Monday, July 26, 2010

Shrader's Spin: Tie with Galaxy is Bittersweet

The taste of a tie in Tinsel Town got a little sweeter in the hours after the Quakes 2-2 game in the Home Depot Center. When Landon Donovan scored in the 90th minute Thursday night, the Galaxy nabbed a point and took two out of the pockets of the Quakes, who twice had leads they couldn’t hold.

But, getting a point from the Galaxy isn’t such a bad thing, said most of the players afterward. Kinda. Sorta.

“It’s always nice to get a point from such a quality side,” said Brandon McDonald, who scored the goal that put the Quakes up 2-1. But… ”it’s always a punch in the gut when you’re up 2-1 and they score a goal late.”

Bobby Convey scored the other goal, a 2nd-minute shot that helped set the tone for this one. “Yes, I have mixed emotions,” he said of the draw, and getting a point in a tough venue. “It just shows how competitive we are this year. It’s a lot different than last year.”

How different than last year? One win and eight points on the road in 2009. So far in 2010: Three wins and 12 points away from home.

With three of the next four at home, it’s time for the Quakes to pick up the pace in Buck Shaw where they are just 3-2-2 this season.

Convey scored on the same day he got the call from the league office that he would be headed to the All-Star Game next week, replacing injured Jonathan Bornstein.

It's the first time the Quakes will be represented since their return to MLS in 2008.

He says he was mostly disappointed that the team had not received some recognition, “I don’t need someone else to tell me I’m an All-Star.”

“I feel like I play how I play and people can see what I do and make their own conclusion,” Convey said. “I try to do as well as I can and work as hard as I can. It’s nice to be mentioned as an All-Star and with the best players in the league.”

Convey has been among the most consistent players on this team this year. I think most of the players would throw Ramiro Corrales into that conversation as well.

The MLS All-Stars play Manchester United July 28 in Houston’s Reliant Stadium.

Brandon McDonald has three career MLS goals, and all of them have been scored at the Home Depot Center. He scored once as a member of the Galaxy and scored the others in LA as an Earthquake, against Chivas USA in 2009 and the Thursday night goal against the Galaxy.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

27-game-ban for Choking Referee

Paraguayan soccer player Jose Pedroso received a 27-game suspension after putting his MMA skills to work on a referee during a Chilean second-division match. Pedroso went for the rear-naked choke hold, perhaps hoping that an impending yellow for a reckless challenge would disappear if the center ref tapped out.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Shrader's Spin: Busch the MOTM

Dramatic game-winning goals make the highlights, the goal-scorer gets heroic pats on the back and the headlines will flash his name.

In Philadelphia Arturo Alvarez got the game-winning goal, it went in the stats and he got the headline mentions, but anybody who watched the game knows that the number one hero of the Quakes 2-1 win at PPL Park was goalkeeper Jon Busch. It was Busch who made that last-minute game-winner possible.

“If not for him it would have been a different story,” Alvarez said. “We have to give it up to Busch for keeping us in the game.”

The sixth and most important second half save for Busch came just three minutes before Alvarez’s stoppage time winner. He took a point-blank, sure-fire goal away from Sebastian Le Toux.

“I just did my job,” Busch said in his typical team-first kind of awe-shucks manner. “At the end of the day that’s what I get paid to do. I get paid to make saves and catch crosses. Some games are busy and some games aren’t busy. I’m glad I could help this team and we got three points tonight.”

“As we always say, that’s why he’s there, that’s why the goalkeeper is there,” said coach Frank Yallop. “Jon didn’t panic and he looked good at everything he did.”

And what looks good is Busch’s 1-0-2 record as a starter and his 0.67 goals-against average. Take into consideration the 0-0 game at Salt Lake that certainly could have gone the Quakes way and the disappointing come-from-ahead tie at home against D.C. United and things might be different.

Frank Yallop on Saturday’s game with Tottenham Hotspur:
“We’ll play it like we’re playing any game. Whether we play 90 minutes for everybody, I don’t know. I’d like to get most of my guys on the field because I think playing against an opposition like that is a joy.

“I’d like to get some of my young guys some experience. Maybe we’ll talk to (Spurs Coach) Harry (Redknapp) and see what they’re going to do. We want to win the game and we want to entertain the crowd. We want to make sure Tottenham come in and play well and that we play well. It is a friendly, but it will be nice to get some guys experience.”

The Quakes now have identical home and road records (3-2-2). Yallop on why they’re playing much better on the road this year:

“They’re buying into the game plan. We try to tell them it’s okay to not have the ball a lot away from home as long as you’re defending well. We feel our road plan is great, we just have to get better at home. Maybe the injuries haven’t allowed us to be as good at home.”

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

In the News - Must Clicks

Need more evidence that US soccer is on the rise? Bob Bradley is a finalist for the Fulham FC head coaching vacancy. If selected, Bradley would become the first American coach in Europe.

On the American soccer on the rise note, AC Milan is eying Clint Dempsey. Could we see Dempsey teaming with Oguchi Onyewu in the Serie A?:

More marketing bucks spent by Nike to promote the World Cup, this time in an ode to the USMNT via the youth of America.

Have ye little faith? Apparently the Dutch Football Federation didn't believe in its Oranje - at least not enough to book a hotel through the final. Anybody have a free reservation in Johannesburg?

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Boys in Blue are Back

The San Jose Earthquakes brought back a piece of history on Saturday, the iconic blue jersey.

Get Microsoft Silverlight

Kelly Gray: Finally Over the US Loss

Now that I am finally coming out of the depression that was induced by the US losing to Ghana, I thought it was about time that I got back to the issue at hand.

But before I do, I thought I would share a few thoughts on the US team’s World Cup experience. The first word that comes to mind is: Fail.

I know that the US had some success, but if you look at this World Cup in the grand scheme, it was a failure. This was a year US Soccer had a reasonable chance of getting to the semi-finals and they fell short.

Ok, enough about that. On to bigger and better things.

The quarterfinals have been very interesting. Uruguay was a bit of a surprise, as was Paraguay and Ghana, but all of the teams showed that they deserved to be there.

Surprisingly, the team that looked like they didn’t belong were Argentina. Germany absolutely handed it to them this morning and made their claim as the best team in the World Cup. Right now, it would be hard to argue that anyone is better than Germany.

The Netherlands are undefeated after a 2-1 victory over World Cup favorites Brazil and have to be considered a favorites to get past Uruguay and to each the final.

Now let’s talk players.

I would argue that the two greatest players in the World Cup so far have been Bastian Schweinsteiger of Germany and Wesley Sneijder of Netherlands. Both players have led their teams through each game with glimpses of flair and athleticism.

I have also been very impressed with David Villa, Andres Iniesta, Diego Forlan and Miroslav Klose. All of those players have made significant contributions with either goals or leadership on the field.

It should be interesting to see what happens when the World Cup is over. I wonder if any of these players will be making big money moves?

Stay tuned for more of my opinions and as always be sure to follow me on Twitter at @kelg22 and check my personal blog TheTotalFootballer. You can also email me at