Vancouver Whitecaps FC at San Jose Earthquakes 4/7/12

Riding a hot start, the Earthquakes returned home to Buck Shaw Stadium to face Vancouver Whitecaps FC. After a breakdown in their solid yet new defense put them down 1-0, the Quakes scored three in the second half to swamp the visiting Whitecaps. Victor Bernardez

Davide Chiumiento

Matt Watson & Tressor Moreno

My least favorite former US Men's National Team player (no mean feat) Jay DeMerit captains the Whitecaps:

Jay DeMerit

Here DeMerit tries to manhandle (the sum total of his skills) Quakes' striker Chris Wondolowski before the ball arrives... Chris Wondolowski & Jay DeMerit

...then after it arrives... Chris Wondolowski & Jay DeMerit

...oops... Chris Wondolowski & Jay DeMerit

Jon Busch makes a nice diving save:

Jon Busch

Marvin Chavez

Jay DeMerit & Alan Gordon

After showing promise after the Earthquakes traded for him in 2011, Alan Gordon's season ended with an injury. His first game back at Buck Shaw produced the winning goal:

Alan Gordon

Alan Gordon

Alan Gordon

The Quakes are off to a 4-1 start, their best in team history. I'm away for the next home game, so I won't see them again until their May 2nd match against D.C. United.

Mexico vs Senegal 3/17/12

The U-23 teams full of Olympic hopefuls from Mexico and Senegal faced off at AT&T Park in San Francisco on St. Patrick's Day. While the score was 2-1 with all goals coming on penalty kicks, Mexico owned the match while Senegal struggled for possession and chances. Hector Herrera & Souleymane Cisse

Jeronimo Amione

Hadj Sady El GueÌye

Hector Herrera & Hadj Sady El Gue€ye

Saliou Ciss, Souleymane Cisse & Elias Bazakos

Mexico fans

Arthur Yannick Gomisv & Javier Aquino

Victor Bindia

Ousmane Mane

Hector Herrera

Liborio Sanchez

Israel Jimenez & Emile Paul Tendeng

Miguel Ponce & Souleymane Cisse

Ousseynou Boye

Houston Dynamo at San Jose Earthquakes 3/17/12

In an attempt to get some exposure outside of San Jose, the Earthquakes gave up their home field advantage (the usually packed Buck Shaw Stadium) for a sparse AT&T Park in San Francisco on St. Patrick's Day. The only goal of the match came in the 14th minute when Earthquakes goalkeeper Jon Busch and defender Victor Bernardez collided with Dynamo forward Brian Ching at the edge of the San Jose six-yard box. On a play that easily could have been a no-call, referee Chris Penso awarded the Dynamo a penalty kick.

Jon Busch, Victor Bernardez, & Brian Ching

Victor Bernardez & Brian Ching

Steven Beitashour, Jon Busch, Victor Bernardez & Chris Wondolowski

Brad Davis

The game was hard-fought, but the Quakes just couldn't get anything going for most of the game, and then started going for broke far too late.

Will Bruin & Steven Beitashour

Khari Stephenson & Colin Clark

San Jose is going to have to do something about Steven Lenhart, who picked up his second yellow card in the Quakes' first two games. Obviously Lenhart's job is to be physical, win balls, and lay them off for Wondolowski. But Lenhart isn't winning balls, and he seems more intent on colliding with opposing players than serving Wondolowski.

Steven Lenhart & Geoff Cameron

Steven Lenhart

Houston committed a few fouls at the edge of their own box late in the game, but made sure not to concede a penalty kick on any of them.

Shea Salinas & Andre Hainault

Chris Wondolowski & Jermaine Taylor

Chris Wondolowski

The Earthquakes need to get their best 11 on the field at the same time, and it's possible they will have to change formations to get it right...

Ramiro Corrales

Shea Salinas

New England Revolution at San Jose Earthquakes 3/10/12

After an off-season that saw the departure of a few longtime players, the San Jose Earthquakes kicked off the MLS regular season with several new faces they hope will help recreate the success for the 2010 season and not the disappointment of 2011. Jon Busch

My reflexes were tested early as a Revolution cross came into the box:

Jon Busch & Shalrie Joseph

Victor Bernardez adds a bit of toughness to the Quakes' back line:

Victor Bernardez & Blake Brettschneider

Marvin Chavez looks to provide a burst of speed to the Quakes' midfield:

Marvin Chavez

Rafael Baca came to San Jose in a mid-season trade last year, and displayed great ball skills on the flank:

Rafael Baca

After his hot start last year, I fully expected Simon Dawkins to return to Tottenham Hotspur, but injuries delayed his plans, and his loan deal was extended another year:

Simon Dawkins

After starting his professional career with San Jose, Shea Salinas bounced around in two successive expansion drafts, before finding his way home in an offseason trade:

Kevin Alston & Shea Salinas

Steven Lenhart is back from a long leave of absence, gooning it up but creating a few chances as well:

Kevin Alston & Steven Lenhart

I was pleasantly surprised to see that Ramiro Corrales was back after being moved around a lot last year:

Ramiro Corrales

Cal grad A.J. Soares didn't last the full 90, but got off a nice header off a corner kick:

A.J. Soares

The Quakes started out with a 1-0 win over the Revolution, but they need to gel quickly to avoid the lull they suffered last year.

Manchester City vs Club America

With Manchester City's Carlos Tevez on Copa America duty with Argentina, and Club America parting ways with a number of their stars including keeper Memo Ochoa, a bit of the shine was off the San Francisco leg of the World Football Challenge at AT&T Park. Just over 11,000 fans showed up for the match that more substitutions than quality play. As a Holland Fan, it was fun to watch Nigel de Jong play, wondering if he might cave someone else's chest in, but in the end, he just played holding midfield for a half and then walked around the park with a Giants hat on.

Nigel de Jong

England international Shaun Wright-Phillips was really the only player working at full speed, and added a goal and a bunch of legitimate chances in his half of playing time.

Shaun Wright-Phillips

Shaun Wright-Phillips & Adolfo Rosinei

Edgar Castillo & Shaun Wright-Phillips

Armando Navarrete picked up where Ochoa left off, long hair and a day-glo kit:

Armando Navarrete

Edin Dzeko

The second half saw wholesale changes to both lineups, including an out-of-shape looking Ivory Coast international Yaya Toure, who nonetheless created a couple of scoring chances that were botched buy Man City subs.

Yaya Toure

Michah Richards & Erik Pimentel

Vladimir Weiss

Joaquin Martinez & Aleksander Kolarov

It's a bit much to expect full-on competition from club sides exactly in the middle of their off-season, but it's possible that fans (as evidenced by the 11,000 in attendance) have caught on to the fact that while these sides are wearing the colors, they aren't really the same clubs they watch on TV...then again, I had the option to shoot bull riding in Red Bluff, and I stayed in town to shoot this.

New York Red Bulls at San Jose Earthquakes 7/2/11

The budding rivalry between the San Jose Earthquakes and the New York Red Bulls apparently can not be contained by Buck Shaw stadium anymore, so this year the match was moved to Stanford Stadium, so that an announced crown of 40,000+ could watch. Those who attended in the hopes of seeing Thierry Henry or Rafa Marquez (both out with injuries) had to settle for new USMNT striker Juan Agudelo:

Juan Agudelo - Red Bulls at Earthquakes

Juan Agudelo - Red Bulls at Earthquakes

The Red Bulls scored quickly on a seventh-minute strike from Joel Lindpere:

Joel Lindpere - Red Bulls at Earthquakes

Agudelo made some nice runs, but was largely contained by some physical defending by Jason Hernandez:

Juan Agudelo & Jason Hernandez - Red Bulls at Earthquakes

Juan Agudelo & Jason Hernandez - Red Bulls at Earthquakes

Mehdi Ballouchy & Jason Hernandez - Red Bulls at Earthquakes

Shortly after, Red Bulls keeper Bouna Coundoul blew a corner kick and Khari Stephenson was there to make him pay:

Khari Stephenson - Red Bulls at Earthquakes

The game turned into a battle, with hard fouls, cheap shots, and arguments:

Roy Miller & Edvin Jurisevic - Red Bulls at Earthquakes

Simon Dawkins & Roy Miller - Red Bulls at Earthquakes

Wondolowski had a chance to put the Quakes up, but clanged a shot off the post:

Chris Wondolowski - Red Bulls at Earthquakes

Then in the 68th minute, Steven Lenhart knocked in a header to change the momentum:

Steven Lenhart - Red Bulls at Earthquakes

Steven Lenhart - Red Bulls at Earthquakes

Steven Lenhart & Chris Wondolowski - Red Bulls at Earthquakes

It looked like that was going to be the match, but at the far end, Lindpere bounced a header off of a Quakes defender to steal a road tie. Then there were fireworks, and I made a quick video:

Fireworks Over Stanford Stadium from Matt Cohen on Vimeo.