18 July 2007

Welcome back Quakes

Quakes fans can now consider the last two years to be a poorly-timed hiatus. A press conference in Denver today should make it official. Earthquakes 4.0 is expected to start play again in the 2008 season, with a new stadium targeted for the old FMC site in San Jose by (hopefully) 2010. MLS commissioner Don Garber and Quakes principals Lew Wolff and David Alioto are expected to be in attendance. Articles:

They must be open for business, since they're taking deposits for season tickets.

What isn't clear is what the Quakes will use for interim venue(s) until the new SSS (soccer specific stadium) opens. Apparently they've ruled out venerable but decrepit Spartan Stadium, going with a two-pronged approach. Games (er, matches) that require higher capacity may be played at the McAfee Coliseum, where 47,000+ attended a Mexico-Guatemala tilt a few weeks ago. Stanford Stadium may also be a possibility, since it has pretty much perfect sizing for soccer events and admirably hosted last weekend's match (also 47,000+) between Chelsea FC and Club America.

For other games, it's a bit of a dilemma. There are a few venues that are generally too small for MLS games, such as SCU's Buck Shaw Stadium (cap. = 6,800), PAL stadium in SJ (5,000), and Kezar Stadium in SF (9,000). Buck Shaw would seem to be the most logical choice since it's a stone's throw away from the future stadium site and it's undergoing renovations that will benefit the school's excellent soccer programs. A rumor is floating around that the Quakes may even do some kind of barnstorming in an effort to introduce themselves to more of the Bay Area. There's little chance of the Quakes and A's sharing new stadia since both would have their venues under construction at the same time, with the Quakes opening a year earlier.