San Jose Earthquakes
Founded: 1995 as San Jose Clash
Home Stadium: Buck Shaw Stadium, Santa Clara, CA
Record Since 2000: 83-69-56
All Time Scorer in MLS: Ronald Cerritos (61)
All Time Cups/Shields: 1 MLS Cups, 1 Supporters’ Shield
2008 Record: 8-13-9, 33 pts, 6th in Western Conference
2008 Leading Scorer: Darren Huckerby (6)
2008 Keeper: Joe Cannon (1.27 GAA, 9 Clean Sheets)
Key Player: What’s a Huckerby? Quite simply a winger who puts up goals.
Capsule: San Jose is both a recent expansion team, and one of the most storied teams in league history, as when the Dynamo left for Houston San Jose kept the traditions that the Clash/Earthquakes had earned during their decade in the city. The ‘Quakes had serious offensive issues that they started improving by adding Darren Huckerby with 14 games left in the season, but continued by adding former USL Sounder Cam Weaver and US National Team winger Bobby Convey. San Jose’s stingy defense will be anchored by team captain Nick Garcia and should be stable in year two of the ‘Quakes second iteration. Look to see a rapidly improving team that could threaten for a top playoff spot in 2009.
Further Depth: We are a full 1/6th of the way through the season so I might get a little numbers geeky on you, but first some storylines to follow. For San Jose, you must pay attention to who is playing where. They have too many wing and forward players (sound familiar?) and the team is still trying to unify. With Convey, Huckerby, Weaver, Alvarez and Johnson they should have a potent attack (tied for 4th in the league with Seattle & Colorado). Considering that was their weakness in '08, it would seem their GM did well, right?
Overcompensation. San Jose is 9th in the league for Goals Against and poor Joe Cannon is so busy trying to stop shots the
#4 #2 laundry man (clean sheet winner) in league history is the 16th best keeper by GAA and of keepers with 150 minutes played has faced more shots than any other. In fact that's just Shots on Goal. San Jose allows Cannon to face the barrage, 65 shots against in 5 matches with 6 SOG per match.
This might be a great game for Seattle to rectify its offensive woes. Seattle only has 19 Shots on Goal, which is quite low considering their number of shots, but for every 2.7 they get one to the net. At home, with the great crowd (the sellout was announced a few weeks ago) and good weather. With San Jose this year allowing teams to pepper their backline and keeper this might just be what the doctor ordered.
But before we get too cocky Sounders fans, let's remember. The Rave Green are facing Joe Cannon. The Quakes had a top defense last year (they did lose a guy named Riley). San Jose is as physical (read foul prone) as the other clubs that Seattle has faced.
This will not be a cake walk. There is still the issue of the Freddyain, who starts at LM and what to do with Brad Evans. Glenn Davis is filling in for KC with the pbp this weekend. He's well worth the listen if you aren't one of the lucky 28,000.