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Quakes best Seahorses; final game to decide postseason fate
Quakes 2
Maxwell Oldham of the San Jose Earthquakes U23 takes a corner strike during a home game earlier in the season. Oldham struck gold twice in Fridays 4-0 win against the Seahorses. - photo by EDDIE RUIZ / The Journal

Make it five out of six games where the San Jose Earthquakes U23 team has managed to notch a victory, this time in the second meeting against the Southern California squad at La Mirada High on Friday night.

The ‘Quakes U23 toppled the Seahorses with ease, 4-0, as they took over third place in the Southwest Division with a 6-4-3 record heading into their season home finale.

“It was average start, we moved the ball around fine but in the second half we really picked it up,” said Earthquakes head coach Dana Taylor. “We have one game left and were looking forward to coming home and finishing on a positive note.”

A win must occur for the Earthquakes in their final game to stand any chance at the postseason but they must also hope that the Misioneros can either tie or lose in their final contest, thus giving the ‘Quakes a tie, in which case they own the tiebreaker.

Other than the 13th minute the Earthquakes U23 was able to play a stellar defensive game as they did not allow much to cross the back lines with the help of Joshua Smith leading the back.

“The back line keeps growing, when playing defense it’s about communication and comfort level, but for the last eight games our defense has been really good for us,” said Taylor.

The game makers were Matthew Sheldon and Maxwell Oldham who each tallied two goals apiece, leading their team into a third place leap over the Fresno Fuego, trailing only the Misioneros and Ventura Fusion.

The first goal came at about the 25th minute when Maxwell Oldham was able to strike the back of the net after a nice breakaway.

The score remained 1-0 heading into the locker for halftime, but as the coach made substitutions in the second half, the offense peaked.

Three goals later, one by Oldham and the final two by Sheldon, proved that this was all that was needed for the Earthquakes U23 to hold on to the win.

“We have a winning record just a lot of positives right now for us,” Taylor said. “The guys are playing well and moving the ball well.”

Oldham’s second goal came in the 55th minute of action. Sheldon would add his scores in the 65th and 75th minute of play.

“It doesn’t matter who is playing you kind of wear them down and we have a very quick, fast goal and so that made it easier. Once we find the ball and each other’s feet there’s just those opportunities,” said Taylor. “For sure, the early goal always gains confidence and more composure and forces the other team to adjust and change it somewhat.”

Now with the final regular season game at home and an opportunity to make the playoffs in the team’s inaugural year, things look to be going great for the ‘Quakes who must-win.

“First couple games missed some college players but took us a while but very proud of the whole team, everybody has come together,” Taylor said. “I can say that these college players going back to school have improved and will go back with more confidence and I think they developed well.”

The last home game will take place at Warrior Stadium at 7 p.m. Tuesday.