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2013 MLS Beer-view: San Jose Earthquakes

Editor's Note: The 2013 Major League Soccer season is underway! You've read your season predictions, team-by-team capsules, and all sorts of talk on the state of American soccer. Season eighteen is an important benchmark as it passes the seventeen that the last attempt at professional soccer, the North American Soccer League (version 1.0), in the U.S. survived for.

And while you might be celebrating your side's first victory or scratching your head over their first lost… there's one thing that's been missing from all these early MLS musings… beer.

By Robert Jonas / CenterLine Soccer and Quake, Rattle, and Goal!

The San Jose Earthquakes were the best team in the league last year — maybe not in November, when the chase was on for MLS Cup, but certainly from March to October. After a promising preseason, when an eclectic group of newcomers and returning players slowly meshed together into something greater than the sum of their parts, the Quakes started the regular season off strong. For 34 games they put out a consistently effective effort that didn’t stop after 90 minutes, but went well into stoppage time. These, after all, were the never-say-die “Goonies,” and they rode their success all the way to the 2012 Supporters’ Shield.

For 2013, with the recipe for making the team settled upon, the Earthquakes hope to continue winning awards and making an impact in MLS. Starting off the season without a few key ingredients — most notably the twin towers up top Steven Lenhart and Alan Gordon — head coach Frank Yallop will try to tease some of the same flavor of play from the rest of the roster for at least a few nervous weeks. Something might not smell quite right at Buck Shaw Stadium in March, but no doubt by the summer the fireworks will be back on display.

A hard working, blue collar bunch, the Earthquakes added sparkplug forward Mike Fucito in the preseason. Following his three-stop international tour of MLS teams in 2012, Fucito lands in San Jose with a chip on his shoulder and a tireless energy to perform. Paired up top with defending MLS MVP Chris Wondolowski, who also arrived in San Jose after a similarly anonymous start to his career, Fucito will have every opportunity to make Quakes fans join the choir in singing his praises.

Little else changes for the Earthquakes this season — why mess with a good thing? — except for the target opposing teams humiliated in 2012 have put on their backs. After the disappointment of crashing out in the first round of the playoffs to arch rivals and eventual champions LA Galaxy, these Quakes see only winning MLS Cup as their goal. Get healthy, stay healthy, and play motivated, and the club could be celebrating their third ever championship by December.

Beer Selection: Russian River Brewing Co. “Pliny the Elder” (Santa Rosa, CA)

Opening up a bottle of Pliny the Elder, an explosion of hoppy aroma bursts forth and fills the nose with a lusciousness that belies this double IPA’s smooth finish. Like a late match Goonies attack on an opposing defense, Pliny overwhelms the taste buds with a richness that lasts until the last drop. Quite intoxicating at a whopping 8.0% ABV, a couple rounds of Pliny will have you waking up the next morning with your head feeling like you just battled Steven Lenhart for 90 minutes. An award winner and arguably the best local brew in the Bay Area, Pliny the Elder is to beer what the Earthquakes are to MLS.

Tags: Beer, Major League Soccer, The Best of Both Worlds

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