Hoesen delivers lone goal in vital victory
SAN JOSE >> It was a mustwin game for the Earthquakes. The players knew it. The coaches knew it. The fans knew it.
Danny Hoesen decided to do something about it.
The Quakes came out hunting for an early goal against the Houston Dynamo. After a couple of close calls by Vako and Marco Urena that just missed the target, Hoesen brought the crowd at Avaya Stadium to its feet with a beauty of a goal in the 33rd minute that ended up being the difference-maker in Saturday’s 1-0 MLS victory.
Hoesen’s goal materialized after Kofi Sarkodie provided him with a perfect cross from the right side of the field. The Dutch striker stopped the pass with his right foot, then seamlessly transferred the ball to his left foot for a booming strike that flew past Houston goalkeeper Tyler Deric and found the left side of the net.
Hoesen has admittedly been frustrated with his lack of starts this year. After his much-hyped arrival to the club in the offseason, Hoesen has had to come off the bench for nearly half of the year. He cracked the starting lineup against Houston and seized his chance.
“Obviously I was not happy to be on the bench. Nobody is,” Hoesen said. “When you get a chance to play you have to try and take advantage of the opportunity. Make it hard for the coaches to put you on the bench again.”
It was only his third goal of the season, but none have been bigger from the first-year Quake as this one sealed the victory and leapfrogged San Jose over Houston, FC Dallas, and Real Salt Lake into a playoff spot at fifth place in the Western Conference with five games remaining.
“He’s probably been on the wrong decision, on my part, of picking a guy over him. Credit to him he’s trained and been extremely professional through all of this,” Earthquakes coach Chris Leitch said. “His touch was first-class. You like to see big players show up in big games and Danny made a huge impact tonight.”
Given the circumstances surrounding the two clubs in the standings heading into the matchup, forward Marco Urena felt anything less than victory over Houston would have been a failure. Two of his near-goals that sailed just over the top of the post late in Saturday’s win highlighted the aggressiveness displayed by the Quakes as they battle to end a four-year playoff drought.
• Chris Wondolowski made his 251st career appearance, passing Ramiro Corrales for most appearances in Quakes history. “This one really sneaks up on you,” Wondolowski said. “I saw my first appearance when I came on and I remember that like it was yesterday. I remember each one pretty vividly. You tell me the game, I’ll tell you what happened. It’s pretty crazy to think about that.”