HARRISON NJ - NOVEMBER 04: Bobby Convey #11 of the San Francisco Earthquakes is congratulated by his teammate Ryan Johnson #19 for his goal in the first half against the New York Red Bulls during the second leg of the of the MLS playoffs at Red Bull Arena on November 4 2010 in Harrison New Jersey. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

Earthquakes Advance Past New York With 3-1 Victory

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San Jose Shocks New York With Two Late Goals

San Jose has advanced to the second round of their first playoff appearance since being recreated under the Earthquake name with two late stunning goals from Bobby Convey and Chris Wondolowski. Both goals were necessary because they were sandwiched around a Juan Pablo Angel tap in header that momentarily tied the aggregate score.

Bobby Convey scored quickly to open the game, immediately tying the aggregate score to give San Jose a fresh start. But as the game moved forward New York gradually took greater control of the flow of the game. The second half was spend almost entirely around Jon Busch’s goal until Geovanni was subbed out in favor of Arturo Alvarez.

Alvarez made an immediate contribution by playing a role in Convey’s second goal, a smash into the top left of New York’s goal from the left channel. But it was followed almost immediately by Angel’s goal, perfectly assisted by Juan Agudelo.

That set the stage for Wondolowski’s clincher. Convey (the clear man of the match) send a perfect cross into Wondolowski as he ran down the right side of the box. Wondo met the ball with his head and sent it perfectly into the top right corner of the net past the outstretched hands of Red Bulls keeper Bouna Coundoul.

San Jose’s cinderella season now continues, much in the same fashion of their regular season that saw the Quakes steal points against the run of play. They will now face the winner of the Colorado-Columbus tie, this time in a single, winner take all matchup.


Solid Effort Not Enough As Red Bull Hang On For Victory

Joel Lindpere’s putback goal in the 56th minute was enough for New York as Bouna Coundoul and the Red Bull defense did enough to hold on to the clean sheet and force San Jose into a must win on the road.

Jon Busch was largely solid in goal, stopping a number of tough shots, but he was unable to prevent Lindpere’s low shot into the corner from hitting net. A late San Jose charge for the equalizer was ultimately denied by the goalie and by the post, as Eduardo’s attempted put-back bicycle kick rattled the cage.

It was critical for San Jose to earn at least a tie so that they wouldn’t be forced to earn a win in New York with Thierry Henry likely to return to the pitch. Now a win is what they must find when they head east for a mid-week matchup.


Starting Lineups Announced

Here’s Frank Yallop’s starting eleven:

Goalkeeper: Jon Busch
Defenders: Tim Ward, Brandon McDonald, Jason Hernandez, Ramiro Corrales
Midfielders: Geovanni, Sam Cronin, Scott Sealy, Bobby Convey
Forwards: Ryan Johnson, Chris Wondolowski

No shockers on the list – Yallop made good on his promise to play Sealy over Khari Stephenson, who Yallop believes to be in better form. Ramiro Corrales has done enough to assure his fitness and earn a spot at right back.

And for the Red Bulls:

Goalkeeper: Bouna Coundoul
Defenders: Roy Miller, Tim Ream, Carlos Mendes, Chris Albright
Midfielders: Joel Lindpere, Mehdi Ballouchy, Rafael Marquez, Dane Richards
Forwards: Juan Pablo Angel, Juan Agudelo


Earthquakes Host New York In First Leg Of MLS Playoffs

The long slog of the regular season is finally over and San Jose finds themselves in the playoffs for the first time since being reborn as an expansion team in 2008. They will open at home as the fourth seed in the Eastern bracket against the star-studded New York Red Bulls in the first leg of a home and away battle.

The major headline going into tonight's game is Thierry Henry's absence due to an ongoing knee problem, but he won't be the only Red Bull out of the lineup. New York will also be missing the services of midfielder Tony Tchani and forward Salou Ibrahim, which means that depth may be limited. It will be up to Frank Yallop and the Earthquakes to take advantage. With the first leg of the aggregate contest at Buck Shaw Stadium they will undoubtedly feel pressure to come away with some kind of victory however they can earn it.

Leading that charge will be dark-horse MVP candidate Chris Wondolowski, the hottest goal scorer in MLS. Wondo surged to the top of the leaderboards to earn the golden boot in the last few games of the year, and San Jose's offense will likely rely on his habit of being in the right place at the right time. Meanwhile, it remains to be seen who will be starting around him. Frank Yallop faced a number of difficult selection decisions, particularly at forward, where he will have to choose from Ryan Johnson, Geovanni, Cornell Glen, Eduardo and Wondolowski.  Geovanni and Wondolowsi will be on the pitch, but their exact positions within Yallop's 4-4-2 is always up in the air.

As it often is for San Jose, the key will be their ability to control the midfield. New York has an excellent set of midfielders including Rafa Marquez and Joel Lindpere, and if they are allowed to control the ball they will undoubtedly find ways to get the ball to Juan Pablo Angel in dangerous positions. San Jose just needs to disrupt them as much as possible and move the ball upfield and let the opportunistic Wondolowski do what he does best - pull goals from nowhere.

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