It was all about the defense this weekend at Buck Shaw as the Quakes locked down Sounders FC to win a 1-0 match in front of a capacity crowd.
I was super impressed with the back line of Nana Attakora, Jason Hernandez, Ty Harden, and Dan Gargan. This offseason might not have been the flashiest, but the depth we added is paying off right now. John Doyle and Frank Yallop's vision and execution to add the right players to enable us to weather some injuries and added matches has been critical to our early season success. It is a marathon of a season, especially with CONCACAF Champions League, and having so many great options on the back line is encouraging.
I thought that Jon Busch played one of his best matches for the Quakes. He had some huge saves and, as always, great leadership directing the back line.
People may wonder how Jon does it. Well, there are a couple of keys to his success. First, his gloves are awesome. HPG’s gear is a difference maker. If you are a goalkeeper, I would pick them up here: www.hpgoalkeeping.com.
Secondly, with the assistance of our top-notch goalkeeper coach Jason Batty, he has implemented a rigorous training regimen. Check out some of the footage from last week. We brought in a specialist to test Jon on PKs.
It was an absolutely electric atmosphere at Buck Shaw. The competing supporters groups, the intensity of a one-goal match, and the unreal Chris Wondowloski goal and celebration all elevated the experience to almost playoff levels of passion.
One question I got several times was how the new stadium will feel as a fan. Some folks were concerned that we would lose some of the intensity with a larger venue.
Well, do not fear. The stadium has been designed with intensity and excitement in mind. We have one of the best and closet seating bowls in all of American sport. Our seats have a higher rake than many other stadiums, allowing more fans to be on top of the action.
The seats at the first of the main grandstand are actually only 35 feet to the touchline. That is closer than the front rows in Houston and The Home Depot Center (CLICK FOR COMPARISONS). Also, the roof will capture and direct the sound like many of the famous stands in England like Fulham's Hammersmith End at the historic Craven Cottage or the Ellerslie Road Stand at Queen's Park Rangers' 18,000 seat Loftus Road.
This weekend we have a tough away match in Houston against the Dynamo. Time to get some revenge from last years’ 1-0 defeat at ATT Park on St. Paddy's day. They’re currently riding a 33-game unbeaten streak in all competitions at home so it would be great to snap that one. The match will be broadcast on CSN Plus at 5:30 p.m. PT so be sure to tune in.