It was eight years ago that the San Jose Earthquakes packed up their bags and moved to Houston. Even after winning two MLS championships in five years, the team claimed financial difficulties and moved to a region they deemed would be more prosperous. And even though the Earthquakes would come back anew, the abrupt and jarring move remains a painful memory in the minds of Bay Area soccer fans.
Presently, both team sit at the bottom of the table. Coming into the game, the Earthquakes sat in seventh place with a 7-6-4 record (25 points) while the Dynamo were next to last with a 5-7-6 record (21 points).
The Dynamo still have a couple former Earthquake players in Brad Davis and Ricardo Clark, and the latter scored and played a strong game for the Dynamo.
The Earthquakes lone player from those days: Chris Wondolowski.
Regardless, the two met Friday night in a battle of bottom dwellers trying to make a mid-season push.
Ricardo Clark got the scoring started in the 10th minute with a lovely header. The Quakes have been making a habit of playing from behind early on.
“To come out that loose, we weren’t playing the smartest,” lamented Earthquakes head coach Dominic Kinnear. “I just think the build up to the game, I didn’t do a good job in the last three or four days to get this team ready.”
Victor Bernardez managed the only quality chance for the Earthquakes, ringing one of the top right cross bar in the 32nd minute on a free kick.
The half ended 1-0 Houston, with the Dynamo controlling much of the play and out-chancing the Quakes through the first 45 minutes.
In the 47th minute, Clarence Goodson headed a corner that looked to be going into the back of the net, but alas, Fatai Alashe was in the way and deflected the ball out of play.
“You have to win your home games to be successful,” said goalkeeper David Bingham. “We know that. We didn’t play our best tonight, and we’re not claiming that we did by any means. That being said it’s a long year and we have to pick ourselves up and get back to work.”
From there on, the Earthquakes offense ramped up their aggression (like games before) once they realized they were going to lose the game. In response, Houston hunkered down on defense putting all 10 fielders behind the ball in an effort to hold their lead.
“I thought the spark that we had in Portland — as far as the fighting spirit — wasn’t there,” said Kinnear. “I think going down a goal early put us in a place where, maybe, we couldn’t fight through it.”
Just when the Quakes seemed on the verge of tying the game, Sanna Nyassi literally gave the ball to Houston on a two-on-none that ended with Will Bruin putting the Dynamo up 2-0 and securing the win.
“Collectively, we didn’t play well enough,” said Clarence Goodson. “I think we gave them their goals. Clearly, we gave them the second one. But the first one, we allowed a guy to get a cross and lose a man. There were other ones as well. It’s not just that one. By no means are we blaming one-two-three-four people, it’s eleven guys that, collectively, didn’t do a good enough job tonight.”
It was a disappointing loss for the Earthquakes who dropped to 4-2-2 at home. And while Nyassi’s blunder certainly played a major role in the game’s outcome, the Earthquakes offense still couldn’t muster a goal in Wondo’s absence.
The Earthquakes play Club America on
Tuesday and face LA on Friday.