SAN JOSE, Calif. – The San Jose Earthquakes earned a 2-1 victory over Vancouver Whitecaps FC in their 2023 home opener in front of a sellout crowd at PayPal Park on Saturday night. San Jose scored two second-half goals to erase an early deficit.
Vancouver took an early lead through Alessandro Schöp in the 17th minute and maintained the one-goal advantage into the second half. San Jose equalized in the 68th minute on a header by Jeremy Ebobisse, his second goal in as many games this season. As the Quakes pushed for the go-ahead goal, the breakthrough finally came in the 77th minute on a near-post strike by defender Carlos Akapo, the first of his MLS career.
The Earthquakes will remain at home to face the Colorado Rapids on Saturday, March 11. The match will kick off from PayPal Park at 7:30 p.m. PT and will be streamed globally on MLS Season Pass (Apple TV), as well as on local radio via 810 AM The Spread (English) and 1370 KZSF (Spanish).
The Earthquakes currently hold a 1-1-0 record (3 pts.) during the 2023 MLS regular season.
San Jose is now 10-10-12 all-time vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC, including a 6-1-8 record at home.
Forward Jeremy Ebobisse scored his second goal of the season and 46th goal of his MLS career. Ebobisse has now tied Shea Salinas, Steven Lenhart, and Jeff Baicher for ninth most goals in club history (20). Ebobisse also tallied an assist on Akapo’s goal. It marked his first assist of the season and 13th of his MLS career.
Midfielder Jamiro Monteiro tallied an assist on Ebobisse’s goal. It marked his first assist of the season and 29th of his MLS career.
Midfielder Jackson Yueill tallied an assist on Ebobisse’s goal. It marked his first assist of the season and 13th of his MLS career. He also made his 149th MLS appearance for San Jose, 10th most in club history.
Defender Carlos Akapo scored his first goal of the season and of his MLS career.
Forward Cristian Espinoza tallied an assist on Carlos Akapo’s goal. It marked his second assist of the season and 46th of his MLS career. He is now just four assists away from tying Shea Salinas for the club’s all-time record (50).
Midfielder Carlos Gruezo made his 100th MLS appearance. Gruezo made 98 appearances for FC Dallas during 2016-2019.
2023 MLS Regular Season
San Jose Earthquakes 2 – 1 Vancouver Whitecaps FC
Saturday, March 4, 2023 – PayPal Park in San Jose, Calif.
Attendance: 18,000 (sellout)
VAN (1-0) – Alessandro Schöpf (Julian Gressel) 17’
SJ – (1-1) Jeremy Ebobisse (Jamiro Monteiro, Jackson Yueill) 68’
SJ – (2-1) Carlos Akapo (Christian Espinoza, Jeremy Ebobisse) 77’
VAN – Ranko Veselinović (caution) 36’
VAN – Andrés Cubas (caution) 41’
SJ – Jackson Yueill (caution) 58’
VAN – Luis Martins (caution) 68’
VAN – Alessandro Schöpf (caution) 69’
SJ – Cristian Espinoza (caution) 83’
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES: Daniel; Miguel Trauco (Carlos Akapo 63’), Rodrigues, Jonathan Mensah, Paul Marie; Jamiro Monteiro, Carlos Gruezo, Jackson Yueill ©; Cade Cowell (Benji Kikanović 78’), Jeremy Ebobisse, Cristian Espinoza.
Substitutes not used: Ousseni Bouda, JT Marcinkowski (GK), Daniel Munie, Tommy Thompson, Tanner Beason, Jack Skahan, Michael Baldisimo.
SHOTS: 20; SHOTS ON GOAL: 6; FOULS: 8; CORNER KICKS: 12; SAVES: 1
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC: Yohei Takaoka; Javain Brown, Ranko Veselinović, Mathías Laborda, Luís Martins; Julian Gressel (Russel Teibert 65’), Andrés Cubas, Alessandro Schöpf (Sebastian Berhalter 76’), Pedro Vite (Cristian Dájome 65’), Ryan Gauld ©; Brian White (Sergio Cordova 55’).
Substitutes not used: Thomas Hasal (GK), Karifa Yao, Tristan Blackman, Ali Ahmed, Ryan Raposo.
SHOTS: 7; SHOTS ON GOAL: 2; FOULS: 10; CORNER KICKS: 6; SAVES: 4
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES HEAD COACH LUCHI GONZALEZ
On the team’s victory against Vancouver Whitecaps FC:
“Last week we learned multiple lessons and I said it after the game last week. I am proud of the group and our performance. We didn’t sustain for the 90-plus minutes but overall, I thought we went there and pushed the game. It just didn’t go our way unfortunately by the end, but we’re working well and we’re confident in how we’re doing things and it’s about moving forward. So, I thought the boy’s showed that overall today. In the beginning, Vancouver had a compact block and made it difficult to play between lines. We got picked off and we conceded an offensive transition by Vancouver. Not the way we wanted to start but we stayed calm. I am proud of the group for taking it one moment at a time. Being present one at a time. We talked at half about where else we can break lines and find advantages if it’s difficult through the middle because of the compactness and that we needed to find other spaces to hurt them in terms of in behind or diagonals and push with flank play. So, I thought our players adapted to that and pushed the game, got pressure on the ball to force them to play direct. Got on the ball and possess and create and we didn’t stop believing. Credit to the guys to not stop, to not give up, to be relentless in their attitudes, their beliefs, their energy, their intensity. We have to be really proud of them. And for us to come back down one and win 2-1 shows character. It will be a good reference point for us moving forward for the rest of the season.”
On the team’s first-half performance
“I think there’s nerves, excitement, maybe over excitement and playing at home. We had a great turn out with our fanbase. We really felt them. Their energy was amazing and contagious, and I think it helped us turn the game around. But I alluded to the tactical adjustment we needed to make. Vancouver was very compact, didn’t allow passes between the lines. We got stripped with a few balls between lines and I’ll give credit to Vancouver. We want to break lines. We want to be able to play through teams and around teams and over teams. But we got caught a few times and that’s something we have to sharpen up. We opened up in transition and it cost us a goal. I felt we weren’t good enough in second balls. We weren’t winning enough second balls from their direct balls and from our own. That was an adjustment we needed to improve in the second half if we were going to get more pressure on the ball. Winning more second balls, getting possession, and creating and generating more opportunities to score. So, that cycle is connected. We have to keep working. The boys found a way. Even though you say what you say about the first half, tactically we weren’t where we wanted to be, we still created and generated very good opportunities to score. So, that’s good to know. We can be playing at our best or not and we can still be a dangerous team.”
On the team’s preparation for tonight’s game:
“Set pieces are game changers and we know that. Unfortunately, in Atlanta, it didn’t bounce our way in terms of how we defended set pieces. We know the importance of set pieces. We think we have a team that can defend well and respond. Like I said from last week’s game to this one. And also, be a threat offensively. Our staff works really hard, and they care a lot about the details and how we want to attack and defend set pieces and they did make a difference for us tonight.”
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES DEFENDER JONATHAN MENSAH
On the differences in the second half that led to the comeback victory:
“I believe the sense of urgency changed. Of course, we could’ve started better, but being a goal down you need to do anything you can to come back and win the game. We sensed it right away that we needed to change gears and we did.”
On what the focus in training was ahead of tonight’s game:
“I believe that every day we go to practice, we just want to improve, we just want to get better individually and collectively, and that’s what we’ve been doing. It was a tough loss on the road in the first game of the season, so we needed to get the first one at home. We’ve been working really hard, and of course it has been showing on the field, so we just need to continue to work and improve.”
On his chemistry with defender Rodrigues and midfielder Carlos Gruezo:
“It comes down to having the understanding with not just myself and Rodrigo [Rodrigues], but with the whole back line and Carlos [Gruezo] in front of us, making sure that we communicate early, making sure we are aware of where the strikers are, and helping each other. We cannot defend one-on-one throughout the game, but we need to do collective defending, and we have done a great job of minimizing the chances that the other team creates. We are two games into the season, so we are just going to continue to work and understand each other better.”
On how he feels after winning in front of a sellout home crowd:
“We took all the lessons from the Atlanta game. Coming back home and playing in front of our fans, we just wanted to win, and that is what we did tonight. Like I said earlier, we are going to keep working. This team is an ambitious team and young group of guys that are eager and hungry to succeed. So, we are going to continue to work and always give everything we have on the field.”