Kaval's Kickoff: Playoff race and new stadium milestones
** aerial view of new stadium site
We are in a full-fledged playoff race with three games to play with one little point separating us from the playoffs. It is truly incredible what a strong push we have made over the last month to position us to make the playoffs. The team is gelling at the right time and getting results even when not playing 100 percent. The next three games are going to be huge as we are playing the two clubs – Rapids and Galaxy – that sit above us in the playoff standings. This is going to be a wild ride.
What is it with this team and scoring with a man down? First the California Clasico at Stanford with the two shorthanded goals then this past weekend at the StubHub Center against Chivas USA. The tenacity and resolve required to perform under that pressure is really admirable - something that you rarely see. And Wondo once again saves the day with a game-winning goal. That is his 32nd game-winner as a member of the Quakes. With last night’s strike, he moves past Jason Kreis for No. 4 on the league’s all-time list.
It has been great to see how the defense has solidified itself. Mark Watson has been stressing our defensive shape, and the results speak for themselves. These tactics plus the arrival of Clarence Goodson have given us one of the best defensive units in MLS. That has kept us in games and propelled the team on this playoff run.
Against the backdrop of our exciting playoff run, we have had more good news on the stadium. We spent Friday pouring 670 yards of concrete at the site. This was the foundation for the team building that will house the front office, home and visiting team locker rooms, training rooms, player lounge, box office and gym. We celebrated the milestone by once again incorporating our fans in the construction process. Building on the success of the Guinness record 6,256 fans who participated in the groundbreaking, we had one of our most loyal fans – Merryl Zuparko – actually press the button to start the concrete pouring. With the help of Quakes General Manager John Doyle, Merryl was able to fill in a good portion of the foundation for the team locker room. Thank you, Merryl, for your help. She is symbolic of all our fans who have spent countless hours devoted to our club. Without their passion and dedication, we would not be building a new stadium or competing with unbridled spirit for the 2013 MLS Cup playoffs.
The next step that is ongoing is to place the rebar (the web of steel rods that you see in the photos) in all the stadium foundations and then backfill that with thousands of yards of concrete. You will see a lot of concrete trucks on the site over the next week or two. We are on pace to erect the team building steel in November and the stadium steel in December.
Where is all that steel you may ask? Where else? In Stockton. Schuff Steel is fabricating the steel at their facility right now. In order to keep fans involved in the construction process, we are planning a trip in October to visit the fabrication mill. We will announce soon how to register, and some select fans will even be able to try their hand at welding on the trip. Should be fun and educational.
I will be hosting office hours at the new stadium site on Oct. 15 from 3 - 7 p.m. I encourage all fans to come out to learn about the construction process and new stadium. I hope to see you there.