10 From 10: Defense Dominates
There were many events that defined the San Jose Earthquakes run to
the Eastern Conference Championship. Each day we will reveal the latest
in our countdown of the 10 most memorable moments from 2010. Stay
There was more to celebrate than Chris Wondolowski's hat trick when the San Jose Earthquakes defeated Chivas USA 3-0 on October 20 at Buck Shaw Stadium.
That was the night the Quakes set a franchise record with their 13th shutout of 2010. For a squad that conceded a league-worst 50 goals in 2009, the No. 13 was a defining benchmark.
No single name stands out as the reason for San Jose's vastly improved defense. It was a patchwork quilt.
Protecting the frame were a pair of veteran goalkeepers in Jon Busch and Joe Cannon.
The flanks included a myriad of sentinels - Chris Leitch gave way to Steven Beitashour who then passed the torch to Jason Hernandez before Tim Ward's arrival. Ward eventually moved to left back after captain Ramiro Corrales sprained his MCL. Bobby Convey also limelighted on the left for a brief stretch.
San Jose's center backs proved to be just as interchangeable. Ike Opara played in 11 games before a season-ending injury on July 31 against Sounders FC. Hernandez spent a bulk of the season at central defender, but also moved out wide for a stretch. Bobby Burling flourished as a spot starter, appearing in 18 matches and Brandon McDonald was a rock after switching to the back line from the midfield midway through 2010.
The collective effort was indicative of San Jose's Blue Collar Boys moniker. It was also instrumental in the Quakes run to the MLS Cup Playoffs.
No. 8 in our countdown: Defense Dominates
10 From 10 Countdown