SAN JOSE, Calif. -- The Earthquakes promised to open the season with more energy -- and more goals -- than they displayed in the preseason, and on Sunday in front of a packed house at Avaya Stadium, they delivered with a solid, though not spectacular, 1-0 win against the Colorado Rapids.
"The season opener is always good to win," said head coach Dominic Kinnear. "We played okay today -- we could definitely play better. At time, we looked good, and at times, we looked a little bit disjointed."
After a first half in which both the Quakes and the Rapids tested each other out without threatening either's goal, Chris Wondolowski broke the deadlock one minute after the halftime restart with a well placed header past goalkeeper Zac MacMath off a cross from new signing Alberto Quintero.
"It was a really good header by Chris and a nice touch on the ball by Alberto," said Kinnear. "It was good that his first game was marked by something on the scoreboard."
On the defensively side of the ball, the Earthquakes were near flawless, with goalkeeper David Bingham picking up this season where he finished off the last -- making the plays that matter and earning his first clean sheet of 2016.
"It was important for us to get the win," said Bingham. "And we got the shutout today, which was nice."
Employing the same Starting XI that defeated the New York Cosmos 1-0 a week ago, the Earthquakes looked lethargic to open the game. Wing play was not effective for San Jose, as Colorado comfortably defended the sidelines. Only goalkeeper David Bingham had much to do in the game's first 45 minutes, making some well-timed saves and playing the role of chief ball distributor.
The teams headed to the locker room scoreless at the half, neither side looking too threatening on offense for the entire first half.
As the teams retook the pitch to start the second half, the Quakes went right back to route one soccer. A ball into the center of the park was deflected into open space by Amarikwa, and he picked out Quintero wide open on the right. The Panamanian international took a look into the box and spied Wondolowski among the Rapids defenders and placed a cross right onto his head. Wondo did the rest, redirecting the ball past a diving MacMath.
Going down a goal seemed to wake up the Rapids, but the Quakes defense stood tall. Halftime substitute Kip Colvey, who signed a rookie contract with the club just days earlier, looked comfortable at left back replacing injured Shaun Francis, who suffered a right quad strain. Clarence Goodson and Victor Bernardez in the center provided excellent cover, with Big Vic making a key kick-save in the 65th minute to deny the Rapids a shot on goal.
Wondolowski's ability to find the gaps in the Rapids defense nearly paid dividends in the 72' minute when Shea Salinas floated a ball into the penalty area for the captain to head on target. A sprawling save from MacMath denied Wondo the brace.
In the 84th minute, substitute Tommy Thompson had a chance to double the Quakes lead, but his breakaway opportunity was expertly swatted away from MacMath. A perfect through ball from Simon Dawkins initiated the play.
Bingham came up strong to end the game, making an solid save in the 85th minute from an Eric Miller blast from outside the area. Colorado nearly scored in the 90th minute, but a shot glanced off the outside of the post. The minutes ticked down, and with the last touch of the game, Bingham secured a strong shot from the Rapids and saw out the 1-0 victory.