It was deja vu all over again last weekend at Buck Shaw Stadium. Once again, the courageous Steven Lenhart whipped a sold out crowd into a frenzy with a stoppage-time goal to earn the Quakes a hard fought win against Western Conference rival, Seattle Sounders FC.
I was amazed how high Lenny got in the air to win the header amongst nine Seattle players who all knew that the ball was coming his way. I think what impressed me the most and what has carried us all year was that, in spite of the gut wrenching equalizer that Seattle dropped on us in the 92nd minute, we never gave up.
Right after their goal, Shea Salinas was like a rocket down the sidelines and forced the first of two critical corner kicks that ended up as the foundation for Lenhart’s winner. All of the players knew that we could win. And we did. Goonies Never Say Die.
Seattle has become an increasingly tense rival to the Quakes. The physical US Open Cup match at Kezar Stadium along with our two MLS wins this season in is fueling the Heritage Cup rivalry. With the long history of these two franchises, I’m happy to see the passion the players have brought to the pitch in what is a budding derby. We all know that the Galaxy is our main rival, but what are the other teams that folks think are current or potential rivals to the Quakes? Send me a tweet @quakesprez or an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your feedback. I am curious to know what people think about the Heritage Cup and other potential derbies.
In other very exciting news, Chris Wondolowski, Steven Beitashour and Alan Gordon were all named to the US Men's National Team roster for the friendly this Wednesday at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City (5 p.m. PT / ESPN2, Univision). I was thrilled to see Wondo selected again and would love to see him break through and score his first international goal. Also, it would be great to see Beita and Flash Gordon earn their first career caps.
For Steven, there is no doubt that his exemplary performance this season with the Quakes and in front of USMNT coach Jurgen Klinsmann at the MLS AT&T All-Star Game against Chelsea last month helped make the difference. Having three players called to the match is a testament to the quality of the team this year as well as the unbelievable job our coaching staff has done in bringing up American talent. One of our missions as an organization and a league is to support US Soccer and its effort to not only show well in but win the World Cup. Homegrown American players like Wondo, Beita and Gordon are the key to making the dream of a World Cup title a reality.
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