The San Jose Earthquakes didn’t feel like they were beaten 1-0 on Saturday by the New York Red Bulls in the opening half of their Eastern Conference semifinal.
The Quakes feel instead that they’ve got a four-day halftime to get things right.
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The fact that these teams will square off again Thursday in Red Bull Arena was one of the things that most buoyed the Quakes after they couldn’t answer Joel Lindpere’s 55th-minute goal.
“I’ve never come in at halftime of a game and started celebrating like the game’s won,” Quakes center back Jason Hernandez said. “It’s just a break right now, it’s halftime. We go there for the second half, hopefully we come out with the same mentality and maybe the ball will bounce our way a little bit and we’ll get the result over there.”
[inline_node:322253]Of course, normally teams don’t suddenly lose home-field advantage in the 15-minute interval. But they also don’t get a chance to make whatever changes they want to the lineup, unfettered by the three-substitution rule.
“Whatever I try, whether it looks good from afar, if it’s the right choice on the bench and we feel it, we’re going to do it,” said San Jose had coach Frank Yallop, who declined to speculate on what players might see the bench next week.
With several shots going wide of the posts, the Quakes felt as though their total of only three shots on goal was a little misleading. Yallop, for one, said he felt San Jose deserved a draw.
“I think we can take a lot of positives out of the game,” Hernandez said. “I just think in the final third, we were a misstep here, a misstep there, the ball not bouncing our way here and there. Hopefully we can tune that up a little bit and get ready to play another road game.”
The Quakes can also be thankful that, even as Yallop brought on more and more offensive players in a bid to find the equalizer, his defense didn’t allow a second, back-breaking goal.
“I think that obviously New York are happy to come away with a win, but at least we’re [trailing] 1-0,” Yallop said. “We can go in there and get a 2-0 win and go through. At least it’s not way out of reach. At least we have that to hang onto. We’re 1-0 down at halftime.”
Geoff Lepper covers the Earthquakes for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @sjquakes
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