San Jose Earthquakes Come Up Short in Slippery Opener Against Real Salt Lake

Patrick HightowerContributor IMarch 20, 2011

SANTA CLARA, CA - MARCH 19: Chris Wondolowski #8 of the San Jose Earthquakes takes a shot on goal during their game against Real Salt Lake at Buck Shaw Stadium on March 19, 2011 in Santa Clara, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The San Jose Earthquakes continue to build upon last year's success. It is clear that San Jose is eager and ready to surpass its playoff run from last season. Last season, the Earthquakes finished tied for fifth in the Western Conference with 46 points and a 13-10-7 record.

The Earthquakes fell to the eventual MLS champions, the Colorado Rapids, last season. However, that small margin of defeat has not discouraged any Earthquake players.  

The Earthquakes have been working on improving a handful of areas which will help them advance even further toward an MLS championship. One of those areas is the depth at the goalkeeper position. With Joe Cannon gone, Jon Busch is now ready to assume the starting role.  What will be interesting to watch, as the season progresses, is the competition between David Bingham and Andrew Weber to be backup goalkeeper.  

Also, with the Earthquakes' installation of the 4-3-3 system, many will agree that the team will certainly be making the proper strides to improve upon last year's results.

In the first half, both teams had trouble establishing control of the ball at midfield. With Real Salt Lake’s physical style of play in the middle of the field, Earthquakes midfielder Sam Cronin drew a yellow card in the sixth minute, and Earthquakes defenseman Chris Leitch drew a yellow card in the 36th minute.  

Earthquakes goalkeeper Jon Busch gave great contributions with a key save in the 62nd minute. Unfortunately, he was not able to stop Real Salt Lake’s midfielder and captain Kyle Beckerman’s shot in the 63rd minute of the match.  

The Earthquakes had multiple opportunities via corner kicks in the final 15 minutes of the game, but were unfortunately unable to find the net.

Real Salt Lake escaped with a road victory over the San Jose Earthquakes, 1-0.