The San Jose Earthquakes U23 team ended its winless streak of five games with a victory on Friday night at Warrior Stadium on the campus of California State University, Stanislaus after trouncing the Real Colorado Foxes, 1-0.
In only their second contest at home, the Quakes managed to put up their first win of the season after Luis Martinez received a cross from Seth Casiple with less than five minutes left in the contest and managed to finish with a strike.
“I just wanted to put it in because it’s been rough these past few weeks, but we're lucky we finally got that goal,” Martinez said. “As a team we collectively have been working super hard in practice and this is the result of it, I felt we deserved it.”
“When we miss chances, hope on them to get the next one. Luis missed an open opportunity early in the game when I looked for him but I told him he would get another and he would make that one and here we are,” Casiple said.
After the win the Earthquakes are 1-3-2, but most importantly it puts them right back into the hunt of the division leaders trailing the third place Fresno Fuego and Ventura County Fusion by only one point.
The control of the game was there from the start of the pitch for the Earthquakes U23 team that managed to strike at the goal seven times to the Foxes' three by the halfway mark.
There were countless opportunities early on, especially from Martinez who shot a nice strike in the third minute, but a save from Colorado’s Miguel Rosales proved to be far superior.
Colorado continued to play a bit slower—yet very defensive—backing up eight to nine players in the back line before the Earthquakes counter was settled.
“It is nice to win, but you know this is so much different than college. Looking at the opposition, they have a lot of men. Men that are older than our team, which they play great defense and settled back there, defending and keeping their shape,” said Earthquakes U23 head coach Dana Taylor.
The low scoring affair continued for most of the game due to the tight back line played by Colorado, but finally nearing the 87th minute, Casiple was able to knock in a cross from over 30 yards into Martinez’ possession and he worked his way inside the 10 yard mark and drained a soft shot under the keepers' arm for the game winner as the crowd grew wild.
Goalkeeper Evan Finney made the start over Jesus Guzman and made clutch saves when the time arose, especially in the closing minutes.
“I knew we needed a goal even though I was tired...We just get more confidence with ourselves, because we did everything right except for that last thing. That goal lifted our spirits and showed we can do it,” said Martinez.
The Earthquakes will return to play at home at 7 p.m. today as they host the BYU Cougars who are second in the Mountain Division with a current record of 7-5-2.