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Early goals carry Quakes past Rapids
by Ridge Mahoney, March 2nd, 2009 7AM
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[MLS PRESEASON] They aren't likely to set any scoring records, but the Earthquakes - who netted a league-lowest 32 goals last year - are hitting the net consistently in preseason while retaining a solid defensive record.

Cam Weaver and Jamil Roberts scored in the first half and keeper Joe Cannon posted another shutout against MLS opposition as San Jose beat Colorado, 2-0, Friday night in its first 2009 match at Buck Shaw Stadium before 3,131 fans.

"I thought that we attacked well tonight and we were quick on the break," said Coach Frank Yallop. "Obviously there was some good and some bad for both sides and both teams were missing some guys. We had a better first half than second half, but overall I was pleased with the effort."

A shaky first half defensively by the Rapids provided the Quakes with several chances, and they did a fair job conjuring up shots on their own. When defender Ugo Ihemelu misplayed a long ball, Ryan Johnson took it to the goal line to hit a cross Weaver headed past goalie Matt Pickens.

Cannon stuffed Colin Clark on a breakaway and another error by Ihemelu let in Johnson again, but Pickens easily saved his shot. Darren Huckerby got in behind the Rapids defense only to hit the post with his shot, and Johnson threatened yet again with a hard blast that Pickens parried.

In first-half stoppage time, Arturo Alvarez drove a free kick into the goalmouth and Roberts' sharp header zipped past Pickens.

Clark capitalized on a San Jose miscue early in the second half; he pounced on the error and with Cannon off his life, attempted to chip the ball over him and sent it wide. Cannon saved a shot from Jacob Peterson to keep Colorado off the scoreboard, and after a wave of subs by both sides a few scuffles broke out in the final minutes. Rapids defender Stephen Keel and midfielder Simon Elliott, who is on trial with San Jose, received cautions in separate incidents.

"Not too many positives tonight, to be quite honest," said Rapids coach Gary Smith said. "I thought San Jose started a lot sharper than us. Maybe it was the early morning flight, or that we've been working very hard, but a lot of the boys were looking very leggy tonight.

"We came with a young group," he said. "We were missing our three most experienced players [Pablo Mastroeni, Cory Gibbs and Conor Casey] which was a choice to leave them behind. We had a 6 a.m. flight this morning, and next we'll be heading down to LA for two games in three days, so I wanted to give them a little bit more down time, a little bit more rest."

Both teams left the Bay Area over the weekend for Southern California, where they play again Monday morning at Loyola Marymount University.

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