to pick up his fourth career postseason shutout and first trip to the MLS Cup after narrowly missing a chance with the Chicago Fire in 2007.
Misc. Notes

MLS Cup is Set
The Colorado Rapids advanced to the MLS Cup by knocking off the Quakes 1-0 in the Eastern Conference Championship. FC Dallas will make their first ever trip to MLS Cup to meet the Rapids after their 3-0 win over the LA Galaxy in the Western Conference Championship on Sunday night. The MLS Cup Final in Toronto at BMO Field will kick off at 5:30 p.m. PT and will be televised on ESPN.
 
Quakes Reach Conference Final for First Time Since 2003
The San Jose Earthquakes advanced to the Eastern Conference Championship, which marked the first time San Jose played for a Conference Championship since 2003. That is also the last time the Earthquakes won MLS Cup. San Jose defeated the Kansas City Wizards 3-2 in overtime on Nov. 15, 2003 in the Conference Championship at Spartan Stadium. Current assistant coach Ian Russell assisted on the game-tying goal in the 83rd minute. In 2001, the Quakes won on the road 1-0 in Miami in the third game of the MLS Cup Playoff Semifinals to advance to MLS Cup. Troy Dayak scored the game-winner in overtime the 93rd minute on a header to send the Quakes through.
 
Wondolowski Wins 2010 Budweiser Golden Boot
San Jose Earthquakes forward and Major League Soccer MVP finalist Chris Wondolowski claimed the 2010 Budweiser Golden Boot, awarded to the top goal scorer at the end of the MLS regular season. Wondolowski’s career-high 18 goals through 28 games played this season helped the Earthquakes to their first playoff appearance since the team rejoined MLS in 2008. Wondolowski trailed Los Angeles Galaxy forward Edson Buddle by six goals (14-8) with eight games to play (through games on September 11). By winning the Budweiser Golden Boot, he becomes the first player to win an MLS goal-scoring title, either jointly or outright, by erasing a deficit of five or more goals in his last 10 games. Wondolowski also becomes the first player in San Jose franchise history to win the Golden Boot. In 2004, Brian Ching scored 12 goals, which was tied with FC Dallas forward Eddie Johnson for the league lead in goals. However, in 2004, MLS did not award the Golden Boot, but recognized the MLS Scoring Champion, given to the player with the most points in the season.
 
Wondolowski Named Finalist for MVP
Quakes forward Chris Wondolowski is a finalist for Volkswagen Most Valuable Player, along with FC Dallas midfielder David Ferreira and Los Angeles Galaxy forward Edson Buddle. The award will be announced on Friday, Nov. 19 ahead of MLS Cup in Toronto.
 
Wondolowski Sets Club Single Season Goals Record, Moves Up All-Time List
Forward Chris Wondolowski had a tremendous season for the San Jose Earthquakes in 2010, scoring a club record 18 goals in one season. Wondolowski surpassed Ronald Cerritos’ record of 15 goals achieved in 1999 in the Earthquakes’ 3-0 victory over Chivas USA on Oct. 20 at Buck Shaw Stadium. In that game Wondolowski notched his second hat trick of the season, tying Cerritos’ record on the first goal and surpassing it on the second goal. With 21 goals in his career in San Jose, Wondolowski is tied with Eric Wynalda for fifth place on the club’s all-time goals scored list. Finally, Wondolowski is first all-time in team history in goals per game with 21 in 44 games played for an average of 0.48.
 
More History for Wondo
From Sept. 15 to Oct. 23, San Jose forward Chris Wondolowski scored all 10 of the Earthquakes goals, setting the all-time MLS record for the most consecutive goals scored by one player. Wondolowksi passed former Los Angeles Galaxy forward Carlos Ruiz, who scored nine straight for the Los Angeles Galaxy from 2002-2003. Also, Wondolowski accounted for 52.9 percent (18 of 34) of the Earthquakes’ goals in the 2010 season, which is the second highest such percentage all-time in MLS history. Only Ruiz has a higher percentage when he scored 24 of his team’s 44 goals (54.5%) in 2002, the year which he won MVP for the Galaxy. Finally, Wondolowski owns the third-highest scoring percentage in MLS history, scoring 25 goals on 111 shots (22.5%). Former San Jose forward Giovanni Savarese has the highest scoring percentage, scoring 51 goals on 218 shots (23.4%), followed by Adolfo Valencia of New York (21 goals on 93 shots, 22.6%).
 
Wondolowski Finishes First in Game-Winning Goals
San Jose forward Chris Wondolowski finished the regular season with a Major League Soccer best nine game-winning goals, which surpassed the previous club record of six game-winning goals in a single season. Wondolowski’s nine game-winning goals in a single season are tied for the most in MLS history with Carlos Ruiz, who achieved the feat for the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2002, the year in which he won the MLS MVP award. Additionally, with ten career game-winning goals in his career with the Earthquakes Wondolowksi is tied with Landon Donovan for second place on the all-time game-winning goals list.
 
Convey Named 2010 MLS Comeback Player of the Year
San Jose Earthquakes midfielder Bobby Convey has been named the Comeback Player of the Year. Convey battled back from the effects of microfracture surgery on his right knee in 2007 and hamstring injuries that hampered him in 2009 to have a breakout season in 2010. Convey recorded a career-high 10 assists (fifth in MLS) in 2010 to go along with one goal and helped lead the Earthquakes to the MLS Cup Playoffs for the first time since their return to MLS in 2008. Convey set a career-high with three assists in one game on May 8 against the New York Red Bulls. His excellent two-way play on the left wing also helped the Quakes achieve their third-highest point total in franchise history with 46. Additionally, Convey finished the regular season tied for the league lead in game-winning assists with five, along with FC Dallas midfielder David Ferreira and LA Galaxy midfielder Landon Donovan. The five game-winning assists are tied for the most in a single season in club history with Eddie Lewis (1999) and Dwayne De Rosario (2005). Convey played 26 games last season, totaling only one goal and two assists, but was slowed by a hamstring injury and lingering pain in his right knee. This season, Convey appeared in 28 games, missing none due to injury. He missed one game due to yellow card accumulation and he was rested for a game after San Jose had clinched a playoff spot. He became the third Earthquakes player to win the award. Troy Dayak captured the award in 2001, while Brian Ching won in 2004.
 
Quakes Record Third Highest Point Total in Franchise History
The Quakes finished 13-10-7 with 46 points, which ranks third all-time in franchise history. The Quakes high-water mark came with a Supporter’s Shield in 2005 when the team earned 64 points. San Jose had 51 points in 2003, the year they won their second MLS Cup Championship in franchise history.
                                      
San Jose Sets Single Season Shutout Record
The San Jose Earthquakes set the franchise record for shutouts in a season with 13 clean sheets in 2010. Number 13 came on Oct. 20 in a 3-0 win over Chivas USA at Buck Shaw Stadium. The previous record of 12 shutouts was set in 2005 when the Earthquakes won the lone Supporter’s Shield in club history.
 
Convey in Franchise Playoff Record Books
With two goals and an assist on Thursday, Nov. 4 against the New York Red Bulls, Quakes midfielder Bobby Convey tied an individual post-season record for the Earthquakes. His two goals tied Landon Donovan for the most goals scored in a playoff game. Donovan had achieved the feat twice, in his first career playoff game on Sept. 22, 2003 against the Columbus Crew in a 3-1 win and on Nov. 23, 2003 against the Chicago Fire in a 4-2 win in the MLS Cup Final.
 
San Jose Make Playoff History
By winning a two-leg series after dropping the first leg at home, the Earthquakes become just the second team to achieve the feat since the playoff format changed in 2003. The only other team to do so was the Colorado Rapids in 2006. After losing the first leg at home 2-1 to FC Dallas, the Rapids won the return leg 3-2 and won on penalties to advance to the Conference Championship.
 
Convey Finishes Fifth in Assists, Tied for First in Game-Winning Assists
Earthquakes midfielder Bobby Convey finished the regular season fifth in MLS in assists with 10. Landon Donovan of the Los Angeles Galaxy led the league with 16 assists, followed by David Ferreira of FC Dallas (13), Brad Davis of the Houston Dynamo (12) and Sebastien Le Toux of the Philadelphia Union (11). Convey’s 10 assists were the most by an Earthquakes player since 2005 when Dwayne De Rosario notched 13 assists, and are a career-high in a single season for the Philadelphia native. Additionally, Convey finished the regular season tied for the league lead in game-winning assists with five, along with Ferreira and Donovan. The five game-winning assists are tied for the most in a single season in club history with Eddie Lewis (1999) and De Rosario (2005).
 
Earthquakes International Participation
Several Earthquakes players saw international action this season for their respective countries. Forward Ryan Johnson appeared in six friendly matches for Jamaica, scoring the first two goals of his international career. Johnson tallied on Feb. 10 in a 2-1 loss to Argentina and scored the winner in a win over Costa Rica on Sept. 5. Midfielder Arturo Alvarez appeared in one match for El Salvador on Sept. 7 against Guatemala. Forward Cornell Glen made one appearance for his native Trinidad and Tobago when he faced off against Quakes teammate Ryan Johnson and Jamaica on Oct. 10.
 
Busch Among MLS All-Time Leaders
San Jose goalkeeper Jon Busch is among the all-time league leaders in a number of categories. Busch ranks first all-time in saves percentage (76.1%), seventh in goals against average (1.19), ninth in games played in goal (165), ninth in games started in goal (162), ninth in minutes played in goal (14,810), ninth in wins (67), ninth in saves (688) and eighth in shutouts (53).
 
Road Warriors
With a road record this regular season of 6-5-4 and now 1-0-0 in the MLS Cup Playoffs, the Earthquakes had more wins on the road than the team had in 2008 and 2009 combined. In 2008, the Earthquakes went 2-8-5 on the road in their first season back. In 2009, the Earthquakes went 1-10-5 with the lone win coming against D.C. United on September 27, 2009 at RFK Stadium. With 22 points on the road, the Earthquakes have doubled the 11 points the team had in 2008 for the most points earned on the road since the team returned. The franchise record for points on the road in a single season is 30 points, achieved in 2005. This season, the Earthquakes had the second highest winning percentage on the road in the MLS with a .533 clip, along with FC Dallas. The Los Angeles Galaxy had the highest (.700). Finally, the six wins the Earthquakes had on the road were tied for the second most road wins along with the Seattle Sounders FC. The Los Angeles Galaxy had the most road wins in MLS with nine.
 
Quakes Finish the Regular Season in Top 10 in Various Statistical Categories
The San Jose Earthquakes finished the 2010 Major League Soccer regular season in the top 10 of a variety of statistical categories. The Earthquakes recorded the fourth best record when scoring the first goal, going an impressive 12-0-2 for a 0.929 winning percentage. The New York Red Bulls – the Earthquakes’ opponent in the Eastern Conference Semifinals – finished with the best record when scoring first, going 14-0-1 (0.967). Additionally, the Earthquakes finished sixth in goals against (33), sixth in shots on goal (140) and seventh in assists (35). Finally, the Earthquakes tallied the eighth best record in MLS when leading at half, going 7-0-2 for a winning percentage of 0.889.
 
San Jose Win Xbox 360 Team Fair Play Award
The San Jose Earthquakes have claimed the Xbox 360 Team Fair Play Award for accumulating the fewest disciplinary points of any team during the 2010 regular season. They committed the fewest fouls of any team (286) and the Quakes are also tied for the fewest cautions received (40).
 
Expansion Draft to be Held Nov. 24
The 2010 Expansion Draft for the two new MLS franchises, the Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 24 at 11 a.m. PT. Existing MLS clubs can protect 11 players, which must include any Designated Players with no-trade clauses. Generation adidas players and Home Grown players are automatically excluded from the Expansion Draft and do not need to be protected. Also, MLS teams cannot dump all their international players into the Expansion Draft. A team with more than three internationals can only leave three fewer than their total of international players unprotected. Teams with three or fewer international players cannot leave more than one international player unprotected. American players are not considered internationals for Toronto FC. Canadians are considered internationals for American clubs. The final list of unprotected “available” players will be distributed to the Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps two days before the Expansion Draft. Portland and Vancouver will then alternate Expansion Draft picks over 10 rounds, with the Timbers getting things started with the first overall pick. The rules say that no existing MLS club can lose more than two players in the Expansion Draft. After a team has one player claimed by Portland or Vancouver, that team has the right to protect another player and pull his name off the Expansion Draft list.
 
First Re-Entry Drafts Set for December
The league last week unveiled dates and details of the new Re-Entry Draft, which will make its debut in 2010 as part of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement between MLS and the MLS Players Union.  The CBA provided players new rights depending on the age and years of service in the league. A player who is at least 23 years of age with three or more years of MLS service and an option that was not renewed by his club (23/3 player) or a 25/4 player with an expiring contract, are eligible to be part of the 2010 Re-Entry Draft. All players, including Designated Players and players who have graduated from the Generation adidas program, will be included in this draft if they meet the age and service requirements.The first stage of the Re-Entry Draft allows these 23/3 (options) and 25/4 (expiring contract) players to be made available to all other MLS clubs at the current option price or previous contractual salary. The order of selection by teams is based on reverse order of finish in the 2010 regular season, including the postseason. Players who are not selected in the first stage of the Re-Entry Draft at their current option prices and contractual salary numbers will have a second crack at joining an MLS club. The second stage of the Re-Entry Draft takes place a week later with no specific salary or option requirements that are part of the first stage. MLS teams that select unsigned players in Stage 2 are then required to make concrete offers within seven business days. Players may agree to a new contract with MLS prior to Stage 2 of the Re-Entry Draft. Should no agreement be reached, the team that made the selection in the second stage will hold the right of first refusal on a contract with that player in the future. Players who are not selected in either stage of the Re-Entry Draft can negotiate with any team on a first-come, first-serve basis.
 
MLS Combine to Take Place Jan. 8-11
The MLS Player Combine will take place in the days leading up to the 2011 MLS SuperDraft presented by adidas. The league announced last week that the combine will be held January 8-11 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and the SuperDraft will take place at 9 a.m. PT on January 13. The SuperDraft will take place at the Baltimore Convention Center, in conjunction with the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Convention.