Saturday, October 6, 2007

The real deal

I never felt that the unbeaten home streak of the 2005 San Jose Earthquakes was justified. The team didn't lose any players to the Gold Cup competition that year, and the home field advantage of their weird stadium was just too partial for me to believe that the record was earned purely by their performance.

Chivas USA, on the other hand, plays in the Home Depot Center, and teams have done plenty of winning there against them in previous seasons and against the Galaxy this season. The team lost players to the Gold Cup and Copa America, yet they stayed on track at home. Today they're chasing the Supporter's Shield in an away game versus Real Salt Lake, but the home record is important, too. Colorado and Houston are the only teams left that can knock Chivas USA from their unbeaten perch.


Jay said...

Andrea, the 2005 Quakes played with the threat of relocation hanging over their heads, not to mention the fact that their headline player was moved to LA via some AEG chicanery prior to the start of the season. It's an odd choice to belittle their accomplishments.

Of course, if you want to define a stadium filled with passionate fans who care deeply about their team as "weird," compared to whatever it is you find in LA, that's your prerogative. Remember these facts, however:

- San Jose's 64 points in '05 was the second best total in MLS history after the 1998 LA Galaxy. (The Galaxy's record came in the league's "Shootout" era, when there were no ties. The 2005 Quakes were the first team in MLS history to finish with an average of three points for each game at home and one point for each one on the road, an achievement the Brits refer to as finishing "on pace.")

- The Quakes set a record by only losing four times all year. The old MLS record of five losses was set in a 30-game season.

- No MLS team had ever gone undefeated at home until the '05 Earthquakes. Their ongoing record home unbeaten streak, which started in 2004, now stands at 18 games.

- The Quakes only allowed 31 goals against all season, fifth best total in MLS history.

- San Jose went 15-1-5 over the last 21 games of the season.

- San Jose had nine wins on the road, a record for the Earthquakes.

- Despite not having any players among the league's top ten goal scorers, the Quakes led the league in assists with 62. A whopping 14 players scored goals for the team in '05. Anyone who appeared in more than 14 games for the team—including forwards, midfielders, and defenders—scored a goal for the Quakes.

Does that still seem "weird" to you? The '05 Quakes were among the best teams MLS has ever seen, and their unbeaten home record was just a reflection of their talent and commitment.

Jay Hipps, Soccer Silicon Valley

A.C. said...

Jay, my comment was about the stadium itself, not the fans in it. The dimensions of Spartan were smaller than any other league field, not to mention that the concrete walls were so close to the field of play.

You can pump up the record of the 2005 Earthquakes all you want, but that doesn't change the two things I cited. The team was one of the few to escape any Gold Cup impact (which no doubt also helped their road record) and the Spartan confines threw off other teams to an extreme degree.

Those were the exact reasons that i contrasted Chivas USA's performance in those two aspects - they did lose numerous players to international tournaments, and they don't have anything in the layout of their field that is an inherant advantage.

You can claim you're not impressed by their performance, but my post explained why I was.

blahblah said...

Hmmmm, let the rivalry re-commense? Yeah yeah, I know you're referring to Chivas but they still *technically* reside in LA.

Anonymous said...

Spartan has hosted Women's World Cup matches. It's not as small as you think.