Quakes Look Ahead to Home Opener After Win in Seattle

After an amazing night in the Emerald City, the Earthquakes are eager to christen their own jewel, Avaya Stadium.

The Quakes set the tone with a scintillating 3-2 triumph over Seattle Sounders FC, despite playing a man down over the final 38 minutes at rocking CenturyLink Field.

Talk about a primer for Sunday’s inaugural game against the Chicago Fire.

“It could not have been a better lead-in to this coming weekend,” Quakes President Dave Kaval said. “It’s unbelievable.”

Consider the Seattle game a signature win for new coach Dominic Kinnear. It also marked the Quakes’ first-ever game with three designated players starting together: Chris Wondolowski, Innocent Emeghara and Matias Perez Garcia.

"I'm really happy for the guys,” Kinnear said. “I thought it was a great performance by us. A lot of things were stacked against us -- goal in the first minute and then a red card. I thought we played particularly well, scored some real good goals, took advantage of some mistakes and really happy with three points. It's a tough place to play, and I thought we showed a lot of bravery in winning the game."

Wondolowski scored his MLS-leading eighth and ninth career goals against Seattle, and Emeghara, in his first start, showed power, speed and first-class confidence on the ball. He scored what proved to be the clincher in the 70th minute with a bender into the corner off an assist from Adam Jahn, making it 3-1.

"I'm very thankful and I'm very happy that I was able to score in my first start,” Emeghara said. “The most important thing is we got the win even though we were playing a man down.”

Basking in the team’s revamped attack, Perez Garcia found seams in the defense and nearly scored with a curving shot after creating space. He was replaced by defender Ty Harden in the 57th minute as the Quakes beefed up the back line playing 10 against 11.

Rookie midfielder Fatai Alashe, the No. 4 overall pick in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft, went the distance in his first start and made a positive impact.

Goalkeeper David Bingham was fully engaged for 90 minutes, making seven clutch saves and fearlessly coming off his line.

"He's a good goalkeeper and he's getting some more games, getting some more confidence,” Kinnear said of Bingham, the former Cal keeper. “Saw a lot of action tonight. A couple times he came out and caught the ball, relieved pressure, and that's what you need sometimes when you're under pressure like that.”

Defender Marvell Wynne gave a noteworthy two-way effort, including assisting Wondolowski’s first goal, which tied it 1-1 in the 13th minute, with a quick burst and cross from the right side.
Wondolowski called it a great “team win” in a tough environment. He praised the resiliency of his teammates.

“We have guys like Innocent, who was kind of playing out of position at left mid, but he was working his tail off to track back and defend, while still getting forward as well,” Wondolowski said. “Subs came in and were doing a lot of the dirty work and that helped drive us until the end.”

Now the Quakes’ “drive” will be on display in a cozy home venue.

They couldn’t have scripted it any better.

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