SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Chris Wondolowski scored the only goal of the game in the 15th minute as the San Jose Earthquakes made a winning start to the 2012 season with a 1-0 victory over the New England Revolution on Saturday night at Buck Shaw Stadium.
It was the first opening-day win for the Earthquakes (1-0-0, 3 pts.) since 2003, while it marked the third straight year in which the Revolution (0-1-0, 0 pts.) fell short of three points in the season opener. A total of seven players made their Revolution debuts – including five starters – while the match also served as the head coaching debut for Jay Heaps.
The teams combined to register just two shots on target, but Wondolowski made the most of San Jose’s lone effort on frame by burying a breakaway following a costly turnover in the early stages.
Saer Sène’s MLS debut was put on hold as the French striker missed out with swelling in his left knee, while left back Chris Tierney was also unavailable for New England because of a red-card suspension dating back to last year’s season finale. Newcomers Blake Brettschneider and Fernando Cardenas started up top with Sène sidelined, while an injury to Darrius Barnes (L calf) meant A.J. Soares filled in at left back with John Lozano and Stephen McCarthy pairing up in central defense.
Wondolowski took just 15 minutes to rediscover the form which sent him to the top of the league’s goal-scoring charts the past two seasons. Shea Salinas intercepted a cross-field pass from Shalrie Joseph near midfield and quickly sprang a counterattack, slotting Wondolowski on a breakaway as Lozano stepped up. Wondolowski settled himself before curling a shot into the right side of the net from the top of the box.
The Revolution’s best chance to equalize before the halftime break arrived in the 32nd minute when Soares flashed a header wide of the left post from Benny Feilhaber’s free kick, while Feilhaber tested Earthquakes goalkeeper Jon Busch with a skipping 30-yard drive in the 43rd minute.
Heaps made a pair of attack-minded substitutions in the quest to find an equalizer, sending on Lee Nguyen for Cardenas in the 69th minute and Ryan Guy for Clyde Simms in the 79th minute. The equalizer so nearly arrived in second-half stoppage time when Feilhaber created space for himself at the top of the box, but his right-footed blast sailed just wide of the left post.
The Revs will play their second straight road match to open the 2012 season next weekend when they visit Sporting Kansas City on Saturday, March 17. Kickoff from LIVESTRONG Sporting Park is set for 8:30 p.m. ET.
New England Revolution at San Jose Earthquakes
March 10, 2012 – Buck Shaw Stadium (Santa Clara, Calif.)
San Jose Earthquakes 1, New England Revolution 0
SJ – Chris Wondolowski (Shea Salinas) 15
New England Revolution: Matt Reis, A.J. Soares (Tyler Polak 60), John Lozano, Stephen McCarthy, Kevin Alston, Benny Feilhaber, Shalrie Joseph ©, Clyde Simms (Ryan Guy 79), Kelyn Rowe, Blake Brettschneider, Fernando Cardenas (Lee Nguyen 69)
Substitutes Not Used: Bobby Shuttleworth, Michael Roach, Diego Fagundez, Alec Purdie
STATS: Shots 6, Shots on Target 1, Corner Kicks 3, Fouls 13, Offsides 3, Possession 48.8%
San Jose Earthquakes: Jon Busch, Ramiro Corrales, Justin Morrow, Victor Bernardez, Steven Beitashour, Shea Salinas, Sam Cronin, Rafael Baca, Marvin Chavez (Simon Dawkins 64), Steven Lenhart (Khari Stephenson 69), Chris Wondolowksi
Substitutes Not Used: David Bingham, Sercan Guvenisik, Tressor Moreno, Jason Hernandez, Ike Opara
STATS: Shots 6, Shots on Target 1, Corner Kicks 3, Fouls 18, Offsides 2, Possession 51.2%
SJ – Rafael Baca (caution) 20
SJ – Steven Lenhart (caution) 40
NE – John Lozano (caution) 59
New England Revolution – 0-1-0, 0 pts.
San Jose Earthquakes – 1-0-0, 3 pts.
Referee: Jorge Gonzalez
Assistant Referees: Greg Barkey, Jeff Hosking
Fourth Official: Juan Guzman
Weather: Clear and 60 degrees
- Tonight’s match was the team’s first of the 2012 season, the league’s 17th … New England is one of eight MLS teams (of 19) that has competed in all 16 previous seasons
- The match was Jay Heaps’ first-ever as the Revolution’s head coach … he is the sixth head coach in club history and the second-youngest head coach currently in MLS
- Tonight’s game was the seventh time in the last nine years the Revs opened a season on the West Coast, and the third time in that span they played a season opener at San Jose
- With his appearance tonight, captain Shalrie Joseph became the Revs’ all-time career appearances leader with 244 during his 10-year MLS career … he entered tonight’s game tied with current head coach and former teammate Jay Heaps at 243 appearances
- Rookie midfielder Kelyn Rowe became the most recent in a long run of opening day debuts for Revolution rookies when he lined up with the starting 11 … this is the fourth year in a row and the fifth year in the last six that at least one rookie was in the starting lineup for the Revs on opening day following A.J. Soares and Stephen McCarthy (2011), Zack Schilawski and Seth Sinovic (2010) and Kevin Alston and Darrius Barnes (2009).
- With the loss, the Revolution has gone winless in each of its last three season openers … the team’s last win came in 2009 with a 1-0 win at San Jose
- New England is now 4-9-4 in season openers
- The loss moved the Revs’ all-time record against San Jose to 11-20-5 … the loss also extended San Jose’s undefeated streak against New England to five games (4-0-1), dating back to the start of the 2010 season
- The loss moved the Revs’ road record at San Jose to 5-10-3 all-time and 1-4-0 since the Quakes returned to MLS in 2008
- The win extended the Revs’ winless streak in games played in Mountain or Pacific time zones to 17 games (0-12-5), which dates back to August 2009 – a 1-0 win at Seattle … the loss also extended the team’s winless run in West Coast games to 11 games (0-9-2)
- Chris Tierney was suspended for tonight’s game and did not travel to San Jose with the club … he was forced to sit out tonight’s game following a pair of yellow cards at Toronto in the 2011 season finale on October 22, 2011
- Darrius Barnes was unavailable for tonight’s game after suffering a left calf injury in Friday afternoon’s training session in San Jose … the Revs traveled 19 players to the West Coast for the season opener, allowing the club to dress 18 players despite Barnes’ late injury
- A.J. Soares made his debut at left back in this game … previously, all of his prior 28 appearances – all coming in 2011 – were at center back
- Five of the 11 players in the starting 11 made their Revolution debuts: Blake Brettschneider, Fernando Cardenas, John Lozano, Kelyn Rowe and Clyde Simms
- A total of seven players made their Revs debuts tonight as Tyler Polak and Lee Nguyen later come on as substitutes in the second half