So far, it’s been a win-Wynne situation for the Earthquakes.
The Quakes (2-1-0) will visit the New England Revolution (0-2-1) on Saturday fresh off back-to-back wins over the Seattle Sounders FC and Chicago Fire.
Plus, newcomer Marvell Wynne has been a force at right back and an unsung hero in the team’s rousing start under new coach Dominic Kinnear.
The speedy Wynne, a nine-year MLS veteran who helped the Colorado Rapids win the 2011 MLS Cup, made a clutch shoulder-to-shoulder challenge in the 78th minute to deny Fire Designated Player David Accam.
“Marvell’s had a really good season so far,” Kinnear said. “He’s going up against some good players. You think about guys like Lamar Neagle, David Accam, Fabian Castillo and others. There’s some really good wide players in this league, and I think Marvell’s off to a real good start.”
While Kinnear sorts out the deep roster, extra-effort goals, speed, set pieces and manning up on defense could carry the day. All of these aspects travel well as the Sounders learned in a humbling 3-2 loss at CenturyLink Field on March 14. Of course, Chris Wondolowski’s two goals, along with a boffo bender by Innocent Emeghara, provided the exclamation points.
The Quakes followed that special Western Conference road triumph by extinguishing the Fire 2-1 in their inaugural game at breathtaking Avaya Stadium.
Expect the artistic side of attacking soccer, or midfield flow, to improve over time. For now, there’s a Wynne-ing feeling in the organization and the fan base.
“Everything’s going good right now,” Kinnear said. “Our positioning has been really good. Our whole team defending has been good too; we’re getting in good spots and we’re a hard team to break down.”
Kinnear is also enjoying his players’ competitive nature – a forte of his teams throughout the years. Extra-effort goals by rookie Fatai Alashe, who was called up for the under-23 national team this week, and pushed-up defender Ty Harden made the difference against Chicago. Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi, back from an injury, is expected to step in for Alashe this week.
Kinnear thought the first goal by Alashe in the fifth minute, in a pinball sequence beginning with a Matias Perez Garcia corner kick, was representative of the “energy and attitude” the team showed for 90 minutes.
Spring forward: The Quakes are sure to relish an ‘Avaya April.’ After their trek to Gillette Stadium, they will play two in a row, and three of their next four, at home.
Hungry Revs: The 2014 MLS Cup runner-up Revs (0-2-1), goal-less this season, will surely have extra motivation against the visiting Quakes.
“They’re a good team,” Kinnear said of New England. “Their record, obviously, does not show the quality they have there.”
Respected Revs coach Jay Heaps has said the “on-field chemistry” is coming along. New England is not lacking for effort, though.
“Any time you go against a team coached by Jay, they are going to be organized and determined to win,” Kinnear said.
U.S. national team ace Jermaine Jones, who sparked the Revs to a 9-1-2 run last season, rejoined his teammates this week after being out following sports hernia surgery. But his return to game action could take at least another week. Kevin Alston and Teal Bunbury are also rounding into form off injuries. Dealing with spacing issues, the Revs need to shoot more; they entered the week with just 28 shots total.