It’s halftime between Bruce Arena’s Los Angeles Galaxy and Frank Yallop’s San Jose Earthquakes and in first half (read: first leg, second half) injury time, a howler from Josh Saunders give the Quakes a 1-0 advantage heading into the second half (read: second leg), to be contested on Wednesday at Buck Shaw Stadium, on the campus of Santa Clara University, in Santa Clara, California.
Outside of the goalkeeper, it was a passable performance from the defenders and midfield and an unimpressive outing from the attack. Let’s roll those ratings. Here we go.
Josh Saunders 4
Here is a cocktail that I have shared with a number of people at the BigSoccer forums. I wanted to share it with you all on the View from Avalon. It’s called the “Kick In The Backside.” You mix at least two parts missed finish with one part opposition save and one part opposition goal. Serve chilled in the net. Garnish with hushed crowds.
Apparently this potentcocktail was appetizing enough for Josh Saunders that he couldn’t resist having a little taste just before closing time. Not a good goal to give up late to the least likely of suspects in Victor Bermudez. Such howlers are fatal against a team with as much going for them as the San Jose Earthquakes, the league’s best team.
If this keeps up, Saunders’ inhibition will be lost with a taste of the “Gordo Special,” which is the same formula but with a splash of an Alan Gordon goal for extra coma-inducing stupor. Only a Goat of the Match like Saunders would have the courage to down that in one gulp…and wake up from his self-induced coma and live to tell about it.
Omar Gonzalez 7
Omar Gonzalez will have to do a much better job with his set piece defending. To his credit, Gonzo made 10 clearances, 10 recoveries, four interceptions and an 85 percent pass success rate. The important thing to take from this: Steven Lenhart was ineffective against Gonzalez.
Tommy Meyer 5.5
Match up Tommy Meyer against Chris Wondolowski and one word comes to mind: MISMATCH. Meyer nearly gave an easy goal to the best scorer in MLS early in the first half but was able to adjust later on. The end result: a 78 percent pass success rate, eight clearances and three recoveries.
Todd Dunivant 6
The Iron Man, Todd Dunivant, gets minus points for a 75 percent pass success rate as well as losing possession on being tackles 15 times. Aside from that, four clearances, seven recoveries, two tackles won and two blocks made this another decent night for Dunivant.
Sean Franklin 6.5
Sean Franklin gets penalized for two bad crosses but gets rewarded for seven successful throw-ins, eight recoveries and an 86 percent pass success rate.
David Beckham 5
Ineffective, ineffective, ineffective. 11—count ‘em, ELEVEN unsuccessful cross from David Beckham, who lost possession on the challenge 17 times, only had five recoveries and a kryptonite-laced 71 percent pass success rate. Counting down the days to your retirement day yet, Mr. Beckham.
Juninho, the young Brazilian from sao Paulo, did most of his damage from distribution with an above-average 83 percent pass success rate. Juninho also had seven lay offs, five headers and four recoveries. He does get minus points for his speculative shot selection. Attempting gridiron-style field goals instead of goals against San Jose is just buying the Quakes time, Juni.
Mike Magee 6
Mike Magee didn’t get a shot off against the Earthquakes and had a 73 percent pass success rate, but he did have five lay offs, six headers, a key pass, two interceptions and five recoveries.
Marcelo Sarvas 6.5
Good night from Marcelo Sarvas, who had a solid 87 percent pass success rate, three lay offs, two headers, six interceptions, four tackles won and six recoveries. An admirable effort in spite of the [halftime] final first leg margin.
Landon Donovan 5.5
An 80 percent pass success rate, eight lay offs, two key passes, and one shot off target. Not exactly a night that Landon Donovan will want to remember, as the San Jose defense were successful in holding him at bay.
Robbie Keane 6
Robbie Keane had an 85 percent pass success rate, four lay offs and five recoveries. However, I am penalizing him for his lack of creativity against Jon Busch, who was able to neutralize every shot from Keane coming his way. Gotta applaud the effort, though…
Edson Buddle NR
Came into the game late, no rating given.