SANTA CLARA CA - SEPTEMBER 29: Freddie Ljungberg #8 of the Chicago Fire dribbles the ball against Bobby Convey #11 and Geovanni #77 of the San Jose Earthquakes during an MLS game at Buck Shaw Stadium on September 29 2010 in Santa Clara California. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

Earthquakes Fall 3-0 To Chicago, Freddie Ljungberg

Catch the Quakes tonight at 8:00 pm PST on CSNCA

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Missed Chances Highlight Tough Home Defeat

On the rare occasions when San Jose outplays their opponent, they have always emerged victorious. They have also shown a penchant for stealing points away from teams who control possession and create more chances and shots. Tonight the Quakes lost despite more possession, shots and corner kicks, and it means gaining nothing against a struggling team at home.

The player of the game was Freddie Ljungberg, who single-handedly created the goal of the game and assisted another. For much of the game San Jose’s defense did a good job of preventing Ljungberg from influencing the game, but a great player doesn’t necessarily need multiple touches to influence the outcome. Ljungberg certainly made the most of his opportunities.

San Jose will have to move on and regroup quickly, because they play again on Saturday on the road against the Columbus Crew. The Crew currently lead the Eastern Conference and points will be at a premium, making San Jose’s failure to earn something positive against Chicago all the more painful.


Freddie Ljungberg Scores His First Chicago Goal, Extends Fire Lead To 2-0

Freddie Ljungberg took a pass, flicked the ball forward, raced past two San Jose defenders and blasted the ball past Jon Busch to double Chicago’s lead. The 72nd minute goal from one of Chicago’s designated players may end up being a blow for San Jose’s playoff chances as the Quakes will be hard pressed to comeback from a two goal deficit with so little time remaining.


Eduardo Enters Game To Create Offense

Brazilian striker Eduardo has entered the game in place of left back Tim Ward in an obvious bid by Frank Yallop to find some offense. Midfielder Bobby Convey has moved back into the left back position as Eduardo will act as a big target man in front of goal. Eduardo has struggled with injuries and match fitness, but he has looked good in his limited minutes as a substitute thus far in 2010.


Arturo Alvarez On For Khari Stephenson

Frank Yallop has made his first substitution by bringing midfielder Arturo Alvarez on for midfielder Khari Stephenson. Both players are attacking midfielders, so this isn’t a major change in attack.

Meanwhile, Chicago has taken off midfielder Marco Pappa and replaced him with midfielder Patrick Nyarko

San Jose continues to pressure Chicago in search of a tying goal behind 1-0. Chris Wondolowski has been the most dangerous Quake in the second half with a number of decent chances including an impressive volley shot that Sean Johnson saved well. Geovanni created some excitement with a bicycle kick attempt that went over the crossbar.


Chicago Takes 1-0 Lead Late In First Half

San Jose controlled the first 35 minutes of the game, but it’s Chicago with the first goal of the game off of a Freddie Ljungberg corner kick. Steven Kinney met the ball and directed it towards the far corner. With no player marking the post John Busch could only make a desperate lunge and only manage to deflect the ball towards the corner as it crossed the line.

The goal was Chicago’s first shot on goal and seemed to be holding more possession. But just as San Jose had a series of games earlier this year when they scored goals and won games against the run of play, now they will have to continue pressing to respond. Geovanni’s fingerprints have been all over most of the best San Jose attacks, and the Quakes have come close on a number of corners, crosses and long distance shots.


Starting Lineups Announced

San Jose's starting eleven:

Goalkeeper: Jon Busch
Defenders: Tim Ward, Jason Hernandez, Brandon McDonald, Chris Leitch
Midfielders: Bobby Convey, Sam Cronin, Khari Stephenson, Chris Wondolowski
Forwards: Geovanni, Ryan Johnson

And for the Chicago Fire:

Goalkeeper: Sean Johnson
Defenders: Krzysztof Krol, Dasan Robinson, Kwame Watson-Siriboe, Steven Kinney
Midfielders: Marco Pappa, Logan Pause, John Thorrington, Bratislav Ristic
Forwards: Calen Carr, Freddie Ljungberg


Earthquakes Return Home For Midweek Battle With Chicago

After just four days off the Quakes head home to face the Chicago Fire in another matchup against a mid-table team from the Eastern Conference. Through a scheduling quirk San Jose has played two fewer games than every other team above them in the Western Conference standings, so this mid-week clash gives San Jose an opportunity to move up while their rivals are idle. If San Jose can win both games in hand a 3rd place finish in the Western Conference isn’t out of the question. But to do so they will undoubtedly have to beat struggling teams like Chicago.

The Fire are mired in a seven game winless streak and have only managed to score one goal in the month of September. The Fire do have some interesting players, including American legend and iron man Brian McBride, still playing soccer at 38 years of age.  McBride has announced that he will retire at the end of the year, thus ending the career of what must surely be the greatest striker ever to play for the Red, White and Blue. That’s reason enough to watch tomorrow’s game.

In addition to McBride the Fire boast two designated players – Swedish midfielder Freddie Ljungberg and Mexican striker Nery Castillo. Despite the star power Castillo and Ljungberg have yet to create a more dangerous Chicago attack – neither player has scored in their combined 14 starts for the Fire. And it’s possible that neither star will play. Castillo has a left quadriceps strain and didn’t make the trip to San Jose, while Ljungberg also has a nagging injury that might prevent him from starting. With Chicago all but eliminated from the playoff race there may be little incentive for the Fire to play their best anyway.

This game will also serve as Jon Busch’s first chance to match up against his former team on the field. Busch was let go by the Fire just prior to the season opener as a salary dump but did not play when San Jose travelled to Chicago for the second game of the year. With Joe Cannon’s injury Busch has played a key role as a backup that is just as good as the starter.

Players to watch:

Marco Pappa – Despite Chicago’s star power, Pappa has still been Chicago’s most productive offensive player as an attacking midfielder. With Nery and perhaps Ljungberg out the burden to create will probably fall even heavier upon Pappa and Brian McBride

Chris Wondolowski – Wondo was briefly overshadowed in San Jose’s attack with the sudden signings of Khari Stephenson and Geovanni. But his excellent recent form and Saturday’s hat trick reminded Earthquake fans what he can do. Look for him to continue creating problems for the opposition’s defense and finding opportunities with his work rate and impressive ability to be in the right place at the right time.

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