Joe Cannon's save helped to preserve the Quake's victory! |

Joe Cannon’s save helped to preserve the Quake’s victory!

Victory tastes sweet for Quakes

San Jose breaks into win column with team effort

05/31/2009 04:58 AM

By Jeff Carlisle / Staff
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — During the San Jose Earthquakes’ eight-game winless run, it seemed like every week critical mistakes were occurring all over the field. No player was immune.But in Saturday’s 2-1 victory against Real Salt Lake, the Quakes received major contributions throughout their lineup, and that proved to be the difference in breaking into the win column for the first time in two months.

Granted, most of the accolades will go to forward Cornell Glen — who scored on his home debut in the 52nd minute — and Arturo Alvarez, whose 25-yard rocket 11 minutes later proved to be the game-winner.

But San Jose would have never been able to subdue RSL had they not gotten some stellar play elsewhere. Goalkeeper Joe Cannon’s spectacular save in second-half stoppage time helped preserve the victory. The much-maligned back line, as well as the midfield delivered some solid play. And fullback Mike Zaher, who was also making his home debut, barely put a foot wrong, delivering the pinpoint cross that led to Glen’s opener.

It left all involved feeling elated, as well as relieved.

“We needed this, we needed this bad,” said Alvarez. “I think it was good game for us at home to maybe change our luck around.”

“I’m obviously very happy with the three points, but I think more importantly for us, our performance was good,” said Earthquakes head coach Frank Yallop. “I thought it was a mature performance, because we’ve worked a lot in the last two weeks of being solid as a unit, difficult to breakdown. It didn’t quite show in the other games we played, but tonight I thought it showed quite well.”

The Quakes also showed more verve on the attacking end, with Glen adding a bit more pace and guile to a team that has relied a bit too heavily on the hustle and bustle of Ryan Johnson in recent weeks. Glen was the first to admit that he didn’t play his best game, but the fact that he was goal-dangerous throughout his 59 minutes on the field gave his team a boost, as did his headed goal from Zaher’s cross.

Of course, Alvarez provided the biggest spark of all on his game-winner. By now, you’d think that the entire league would know that the Quakes midfielder’s right foot is for standing and little more. So it was a bit of surprise when Alvarez found some space cutting inside from the right wing, and was able to unleash a bomb with his favored left foot.

“It’s funny because Frank told me to change things around … but I like going inside,” said Alvarez. “I got a good ball from Bobby [Convey], and it was a good shot on target.”

Of course, Real didn’t make things easy on San Jose, scoring in the 80th minute through Robbie Findley. And they came close to snatching an unlikely equalizer through Yura Movsisyan, but Cannon delivered a game-saving, one-handed save to preserve the win. The Quakes defense also battled for every loose ball they could find.

“The balls were raining in our box late in the game, and we stuck our bodies in there and our heads, and we didn’t want to lose,” said Yallop. “It was terrific.”

Now that the Quakes have tasted victory again, they’ll need to replicate the effort on the road in the next two weeks when they travel to Dallas and Seattle. But unlike the previous few matches, they’ll be doing so with more confidence and less tension. That is especially true of their manager.

“I’ve been feeling the pressure obviously, because I’m in charge of the guys,” said Yallop. “As much as you try to keep positive, it is a weight, yeah. You don’t like losing games, and a lot of times you look at yourself and think ‘Why?’ But what I like about our group is they’re a good bunch of guys, and they played for me tonight.”

Every single one of them.

Jeff Carlisle is a contributor to

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Posted on: May 31, 2009
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