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 San Jose Earthquakes

San Jose Edged on Road to Open 2024 MLS Season; Home Opener Next Saturday

February 24, 2024 - Major League Soccer (MLS)
San Jose Earthquakes News Release


FRISCO, TX - The San Jose Earthquakes fell 2-1 to FC Dallas on Saturday evening at a sold-out Toyota Stadium to open the 2024 Major League Soccer season.

The Earthquakes jumped ahead early in the sixth minute when forward Benji Kikanović tapped in the rebound past Maarten Paes after the Dallas goalkeeper deflected a Jack Skahan shot in the box. The hosts equalized in the 26th minute following a corner kick when midfielder Asier Illarramendi's left-footed attempt from outside the box found the back of the net.

Kikanović continued to threaten the net in the second half and almost made it a brace with three shots on target between the 48th and 53th minutes, but Paes denied him each time. In the 73rd minute, Logan Farrington's deep attempt for Dallas was batted away by a diving Daniel, who made seven saves on the night for San Jose.

The final moments were a back-and-forth affair. In the 87th minute, San Jose debutant Amahl Pellegrino sailed a shot from the left wing just outside the far post. However, FC Dallas would come up with the game-winner when in the 94th minute, a deflection in the box fortuitously bounced to an opportunistic Dante Sealy, who scored the final goal.

The Quakes will now return to San Jose in preparation for their first ever California Clásico home opener at PayPal Park on Saturday, March 2. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. PT and will be broadcast globally on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV, as well as on local radio via KTCT 1050 AM (English) and KZSF 1370 AM (Spanish).

GAME NOTES

San Jose now holds a 29-22-22 record against FC Dallas, including a 12-14-10 record away.

After netting twice in the preseason, forward Benji Kikanović stayed hot with his sixth-minute goal - the 12th of his young MLS career.

Dating back to last regular season and Audi MLS Cup Playoffs, head coach Luchi Gonzalez's first campaign at the helm in San Jose, a whopping 29 out of 36 games during his tenure have been decided by one goal or less.

Defender Vítor Costa (66th minute) and forward Amahl Pellegrino (74th minute) made their MLS and Earthquakes debuts tonight. Forward Preston Judd (66th minute) and midfielder Alfredo Morales (73rd minute) made their Quakes debuts.

MATCH INFORMATION

FC Dallas 2 - 1 San Jose Earthquakes

Saturday, February 24, 2024 - Toyota Stadium; Frisco, TX

Attendance: 19,096

Scoring Summary:

SJ - Benji Kikanović (unassisted) 6'

DAL - Asier Illarramendi (unassisted) 26'

DAL - Dante Sealy (unassisted) 90+4'

Misconduct Summary:

SJ - Carlos Gruezo (caution) 21'

SJ - Rodrigues (caution) 45'

FC DALLAS: Maarten Paes; Nkosi Tafari, Sebastien Ibeagha, Sam Junqua; Dante Sealy, Asier Illarramendi, Liam Fraser (Sebastian Lletget 90+6'); Herbert Endeley (Ema Twamusi 61'); Paul Arriola (C), Logan Farrington, Bernard Kamungo (Eugene Ansah 84').

Substitutes not used: Jimmy Maurer (GK), Omar Gonzalez, Nolan Norris, Patrickson Delgado, Tomas Pondeca.

SHOTS: 22; SHOTS ON GOAL: 9; CORNER KICKS: 8; SAVES: 4; FOULS: 8; EXPECTED GOALS: 2.4

SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES: Daniel; Paul Marie (Vítor Costa 66'), Tanner Beason, Rodrigues, Carlos Akapo; Carlos Gruezo (Michael Baldisimo 90+6'), Jackson Yueill (C), Jack Skahan (Alfredo Morales 73'); Benji Kikanović (Amahl Pellegrino 74'), Jeremy Ebobisse (Preston Judd 66'), Cristian Espinoza .

Substitutes not used: William Yarbrough (GK), Daniel Munie, Tommy Thompson, Ousseni Bouda.

SHOTS: 10; SHOTS ON GOAL: 6; CORNER KICKS: 1; SAVES: 7; FOULS: 15; EXPECTED GOALS: 1.7

SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES HEAD COACH LUCHI GONZALEZ

On his overall impressions of tonight's game:

"I felt really good about what we did for 93 minutes. I liked a lot of the pressure we got on the ball. The front three worked really hard to deny central passes, build pressure on the three center backs, and make it difficult. [FC Dallas is] a very good team on the ball. We saw in preseason they were excellent in breaking lines centrally, and I thought we took that away for most of the game. We created issues and offensive transition and good moments of higher possession. We still need to keep working on some quality when the game gets a little chaotic. Can we get on the ball and keep it a little bit more, be a little more patient, [and] find a better chance to get the cross or shot?"

On the deciding sequence in stoppage time:

"I like a lot of the things we did for 93 minutes, but it was really disappointed with 30 seconds left to get disorganized there. We needed numbers in the midfield and gave up not just the initial shot, but multiple shots. They went for it, and credit to them. But I have no doubt that we can and will earn more points home or away. I feel good about our performance. We want to get better and we have the opportunity to do that against [LA] Galaxy."

On Benji Kikanović's performance on the left wing and debutant substitute Amahl Pellegrino:

"We played well, with our pressure and our offensive transition. We could've scored two, three goals. Benji scored one and created more opportunities. [Amahl] Pellegrino, too. We're disappointed we couldn't come away with the point, but we'll keep working and I have faith in the group to respond against the [LA] Galaxy."


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