The U23 San Jose Earthquakes PDL (Premier Development League) squad, based out of Turlock, began the 2014 season last weekend after back-to-back road games against the Ventura County Fusion and the OC Blues where the Quakes managed to pull away with two 1-1 draws.
Two red cards in both games robbed the U23 team of an opportunity to pick up a win over the weekend as they struggled to create any chances. Solid defense, anchored by goalkeeper Jesus “Chuy” Guzman, helped the Quakes to secure the tie.
“We are trying to work on the little things, like giving up a silly goal. We’re going to address that, but it is PDL. PDL is about bringing a bunch of guys together over the course of four weeks roughly, and meshing them and that proves to be challenging at times, but also fun,” SJ Earthquakes PDL head coach Dana Taylor said.
In Friday’s game against Ventura, the Quakes managed to capture a goal with a man down in the 80th minute of action after a Daniel Kuczynski cross set up Matt Sheldon nicely for the game tying score to make it one apiece near the end.
The red card came with less than 20 minutes left in regulation and the defense was pressured to hold on for the tie with the help of Guzman at keeper.
“Jesus [Guzman], who has played at such a high level, is the number four goalkeeper for the San Jose Earthquakes first team. He was brilliant in games one and two and has just been off this week, that’s not indicative to what he brings; everyone seems to make mistakes at the wrong time right now and that is also us trying to fine tune and put the right players in the right spots,” Taylor said.
In the second contest on Saturday against the OC Blues, the red card came with under 15 minutes of play as Nicholas Cashmere was kicked out of the game for a hard tackle and once again the Quakes found themselves with only 10 players on the pitch.
Being down a goal for the second consecutive night and nearly 80 minutes of play, the Quakes managed to sneak in their game tying score later in the second half—again—with a Kuczynski strike to make it one-one as the match would end exactly the same for the Quakes in consecutive nights.
“Two very good results especially on the road,” assistant head coach Mark Bickham said. “We held on so it is a really good result for us.”
The Polish-born Kuczynski was a part of both scores over the weekend as he picked up an assist and goal in the pair of games.
With both draws, the Quakes are 0-2-0 heading into today’s game against the BYU Cougars in Utah.
The game can be streamed through YouTube at the PDL channel.