The San Jose Earthquakes U23 team are back in the playoff race after capturing wins against the Southern California Seahorses last Saturday at Warrior Stadium then beating down the Fresno Fuego, 3-2, in Thursday’s battle in Fresno.
“We talked about this before, what we were missing was we were so close in getting a lot of great looks, just didn’t have that little extra to finish, now the goals are coming. We worked on a lot and the guys are believing,” said the Earthquakes U23 head coach Dana Taylor.
The Earthquakes U23 squad have won three of their last four games heading into today's home matchup against the first place Misioneros from Los Angeles.
With Thursday’s win, the Earthquakes U23 team are 3-3-2 with 11 points to show for and have jumped their way into a second place tie in the Southwest Division with the Orange County Pateadores Blues (3-3-2).
In last Saturday’s game, the Earthquakes U23 met the Seahorses for the first time in the year and it became a showcase for the fans in attendance who saw seven goals scored.
After a 1-1 game after the first half, things looked to be tight but both defenses relaxed in the second and five goals were notched, with the ‘Quakes able to close it out at the end with a man down after Joshua Smith closed it in the final minute of play to win it 4-3.
“We just have to be much better at the beginning and not have to come back, makes it exciting for the fans, but we need to be better at boxing out the game and from that creating our chances to finish,” said Taylor.
For the second time in the year the Earthquakes met the Fresno Fuego, who shut them out 2-0 last month, but this time the outcome was different as the Fuego did not expect the ‘Quakes to come out hot on offense in the second half.
A quick 2-0 start for the Fuego after the 27th seemed to set the tempo and pace of the game, but soon after the Earthquakes buckled down and did not allow the Fuego to get another score.
Instead the ‘Quakes were determined for a comeback and two minutes before the first half ended, Daniel Kirkland knocked in the first goal after grabbing the penalty kick rebound in which he missed initially but the opposing keeper failed to hold on.
Joshua Smith then leveled the game out at the 47th after Kirkland’s corner kick was placed with accuracy for Smith to jam in the game-tying goal.
Nicholas Cashmere found the back of the net for the game-winner in the 80th minute after sprinting his way down the field after Gabriel Silveira assisted him on a near perfect breakaway to catapult his team into playoff contention.
“Two games in a row is huge and big points. Now we will have to be ready and I think we will, the guys will show up and be ready for this next game,” Taylor said. “We can’t worry about points, we just need to show up and be ready to go, that’s our biggest thing. They will come out strong but we will come out stronger and I will bring out a lineup to reflect that.”
The next game for the Earthquakes U23 team will be a significant home contest against the first place Misioneros at 7 p.m. today.