‘Game Changer’ Djalo Leads San Jose Earthquakes to 1st Win of Season

The San Jose Earthquakes looked like a whole new team when Yannick Djalo entered the game.

The club grabbed a 1-0 win over Chivas USA, San Jose’s first of the year, thanks to a 69th minute strike from the winger.

“Fantastic finish,” said head coach Mark Watson of Djalo’s first goal with the team. “You’ve got a couple of feet to beat [the keeper] at the front post, and he struck it beautifully. And it snuck inside the post. It’s a tough skill. It may look easy, but it’s certainly not”

After the game, both Alan Gordon and Shea Salinas described the 27-year-old as a “game changer.’ On Saturday night at Buck Shaw Stadium, that was definitely the case.

Djalo entered the contest at the start of the second half, and immediately energized the Quakes’ attack, which had once again sputtered through an uninspiring first-half performance.

“He gives us a different dimension,” said Gordon. ‘Without him we’re pretty one dimensional, so he gives us that x-factor. It’s great to have him.”

While the offense struggled early on, the defense was strong, headlined by a number of impressive plays by central defender Clarence Goodson. Along with striker Chris Wondolowski, Goodson is fighting for a spot on the Untied States World Cup roster.

Meanwhile, Chivas USA had the best chance to get on the scoreboard first. In the 33rd minute, Erick Torres fired wide from close range. In the opening half, the Quakes picked up three yellow cards, as the Chivas USA players appeared content to fall over at the slightest contact.

Ultimately, though, it was Chivas USA who would have a player sent off. In the 77th minute, goal keeper Dan Kennedy earned a red card after the veteran got called for a hand ball outside the box.

Watson was certainly glad that his team finally earned its first win of the season.

“It’s a relief. We still have work to do, but it’s three points. We take it, we run and we get back to work on Monday.”

Up next, the Quakes travel to Canada to take on the Vancouver Whitecaps at BC Place on Saturday, May 3. Vancouver, who is 2-2-3 currently occupy the fifth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Quakes now sit in seventh, with a 1-2-3 record.