Leitch Makes Quakes History

June 29, 2017

In his first game at the helm, Chris Leitch did something no other Earthquakes head coach has been able to do before: beat an MLS team in U.S. Open Cup play.

In every year that San Jose has entered the tournament in the MLS era, San Jose have either been defeated by lower-division teams, or failed to advance after facing off against a fellow MLS team. The curse is broken.

Midfielder Shea Salinas celebrates his opening goal against the Seattle Sounders in U.S. Open Cup play at Avaya Stadium in June, 2017

Shea Salinas put the Quakes on the board early with his sixth minute blast ricocheting off a Sounders player and into the back of the net to give the Quakes the lead. It appeared the route might have been on after Seattle’s Francisco Narbon dangerously tackled Jackson Yueill in 35′ for a straight red and automatic ejection. Seattle, for the second time in as many games, found themselves down a goal and a man, putting the game in the Quakes’ hands.

Improbably, Seattle managed to tie the game despite being down a man. Aaron Kovar placed a perfect shot on a set piece over the San Jose wall to the top-corner of the frame, beating Quakes ‘keeper Andrew Tarbell shortly into the second half.

San Jose appeared to be choking away the game as the Quakes continued to rain down haphazard ¬†shots on Seattle net-minder Tyler Miller, tallying 20 for the game. Most shots either failed to hit their mark, were blocked, or failed to challenge Miller. However, Quakes sub Danny Hoesen refused to lose as he beat several Sounder defenders inside the 18 to set up a clear shot on goal, and the game-winner at 84′.

Kip Colvey led the Quakes in key passes with seven; no other Quake player managed more than two. Both Tommy Thompson and Shea Salinas led the Quakes in overall shots with four each. Thompson also completed all but one of his 35 passes.

The Quakes will play the L.A. Galaxy at Avaya Stadium in the quarter-final round on July 10th. Ironically, the Quakes’ next league game is also a home game versus Los Angeles this Saturday at Stanford Stadium. Go Quakes!

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