San Jose Earthquakes kick off 2017 Season with win over Montreal

SAN JOSE, Calif. — The magic number for the Earthquakes defense on Saturday night was zero.

That’s how many shots on target and goals the Montreal Impact managed at Avaya Stadium, playing in front of an announced crowd of 18,000 to kick off the new MLS season.

This year’s new-look Quakes, assembled by newly minted general manager Jesse Fioranelli and led by Chris Wondolowski and a few new faces, defeated Montreal 1-0 during the season opener, it was the first time in six tries San Jose defeated the Impact. While Anibal Godoy’s tally in the 17th minute accounted for the night’s scoring, it was enough for the Quakes, and furthered Montreal’s losing streak when trailing at halftime to 11 matches.

The score was set up by Wondolowski, who played Godoy into space, allowing the midfielder to chip the ball over the head of Montreal goalkeeper Evan Bush. Wondolowski — who is just 24 goals shy of MLS goalscoring leader Landon Donovan — nearly opened the scoring on the night, streaking down the field during the second minute of play, his header skimmed just over the crossbar.

Costa Rican national Marco Urenã started up front, while another of San Jose’s offseason acquisitions, defender Florian Jungwirth, made his inaugural start in his first MLS game alongside Victor Bernardez. Homegrown players Tommy Thompson and Nick Lima also cracked the starting lineup after playing respectably during the preseason.

Lima ran for the entirety of the match, and did an exceptional job dispatching Montreal’s Ignacio Piatti. Normally a catalyst of the Impact’s offense, Piatti was held to just a single shot — his sent the right-footed attempt wide of goal from further than 35 yards out — and was not allowed to create a single chance thanks to Lima’s defensive tactics.

Albanian national Jahmir Hyka and Dutch striker Danny Hoesen were left out of the starting lineup, both entered the game in the second half as substitutes.

While manager Dominic Kinnear stopped short of saying this is the greatest Quakes team that’s been assembled since his 2015 arrival, he does see promise.

“I like the roster we have put together,” Kinnear said. “You can’t necessarily base it off one game, but it does show us the potential.”

This Quakes team is all about a healthy mixture of young and old, said team captain Chris Wondolowski.

“We have done a great job of infusing our team with some youth and some life,” he said. “These are some talented guys that understand the game and believe in our system and how we play.”

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