Quakes victorious at home, Espinoza breaks all-time club assist record
SAN JOSE, Calif. – The San Jose Earthquakes defeated Seattle Sounders FC 1-0 on Wednesday night at PayPal Park. A goal and record-breaking assist from Cristian Espinoza helped the Quakes earn three points at home and win the 2023 Heritage Cup. The Quakes opened the scoring in the 19th minute on a penalty kick from forward Cristian Espinoza. Jeremy Ebobisse was brought down in the box by the Seattle defense before Espinoza fired a shot into the bottom left corner to take the lead. Forward Jack Skahan almost doubled the lead in the second half, but his one-time volley in the box was ruled offside. San Jose eventually found their second goal in the 65th minute from defender Miguel Trauco, who struck a full volley from outside the box past Seattle goalkeeper Stefan Cleveland. Espinoza tallied the assist on Trauco’s goal and is now the all-time assist leader for the Quakes (51), passing club legend Shea Salinas. The Earthquakes will take a break from MLS league play and prepare for the inaugural Leagues Cup tournament. The Quakes will open the tournament on the road against the Portland Timbers on Saturday, July 22. Kickoff from Providence Park in Portland, Oregon, is slated for 7:00 p.m. PT and will be streamed globally on MLS Season Pass on the Apple TV app, FS1 and Univision.
GAME NOTES The Earthquakes now hold an 8-7-8 record (32 pts.) during the 2023 MLS regular season and currently sit in fifth place in the 14-team Western Conference.San Jose currently holds a 14-15-9 record against Seattle, including a 6-5-5 record at home.With tonight’s win, the Quakes earned their second win of the season against the Sounders to claim the Heritage Cup for the second year in a row. The Heritage Cup is an annual competition between the two teams with North American Soccer League (NASL) heritage, taking place across both regular season matches. The Earthquakes have only lost once in their last five matches against Seattle and have not lost to their Pacific Northwest rival at home since May 12, 2021. San Jose have only lost once in 12 home matches this season (7-1-4). Forward Cristian Espinoza scored his 11th goal of the season and 26th of his MLS career. Espinoza has now successfully converted nine consecutive penalty kicks and has made nine of ten overall during his MLS career. He is now tied for the fifth most goals in Quakes history with Vako. Espinoza, who tallied his 51st MLS career assist on Trauco’s goal, now holds the all-time record for most assists in Quakes history.Defender Miguel Trauco scored his third goal of the season and of his MLS career. Goalkeeper JT Marcinkowski earned his fourth shutout of the season and 18th of his MLS career. Midfielder Tommy Thompson made his 200th career appearance for the Quakes, entering as a sub in the 85th minute. He is the fourth player to reach that milestone in team history.
MATCH INFORMATION2023 MLS Regular Season San Jose Earthquakes 2 – 0 Seattle Sounders FC Wednesday, July 12, 2023 – PayPal Park, San Jose, Calif. Attendance: 13,577 Man of the Match: Cristian Espinoza
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES: JT Marcinkowski; Paul Marie (Benji Kikanovic 90+1’), Tanner Beason, Rodrigues, Carlos Akapo; Miguel Trauco, Carlos Gruezo, Judson (Cam Cilley 90+3’), Jack Skahan (Tommy Thompson 85’), Jeremy Ebobisse (Ousseni Bouda 90+3’), Cristian Espinoza (C).
Substitutes not used: Emi Ochoa (GK), Jonathan Mensah, Daniel Munie, Will Richmond, Niko Tsakiris.
On the team building strong performances and momentum: “We started the game [last week] really well against LAFC. The game planning was really good, and the guys were executing. Tonight, we started similar in terms of our principles. We were trying to build pressure and win the ball and attack, but it was different also. We have to be ready to tweak each game and moment based on what’s available. What I want to grab are the things that have helped us compete. I feel like we have built momentum in a positive way in the past few weeks in terms of competing and responding. You just feel the guys are always ready to respond and compete, and I am proud to coach them. Those are the things we want to do with energy, enthusiasm, and intensity.”
On preparing for the inaugural Leagues Cup tournament: “We’ll work in a positive way to get everyone full force. We want to approach Leagues Cup with as many healthy guys as possible. We are taking the next steps against very good opponents, which are going to be Portland [Timbers] and Tigres [UNAL]. We’re excited to have a little time off with family and friends to recharge our batteries, and then get back to work next week.”
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES FORWARD CRISTIAN ESPINOZA
On seeing how far he has come since first joining the club: “I remember when I arrived here, I was very excited to play [at San Jose] and to play in the MLS, and to have this experience. To be honest, I didn’t expect what would happen [breaking the club assist record]. I am really happy with this moment and with everything that has happened before. I am very thankful for my teammates.”
On what this season means to him being a record breaker and an all-star: “It makes me feel very happy because I can see all the effort and sacrifices that I made in every single training session since I arrived here paying off now. At the same time, I try to keep the focus on trying to help the team. I think that is the most important thing for me.”
MATCH RECAP: Earthquakes 1, Seattle Sounders FC 3 Quakes’ winning streak snapped at two SAN JOSE, Calif. – The San Jose Earthquakes fell to Seattle Sounders FC 3-1 on Wednesday night at PayPal Park. The defeat snaps San Jose’s two-game winning streak. Sounders FC took the lead in the 25th minute. Cristian Roldan played a pass to Raul Ruidiaz at the top of the box. He cut from his right foot onto his left foot and took a low shot out of the reach of goalkeeper JT Marcinkowski. Ruidiaz doubled Seattle’s advantage in the 42nd minute, converting a penalty kick earned by Roldan moments earlier. Seattle then added a third goal in the 49th minute, with Roldan finishing off a lateral pass from Jimmy Medranda. San Jose pulled one back just two minutes later when a cross by Marcos Lopez was redirected goalward by defender Shane O’Neill for an own goal. The Earthquakes will now travel to Canada to face Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Saturday, Oct. 2. Saturday’s match will kick off from BC Place at 7:00 p.m. PT and will be aired on NBC Sports California Plus, KNBR 1050 and 1370 KZSF.
GAME NOTES The Earthquakes now hold an 8-10-9 record (33 pts.) during the 2021 MLS regular season and are currently in 10th place in the Western Conference, just four points below the playoff line. San Jose is now 11-15-8 all-time vs. Seattle, including a 5-5-5 record at home. Rookie forward Benji Kikanovic made his third-straight start, playing 90 minutes. Midfielder Jack Skahan made his first appearance since July 24 vs. Houston Dynamo FC.
MATCH INFORMATION MLS Regular SeasonSan Jose Earthquakes 1 – 3 Seattle Sounders FCSept. 29, 2021 – PayPal Park in San Jose, Calif.Attendance: 11,361
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES: JT Marcinkowski; Marcos Lopez, Nathan, Oswaldo Alanis (Cade Cowell 46), Judson (Luciano Abecasis 55); Shea Salinas (Andy Rios 54), Eric Remedi, Jackson Yueill, Carlos Fierro (Chris Wondolowski 54), Chofis (Jack Skahan 69); Benji Kikanovic. Substitutes not used: Jacob Akanyirige, Paul Marie, Tommy Thompson, Daniel Vega.
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES HEAD COACH MATIAS ALMEYDA On the game plan for tonight’s match:“It was a different game plan because Seattle played differently. It was different because we had players that were out. It was different because back then we had few players available, and we had Florian Jungwirth in the middle of the field. But as I always say, each game and every moment is different.” On Sounders FC containing San Jose’s offense:“I think we made mistakes on the way through. The game plan was different, and we intended to take away their game, how they play in between the lines. Once we recovered the ball, we wanted to play through the outside, not through the middle. That’s why we had Benji Kikanovic as a striker, Chofis was playing free, and we had Shea Salinas and Carlos Fierro playing on the outside. From that point of view, we should have avoided passes through the middle and in between our lines. That would have allowed us to have a free man in the back. Knowing the power that Seattle has, we couldn’t counteract their individual and collective parts. Their goals resulted from our turnovers, and a team like Seattle puts them away.” On Seattle’s goals:“I think they came from the virtue of the opponent, but we also made mistakes on defense. The first mistake was allowing them to receive the ball in dangerous parts of the field. We hurt ourselves the most when we have the ball and give it away instead of passing it to a teammate. They took advantage of our mistakes. I’ve said all week that players like Raul Ruidíaz don’t forgive. Players like Cristian Roldan have a lot of mobility and will move into a position to score. We discussed things that could have been avoided but we have to give credit to the virtue of these players.”
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES FORWARD CHRIS WONDOLOWSKI On what went wrong in the game plan:“I think that we compounded our mistakes and I mean that by saying Seattle is such a tough opponent and you need to be able to move them side to side with possession. You need to be able to wear them down and also be able to try to expand them and so that you can take out pockets in their organization and we weren’t able to do that. They pressed very high. They did a great job of sending their wing backs up on us and we were missing passes that we normally make and when we miss those passes, it kind of compounds and then we were on our back foot. We were defending a little bit deeper and then we’re not able to trigger our press in the right area of the field and then again when you’re not able to do that, we’re a step late. When we’re not doing it at the right place or at the right time, we’re a step late, against Seattle when given that time can tear you apart.” On why the team appeared indecisive in attack:“Yeah, when we’re unable to keep a steady possession then we are unable to send our wing backs and send our outside backs forward unless we have that secure possession and when we don’t have those guys coming forward, we end up isolating ourselves way too much. Leaving ourselves one on one or in a lot of cases especially against Seattle 1v2. They do a great job especially with their back three. That’s one of their best traits is they’re able to push out and those three center backs do such a great job whether they’re following a number 10 or a number 9 into the space both behind or in front. I think that’s what they do best, closing down that space and so when we’re unable to keep that possession, secure that possession, it really hurts us and it puts us in some precarious positions.” On how this result affects the team’s confidence:“It hurts in the sense that it’s at home. We feel extremely confident that when we are at home that we need to pick up points and it doesn’t matter the opponent. That being said, you look at the other results, today it didn’t do us too much damage, but that being said it would’ve been a perfect day to move up the table. So, we’re still outside looking in, but we have a huge one against Vancouver on Saturday and if and when we pick up three points there, we can really start to get a move in. The faith hasn’t wavered one bit in the locker room and we still feel confident. We feel that we can do a lot of great things in these seven games and really start clicking.”
Quakes snap three-game winning streak, host Portland on Saturday
SAN JOSE, Calif. – The San Jose Earthquakes fell to Seattle Sounders FC 1-0 on Wednesday night at PayPal Park. The result snaps the Quakes’ three-match winning streak but sees them remain in second place in the Western Conference.
Seattle took the lead in the 18th minute when a short clearance fell to Cristian Roldan, who would take a left-footed shot and send it past JT Marcinkowski. It would be Seattle’s only shot on goal during the match.
The back-and-forth contest saw a dramatic ending when Sounders FC goalkeeper Stefan Frei was injured late, forcing midfielder Alex Roldan to replace him. Despite a flurry of chances, and five shots on goal in the second half, San Jose could not find the equalizer.
GAME NOTES The Earthquakes now hold a 3-2-0 record (9 pts.) during the 2021 MLS regular season and are currently in second place in the Western Conference. San Jose has conceded just one goal in four consecutive matches.
MLS Regular SeasonSan Jose Earthquakes 0 – 1 Seattle Sounders FCMay 12, 2021 – PayPal Park in San Jose, Calif. Scoring Summary: SEA – Cristian Roldan (unassisted) 18. Misconduct Summary: SEA – Raul Ruidiaz (caution) 39; SJ – Chris Wondolowski (caution) 73; SEA – Stefan Frei (caution) 78; SJ – Luciano Abecasis (caution) 80.
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES: JT Marcinkowski; Marcos Lopez (Luciano Abecasis 69), Tanner Beason, Florian Jungwirth, Tommy Thompson (Shea Salinas 58); Eric Remedi, Jackson Yueill; Carlos Fierro, Chofis (Chris Wondolowski 65), Cristian Espinoza; Cade Cowell (Andy Rios 65). Substitutes not used: Judson, Benji Kikanovic, Paul Marie, Jack Skahan, Daniel Vega. SHOTS: 5; SHOTS ON GOAL: 6; FOULS: 12; CORNER KICKS: 9.
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC: Stefan Frei; Xavier Arreaga, Nouhou, Yeimar Gomez Andrade; Cristian Roldan, Jordy Delem (Shane O’Neill 8), Alex Roldan, Kelyn Rowe (Brad Smith 83), Ethan Dobbelaere (Fredy Montero 46), Danny Leyva (Joao Paulo 60); Raul Ruidiaz. Substitutes not used: Will Bruin, Reed Baker-Whiting, Spencer Richey. SHOTS: 17, SHOTS ON GOAL: 1; FOULS: 13; CORNER KICKS: 2.
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES HEAD COACH MATIAS ALMEYDA On the result:“I’m very happy because we went up against the best team in the league and showed important things in respect to the sport. I can’t just takeaway the result when the opponent had a single shot at our goal. I take away the number of chances we created against an excellent team with a really good defense. We had our chances but this time we were unable to complete them. We would have liked to tie the game, that would have been fair. The first 25 minutes were back and forth. We were beginning to improve, and we were doing things right for a couple of moments.” On the team’s approach to chances created throughout the match:“I am pleased with the team’s production while they were looking for the tie, and ultimately the win if they had tied the game. That’s the way soccer goes. You prepare, you get there and for some reason you can’t put them away. You play against a team of this pedigree and they only needed one shot to score a great goal. I will highlight the path we took in trying to tie the game, that intensity, getting through on the sides, the mobility and the pressure. We saw a lot of good things.” On facing the Portland Timbers on Saturday:“We will have to make a thorough analysis of Portland. For us, every team in the league is challenging, not just Seattle and Portland. We respect everyone but we know we have to be doing very well to compete against anybody. We will analyze Portland, and then we will assess who has recovered from this match and determine if changes are necessary in order to renew energy.”
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES MIDFIELDER JACKSON YUEILL On tonight’s performance in comparison to previous matches vs. Seattle:“I think since my time here, four or five years [ago], they’ve been one of the consistent teams in MLS. They’re a very good side for a reason, they have really good players, and they have a system that they’re all bought in to. For sure they’re a challenging team to play against. You saw why tonight. We made them suffer a lot, and we pressed them hard, and they were able to win and do that against many other teams. I think this is a right step for us. I think, regardless of the result, the effort was there, the attitude at the end, and the second half for the team was in the right direction. It was just about finishing our chances and coming out ready to play at the beginning of the game. I think we gave away the goal early on, and we were a little slow at the beginning. I think that’s something to be improved on. But I think there were a lot of positives to take from this game and there is a lot of season to go so we’ll get our chances again.” On playing alongside Eric Remedi so far this season:“I think Eric is a great addition to the team. He’s very similar to myself and Judson in his mobility, his work rate, being on the ball, his aggression, and his sacrifice for the team. He cares a lot about helping the guys around him, so I think those are all really, really good qualities. I think he’s really talented with the ball. He’s able to get us out of situations when we’re building up from the back. He’s always wanting the ball, he’s always asking for the ball, so he’s a guy to kind of relieve pressure from the rest of the team, especially myself. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know him better and I think his influence on the team has been really good. The more he gets into the game and incorporates Judson, I think we’re really strong midfielders who will be a hard combination no matter who’s in there to play against.”