Playing in its third game in seven days, the San Jose Earthquakes showed resolve, picking up its second straight Major League Soccer regular season victory, shutting out the New England Revolution, 2-0, at Buck Shaw Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., on Saturday night.
Earthquakes goalkeeper Joe Cannon, who has been fighting injuries of late, managed to stop all seven shots on target by the Revs (2-2), recording his first clean sheet of the season. It took Cannon 19 games before he recorded his first clean sheet last year.
Chris Wondolowski got the nod to play on Saturday night as three Quakes forwards were hampered with hamstring injuries. Wondolowski showed his coach Frank Yallop that he can be a guy to call in when in need, as he put the Quakes up 1-0 in the 57th minute.
"Chris played great. It is great for him to score a goal and I thought he played excellent tonight," said Yallop. "He has done really well and I am very happy with him."
A familiar tandem put the game away for San Jose in the 72nd minute.
Bobby Convey found space on the flank and crossed a bending ball toward Ike Opara, who didn't miss the opportunity to score his second career goal -- and second goal in as many games -- heading home Convey’s delivery for a 2-0 Earthquakes lead that they would take to victory.
The Convey-Opara play was eerily similar to the goal the two hooked up on last weekend to help San Jose win on the road at the Chicago Fire, 2-1. Opara feels it's a play the two can execute for the foreseeable future.
"I think Bobby Convey and I can make a living off of that kind of play," said Opara. "I am really excited, its nice to kill the game off and I think it was big for us because New England is a good team, and they were going to just keep coming at us."
Cannon recorded his 100th career MLS victory, and gave a lot of credit to his team’s performance in front of him.
"I think the most important part about tonight was seeing the team work extremely hard together and I think the team did that in front of me," said Cannon. "I am proud of the effort - we earned this win tonight."
Cannon was bailed out by Convey in the 52nd minute when the midfielder prevented a Darrius Barnes header (off a corner kick from Marko Perovic) from crossing the goal line with a calm whack at the ball for a clearance.
San Jose was playing in its third game in seven days, beating Chicago a week ago before losing to Real Salt Lake in a U.S. Open Cup play-in match on Wednesday night at Buck Shaw. Many teams may wear down with that type of stretch, but overall, the team’s performance was pleasing to coach Yallop.
"This was probably one of the better performances since I've been back," said Yallop, who returned to the Quakes three years ago after a two-year stint in Los Angeles (Yallop coached the Quakes in 2004-06 before going to LA). "I thought the play was very solid, very dynamic going forward, I thought our passing was clean."
And now the Quakes, who went over .500 with its second straight win, moving to 2-1 on the season, head to Southern California for a match with a streaking Chivas USA. For Opara and the whole Earthquakes club, they are just hoping to keep the momentum rolling.
"We just want to keep it rolling, and build off of this type of performance," said Opara. "I think these last two weekends have shown our fight out there and we do have the talent. I think that the sky is the limit for this team."
Kickoff for the Quakes-Chivas game is set for 7:30 p.m. PT. Cannon is ready.
"Momentum is really a funny thing, this kind of performance provides a lot of confidence," Cannon said. "I feel that it is important because New England is a good side, and we are a good side. I am just happy to be a part of this."
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