Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
Quakes & Kansas City confirm their class
by Ridge Mahoney, September 20th, 2012 2:02AM
Subscribe to Soccer America Confidential

MOST READ
TAGS:  kansas city wizards, mls, san jose earthquakes

MOST COMMENTED

On the same night, the MLS conference leaders showed precisely why they are on top.

Kansas City went into Red Bull Arena, where the home team hadn't lost all season, and thumped the Red Bulls, 2-0, which could have taken over first place in the Eastern Conference with a victory and instead fell five points behind.

After conceding two early goals, New York mustered a few moderate flurries without ever gaining control of the game. The crowd, at 10,286 well below capacity, tried to rouse its team but few players responded with anything exceptional. SKC deserves a lot of credit for that, and bumped up its league-best road mark to 8-4-2 while clearly outclassing an opponent boasting Thierry Henry, Tim Cahill, and a very poor Rafael Marquez.

SKC had arrived in New Jersey in the early morning hours of game day, their scheduled flight on Tuesday delayed for seven hours by bad weather. Yet its players started a lot more alertly than the Red Bulls, who were pushed back from the opening kickoff and conceded goals nine minutes apart by C.J. Sapong and Kei Kamara.

A few hours later, the Earthquakes fell two goals behind the Timbers at home, and unlike the rather tepid response from the Red Bulls, stormed back with a pair of goals by Chris Wondolowski -- his first goals from the run of play in more than two months -- to earn a 2-2 tie. The 9,877 fans in attendance didn't quite fill cozy Buck Shaw Stadium (capacity about 10,500) but they made a lot of noise and at the final whistle had much to celebrate.

That point gave San Jose 57 on the season and preserved a three-point lead over SKC in the race for the Supporters' Shield and, more importantly, the right to host MLS Cup if it should survive the playoffs. The rally also confirmed San Jose's incredible comeback spirit and stamina -- this season it has scored eight goals in second-half stoppage time, well beyond the previous league record of four.

The Red Bulls lacked anyone with the conviction of Wondo, who didn't start the match and arrived onto the field in the 59th minute enraged by a two-goal deficit imposed by Danny Mwanga to lead a typically inspired comeback. Playing up top with twin towers Steven Lenhart and Alan Gordon, who also energized the Quakes as a second-half sub, Wondo took four shots, put all of them on frame, and got two of them home. He has 20 this season, and leads the Golden Boot race by six goals over his nearest pursuers, one of whom plays for New York.

Henry tried to infuse some emotion into the Red Bulls by gestures and barked instructions, but his play didn't exceed that of his teammates, most of whom looked shocked when they fell behind and never really woke up. Subs Kenny Cooper (second on the league ladder with 14 goals) and Sebastien Le Toux did little to liven the attack.

There's plenty more to do for both conference leaders Saturday. The Quakes head north to play Western runner-up Seattle, which on Wednesday carved out a 3-2 defeat of Honduran club Marathon to clinch a spot in the Concacaf Champions' League knockout phase. SKC goes north of the border to play Montreal, which desperately needs a victory to keep its faint playoff hopes from fizzling out completely.

There's still more than a month of season to play and the Sounders and Fire and maybe the Red Bulls and the Galaxy can still have a say in who finishes atop the conferences. Yet in midweek games played a continent apart, the two top dogs answered stiff challenges.



1 comment
  1. I w Nowozeniuk
    commented on: September 20, 2012 at 11:29 a.m.
    Listless effort by NYRB.no motivation, no execution, nada.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Confidential
Struggles of MLS Cup finalists are to be expected for smaller-market teams    
Portland and Columbus defied the odds -- and economic reality -- by reaching the MLS championship ...
Olympic women's soccer: Our winners & losers    
Olympic women's soccer left the taste of what might have been. A USA-Brazil semifinal at Maracana ...
'Cagey' Swedes deserve some credit    
The USA women fell short of the semifinals of a major tournament for the first time ...
'Worst MLS signing' Lampard is tearing it up    
A great run of form earned New York City FC midfielder Frank Lampard Player of the ...
Assessing the middle third -- of the MLS season    
Coaches and executives often speak of dividing a season - much as they do of the ...
Schmid departure starts to clear Sounders' deck for Lagerwey    
Eighteen months after joining the Sounders as president of soccer and general manager, Garth Lagerwey is ...
Toronto FC must rebound after embarrassing defeat for crucial home stand    
After an eight-game road trip to open the season, Toronto FC is in a playoff spot ...
Quakes need to build on stunning victory    
Every struggling team looks for a spark, a turning point, a shift of fortune that transforms ...
MLS Midseason Awards: Villa and the other Kamara are among the leaders    
The six major categories of awards presented each season by MLS run the gamut of experience, ...
Are U.S. women ready for another union fight?    
This should have been a good week for the National Women's Soccer League.
>> Soccer America Confidential Archives