San Jose Earthquakes

Cristian Espinoza Scores Twice; San Jose Remains Unbeaten at PayPal Park

April 2, 2023 - Major League Soccer (MLS)
San Jose Earthquakes News Release

SAN JOSE, Calif. - The San Jose Earthquakes defeated Houston Dynamo FC 2-1 on Saturday night at PayPal Park in San Jose, Calif. Quakes forward Cristian Espinoza scored twice to help San Jose stay unbeaten at home in 2023 (3-0-1). The Earthquakes are now 11-2-2 all-time when Espinoza scores.

San Jose took an early lead on a penalty kick earned and converted by Espinoza in the seventh minute. Houston equalized with a penalty kick of their own late in the second half before the Earthquakes regained the lead on another penalty by Espinoza in the 65th minute.

Cristian Espinoza scores the game-winning goal

The Earthquakes will now hit the road to face the New York Red Bulls on Saturday, April 8. The match will kick off from Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey at 4:30 p.m. PT and will be streamed globally on MLS Season Pass (Apple TV), as well as on local radio via 810 AM The Spread (English) and 1370 KZSF (Spanish).


The Earthquakes hold a 3-2-1 record (10 pts.) the 2023 regular season, including an unbeaten 3-0-1 record at home. San Jose is currently in fifth place in the 14-team Western Conference.

San Jose has now earned 10 points from their first four home matches of the 2023 MLS regular season. The Quakes have earned 10+ points from their first four home matches of a season for just the third time in club history (2002, 2016).

San Jose is now 10-16-4 all-time vs. Houston Dynamo FC, including an 8-5-3 record at home. The Quakes have defeated Houston for the first time since June 26, 2019, snapping a four-match winless streak against the club (0-3-1). San Jose has scored at least one goal in 10 consecutive matches against Dynamo FC dating back to 2017.

Forward Cristian Espinoza scored his second and third goals of the season, and 17th and 18th of his MLS career. Espinoza has now successfully converted seven penalty kicks in a row and has made seven of eight overall during his MLS career. It marked the second multi-goal game of his career (3 vs. Seattle Sounders FC on April 23, 2022). The Quakes are now 11-2-2 all-time when Espinoza scores. Espinoza is now tied for the fourth most game-winning goals in club history (8).

The Quakes are 3-1-0 in four matches against Western Conference opposition this season.


2023 MLS Regular Season

San Jose Earthquakes 2 - 1 Houston Dynamo FC

Saturday, April 1, 2023 - PayPal Park in San Jose, Calif.

Attendance: 12,786

Scoring Summary:

SJ (1-0) - Cristian Espinoza (penalty) 7'

HOU (1-1) - Amine Bassi (penalty) 42'

SJ (2-1) - Cristian Espinoza (penalty) 65'

Misconduct Summary:

SJ - Jonathan Mensah (caution) 17'

SJ - Carlos Akapo (caution) 33'

HOU - Daniel Steres (caution) 44'

SJ - Jamiro Monteiro (caution) 59'

HOU - Franco Escobar (caution) 64'

SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES: JT Marcinkowski; Paul Marie, Rodrigues, Jonathan Mensah, Carlos Akapo; Michael Baldisimo (Judson 61'), Jackson Yueill ©, Jamiro Monteiro (Tanner Beason 90+3'); Cade Cowell (Benji Kikanović 86'), Jeremy Ebobisse (Ousseni Bouda 86'), Cristian Espinoza.

Substitutes not used: Oskar Ågren, Emi Ochoa (GK), Jack Skahan, Tommy Thompson, Miguel Trauco.


HOUSTON DYNAMO FC: Steve Clark; Ethan Bartlow, Daniel Steres, Teenage Hadebe, Tate Schmitt (Franco Escobar 38'); Artur, Amine Bassi (Nelson Quinones 76'), Hector Herrera ©, Coco Carrasquilla, Brooklyn Raines (Ivan Franco 56'); Corey Baird (Sebastian Ferreira 76').

Substitutes not used: Luis Caicedo, Griffin Dorsey, Micael dos Santos, Andrew Tarbell (GK), Thor Ulfarsson.



On tonight's match vs. Houston Dynamo FC:

"These games never have a clear one solution for all of them to win. We talked after the Toronto game about having more initiative, urgency in the first half. Let's go get our first home goal in the first half and I am proud of the guys to accomplish that. Disappointed with conceding that penalty kick. I am not sure about the call. I have to look at it with more detail but Houston's a good team. Look, they won two in a row at home. They've got a midfield trio that I would say is up there with the best in the league and they can put passes together and hurt you and break lines and create. So, we knew that defensively we want to pressure on the ball. We knew we were going to have to recover centrally, press was broken, and that is a collective effort. Look, in the second half we pushed but they pushed and we were able to earn our penalty kick. I know you are saying maybe not creating the run of play. But we did have a good expected goals. I think it was almost three expected goals which is maybe the highest expected goals we've had in the season. I know that includes the penalty kicks, I understand that, but we did create the penalty kicks and that's part of it. So, we have to be happy with creation, volume of getting shots and crosses in the box continues to be positive. We put a bit more on the frame tonight and I think that's why it bounced our way. But credit to Houston, they're a good team. They battled and made it difficult, and we had moments where we had to suffer and get behind the ball and defend especially there at the end. So, proud of our group, we'll grab it. Very important three points at home and now we have to rest and recover and go play a very difficult Red Bull [New York Red Bulls] team away."

On forward Cristian Espinoza's game-winning performance:

"Cristian stepped up and put two penalty kicks away. It's never easy to score a second penalty kick after the first because it ends up being that dual with the keeper. But he showed great confidence to step up and to put it away. He trains that. He's always prepared. In training he's putting high level work rate, concentration, great mentality. He doesn't show a lot of emotion, just wants to work and stay in the moment and he shows that weekly in training. So, we are not surprised by him grabbing opportunities and showing a performance like tonight on the field. He's a great example to our team, all ages, and experiences. So, happy and proud for Cristian. Very valuable for the club and hopefully for seasons to come and him helping us reach our potential as a team as we continue to compete this season. Cristian is a player that will obviously put in maximum effort but also has technique, quality, creativity, creating shots, setting up and combing to set up crosses with his full back, with his interior players, and always with a smile on his face. It's just a big pleasure to coach him and we want to continue to support him so he can keep helping us perform."

On midfielder Jamiro Monteiro's return from national team duty:

"Great to have him back from national team duty, helping in terms of creativity between the lines and accelerating the attack. Whether he gets the end product or not, I care more about his intentions, his ideas, why and how he does things. I think over time it can bounce his way. Get the assist, get the goal. But I am happy with his return back to the team."


On his performance coming back to the team:

"First, I am really happy to be back and get three points. Yeah, I was cramping. I was flying for two days, and today I was a little bit tired so that's why I think that I was cramping today. But I feel great. I am happy to be here, happy to be back, and happy to be getting three points."

On his confidence going into next week's away game:

"I am really confident, and I think that everybody is really confident. We have a great team, great coach, and we are really confident. Every game we try to give everything we have. I hope we continue like this and keep on this path, and I can't wait for next week."

On what has helped the defense improve from last season:

"We focus a lot on defending. Like you said, last year we had a lot of goals against us. Now we are doing good in moments when we are losing balls in the midfield or in the attack. We try to be as fast as possible together and close the space, so we can make it difficult for the other team. I hope we continue like this and continue to prevent goals."

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