In soccer, anything can happen at any time. And not just in the World Cup.
This past weekend was just one example as the San Jose Earthquakes U23 team handed the Los Angeles Misioneros FC squad their first loss of the season after the 'Quakes won in a convincing 5-0 shutout at home.
“I think it’s remarkable how quick a group of guys came together, but I mean that is part of what we’re trying to do is take top collegiate players who play throughout the country which we don’t see often and get this opportunity to shape them up and see if they rise to the top and that’s what is happening,” said Earthquakes head coach Dana Taylor.
“You can get wrapped up knowing you’re playing the best team or go out calmly and just let it go, kind of like Mexico so far, the guys know they're good enough to be atop but the situation is that we're so new and young in age group,” Taylor added.
In their first meeting of the season against the first place Misioneros (4-1-3), the Earthquakes U23 (4-4-2) came out with a cool mentality and were able to execute with precision at full strength.
The Earthquakes are currently tied with the OC Blues in total points with 14 behind the Misioneros and Ventura County Fusion, which each have 15 in the Southwest Division heading into the final four contests of the season.
Daniel Kuczynski broke the game wide open in the 15th minute of play for his team after Luis Martinez came up with the assist and Kuczynski tucked the goal in with his right foot.
This would be the only score needed for the win but by the half the ‘Quakes had jumped out to a big 4-0 lead as Kuczynski scored in the 41st minute to go up by four goals and to add his second score of the game.
Things slowed down offensively in the second, but not entirely as the Earthquakes U23 ended it in the 56th minute after Martinez struck gold with his second goal of the night after bending a shot in from about 27 yards out on the left hand side and curled it just inside the upper 90.
“The final goal from Luiz [Martinez] was brilliant, kind of like Jermaine Jones' goal against Portugal… it was a great. It was a bomb… It was the best goal this year for sure,” Taylor said. “The guys have done a remarkable job of blending.”
The Earthquakes U23 team has only four contests left, but will have a bye week coming up and will next play the Ventura County Fusion at 7 p.m. July 5 at Warrior Stadium.
“Regardless how the games go, the number one thing is to see these guys develop through the summer and project out of this crop of guys who will come back next year and be guys that in the future are looking down the road,” Taylor added.