I have been looking forward to this week ever since the MLS released its schedule a whopping 36 days before opening day: A rematch against the villainous New York Red Bulls back at Red Bull Arena. The Energy Drinkers will be out for blood when they try and avenge their loss last year in the playoffs, especially after a heartbreaking loss to the Philadelphia Union on a really terrible giveaway in front of their own goal.
Last time we ventured into New York’s house, we came away with an improbable but super-satisfying 3-1 victory that catapulted the Quakes into the final four. It was a representation of what we can accomplish as a team. We saw amazing performances from Jon Busch in goal, Wondo up top, and Bobby Convey all over the place. This weekend’s match comes at a critical juncture for the Quakes in 2011. We have been playing some really great soccer with large advantages in possession and shots on goal, but we have not been notching wins. It is time for the pieces to fall in place and there is no better place for that than back in New York where we thrived last November.
Our next home date is Saturday, April 23 at 1 p.m. against Chivas USA. It is our only scheduled day game this season. What do folks think of day games? Traditionally, we have played in the evening at 7:30 p.m. We know that folks have a lot of stuff going on in the day from youth sports to events to work. Should we try and schedule more day games? What time of year is best for a day game?
One of the bright spots early in the 2011 season has been the play of Simon Dawkins. The Tottenham Hotspur loanee has dazzled fans with his fancy footwork and has scored in back-to-back games. His presence significantly upgrades our ability to control the action and his tendency to attack the defense is fun to watch. I think it is important to understand how much work went into making him a Quake this season. It required the skillful and patient development of our partnership with Tottenham Hotspur over several years in order to get them comfortable with allowing one of their better academy talents to play here in the States. John Doyle and Frank Yallop did a fabulous job both identifying Simon as well as giving him a chance to play as a trialist during our preseason trip to London. Loan contracts are no cakewalk, so cheers to the patience and solid negotiating skills of our technical staff that led to a fantastic addition to the club for 2011.
San Jose Earthquakes