SAN JOSE, Calif. – Vancouver Whitecaps FC grabbed what proved to be the winner less than a minute after the San Jose Earthquakes had found a late equalizer, taking a 2-1 decision over the home side in MLS Reserve League action at the Earthquakes Training Facility on April 8.
Atiba Harris scored the decisive goal in the 78th minute, having already assisted on the Whitecaps FC opener in the 38th. He was forced to sit out Saturday’s MLS tilt at Buck Shaw Stadium due to a league-imposed one-match suspension for a foul committed at the Philadelphia Union on March 31.
The Vancouver reserves (1-0-1, 4 pts.) struck first with seven minutes to go before the halftime break as Harris dribbled toward goal before threading a crisp through-ball to teammate Long Tan, who slid a right-footed shot on the ground to the left of Quakes goalkeeper David Bingham.
Chasing a goal, the Earthquakes reserves (1-1-0, 3 pts.) poured on the pressure following the interval, and finally found their just reward after 77 minutes. Sam Garza received a ball over the top on his right wing, and from a tight angle on the right edge of the six-yard box, took a hard shot that ‘Caps net-minder Brad Knighton could only slap away with his right hand. Anthony Ampaipitakwong was fastest to the loose ball, touching it home on an empty net from three yards for 1-1.
The excitement for the home fans out on a beautiful Easter Sunday afternoon in San Jose was short-lived, however, as within a minute’s time, Vancouver was back on top to stay. Omar Salgado, the first overall selection of the 2011 MLS SuperDraft and an 18-year-old veteran of the U.S. U-20 Men’s National Team, lifted a cross from near the goal line on the left that was met with a header from the middle of the box by Harris into the upper right corner where Bingham could not reach.
Six minutes into the second half, rookie Quakes forward Cesar Diaz Pizarro slammed a shot off the crossbar after chest-trapping a dipping left-sided cross by Brazilian trialist Sullivan Silva. Moments later, Josh Suggs sent Ellis McLoughlin in toward goal with a neat pass, but the second-year Quakes winger was unable to pick out the target at the near post. In the 76th, a fluid combination by Silva, Garza and Diaz Pizarro inside the Vancouver box served as a precursor of the equalizer a minute later.
San Jose out-shot Vancouver on the day, 20-13, including 12-4 in the second stanza, but in the end, was only able to find the one goal.
During a first half that saw more clear chances for the visitors, the Quakes still managed the best opportunity to open the scoring. In the 30th minute, San Jose was awarded a penalty kick out of virtually nothing as Ampaipitakwong’s short pass in the area was contacted by the hand of ‘Caps midfielder Bryce Alderson, drawing the whistle, only for McLoughlin’s spot-kick to travel well high of the crossbar.
Up until that point, it was mostly Vancouver as the threatening side. Tan’s right-footed shot from outside the box rattled the crossbar in the 10th for starters, and was followed a minute later by Bingham barely tipping Harris’ shot from further distance over that same bar. In the 19th, Carlyle Mitchell’s short cross from the right was headed again over the goal by Salgado in the center of the box. Harris chested a ball down for Salgado to shoot wide of the target later in the 34th.
Jason Hernandez, captaining the Quakes for a second straight reserves game, and Suggs, each made strong final challenges to thwart another pair of ‘Caps chances leading toward the only score of the half.
Further offense for San Jose over the first 45 minutes came in the 33rd as Diaz Pizarro’s shot from a narrow angle on the right was saved by Knighton at the near post, and in the 41st, when McLoughlin’s cross from the left found Garza on the right diagonal, with the rookie cutting his defender in before having a left-footed shot saved once more by Knighton, low to his left.
The Earthquakes began the game with Brad Ring, Ike Opara, captain Jason Hernandez and Suggs from right to left along the back line in front of Bingham, Garza and McLoughlin on the wings, Jean-Marc Alexandre in holding midfield, Ampaipitakwong and Silva in front of him, and Diaz Pizarro as a lone striker.
The hosts did not make a substitution, leaving goalkeeper Evan Newton and U-16 players Christian De Luna and Elisama “Eli” Padilla on their bench. The youngsters were fresh off being two of six Earthquakes Youth Development Academy prospects to represent a collective U-16 squad in collaboration with the U.S. Soccer Training Center, in a 5-1 victory over the Davis Legacy in Davis, Calif., on Saturday, with Padilla scoring twice. Suggs, meanwhile, was back on the field with the reserves after having already travelled to Florida as per the club’s loan agreement with the Tampa Bay Rowdies for the second-year pro.
The ‘Caps reserves featured Alderson and Russell Teibert, having completed CONCACAF Olympic qualifying duty with Canada, and center back Michael Boxall, a teammate of Garza’s at UC Santa Barbara in 2010.
The Earthquakes reserves are now idle until their first road match of 2012, at the LA Galaxy on Tuesday, May 8. Kickoff in Carson, Calif., will be 11 a.m.
Reserves: Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2, San Jose Earthquakes 1
April 8, 2012 – Earthquakes Training Facility, San Jose, Calif.
VAN – Long Tan 1 (Atiba Harris 1) 38
SJ – Anthony Ampaipitakwong 1 (Sam Garza 1) 77
VAN – Atiba Harris 1 (Omar Salgado 2) 78
San Jose Earthquakes Reserves – David Bingham, Brad Ring, Jason Hernandez (c), Ike Opara, Josh Suggs, Sam Garza, Jean-Marc Alexandre, Anthony Ampaipitakwong, ^Sullivan Silva, Ellis McLoughlin, Cesar Diaz Pizarro.
Subs not used: Evan Newton, *Elisama Padilla, *Christian De Luna.
Statistics: Shots: 20; Shots on Goal: 8; Saves: 5; Fouls: 20; Corner Kicks: 2; Offside: 3.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC Reserves – Brad Knighton (c), Greg Klazura, Michael Boxall, Carlyle Mitchell, Russell Teibert, Atiba Harris, Matt Watson, Bryce Alderson (**Ben McKendry 77), **Ben Fisk (**Sam Adekugbe 55), Omar Salgado, Long Tan (**Caleb Clarke 68).
Sub not used: **Callum Irving.
Statistics: Shots: 13; Shots on Goal: 7; Saves: 7; Fouls: 14; Corner Kicks: 4; Offside: 1.
*San Jose Earthquakes Academy player
**Whitecaps FC Residency player