The San Jose Earthquakes defeated the New York Cosmos 1-0 in a somewhat drowsy pre-season friendly at Avaya Stadium, a dress rehearsal for their regular season opener next weekend. Clarence Goodson scored a second-half goal to give the Quakes a lead that was never really challenged by their visitors as the match tempo gradually fizzled in the second half. Quakes coach Dominic Kinnear would have been more vocal to his side about pushing forward, but he was suffering a cold and couldn’t yell.
Kinnear said his side were “too spread out and a little bit too loose,” whereas the Cosmos maintained a compact formation, sitting back and aiming to break on the counter-attack. The visitors had a few sights of goal early on, but David Bingham was cool and composed the few times he was called into action.
The Quakes’ lack of goals this preseason has been slightly worrying, yet the intensity of this match never escaped its label of a friendly. The home side dominated possession but lacked bite up front. Chris Wondolowski started up top with Quincy Amarikwa and Kinnear said that the team’s starting eleven shouldn’t change too much come next weekend.
The Quakes started in a diamond 4-4-2, experimenting with new signing Simon Dawkins above Anibal Godoy in the middle and Alberto Quintero, who only officially joined the club on loan from Mexico two days ago, started wide right. Both new signings looked shaky early on, with Dawkins misplacing a few early passes and Quintero losing the ball on multiple occasions. The Quakes failed to muster any sort of attacking potency in the opening fifteen minutes.
The Cosmos had a few decent chances on the break throughout the first half, but Bingham was confident in goal and dealt with Juan Arango’s curling, twenty-five yard free-kick comfortably. In the fourteenth minute, Yohanory Orozco whipped a left-footed effort towards goal from the right on the break and Bingham held onto this effort as well.
At the other end of the pitch, while Quakes dominated possession they lacked that cutting edge up front. Marvell Wynne drove in from the right and slipped Simon Dawkins in down the channel, but the Englishman couldn’t wrap his foot around a fifteen-yard effort. In the twentieth minute, Dawkins dragged a low, twenty-yard effort just wide of the left-hand post and Jairo Arrteta smacked a fifteen-yard shot straight at Bingham.
The drums emanated as ever from the Ultras’ section, to their credit, but on the pitch the Quakes couldn’t find their rhythm. The tempo was slow, the atmosphere a little subdued and the home side only mustered a single shot on target in the entire first half. There was a foul almost every two minutes in opening period and the game was unremarkably scrappy.
“We need to be a little bit sharper…it’s a work in progress” said Wondolowski, but at the same time, he’s confident that the Quakes are building a formidable side. “I’m always optimistic but I have a special feeling about this team.”
Shaun Francis arrowed a low daisy-cutter wide of the post from twenty-five yards on twenty-two minutes and Wondolowski had a golden chance to score from Quintero’s cross towards the end of the half. Wondo nipped ahead of his defender at the near post, only to pull out of his shot.
The only goal of the match came from a set piece early in the second half, with Clarence Goodson on hand to tap the ball into the back of the net after Victor Bernardez had laid off Shea Salinas’ deep corner at the far post.
“Honestly it was just a reaction. I just threw my leg at it. I got good wood on it and it went in.”
Kinnear had told Dawkins to push further forward in the second half, but his final touch was lacking.
Wynne was lively in the second half, driving into the middle from the other half, but otherwise, a hush fell over the match. “We played out of the back well, but then we relaxed too much,” said Goodson.
In the sixty-sixth minute, Avaya’s Lobina bar exploded into a frenzy of celebrations, but only because had Stephen Curry had landed a forty-foot game-winner in overtime for the Golden State Warriors. Godoy was also booked short afterwards, but the intensity of the match had fallen off and the shift of focus back away from the television in the press box and the stands came somewhat reluctantly.
Innocent Emeghara and Matias Perez-Garcia, who is suspended for next weekend’s match, came on in perhaps the Quakes’ most expensive-ever substitute late on and a roar spread across the stadium, but the liveliness was all too fleeting. Nevertheless, it was good to confirm the health of Innocent, who played briefly in the Quakes’ preseason camp in Arizona. He’s nearing a full recovery, but will take a few more weeks to return to full match fitness. This was more of a final tuneup to make sure all the parts are in working order, and the same generally applies for the Quakes.