June 19, 2003
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Earning $850 per month as a developmental player, Jamil Walker probably would be making more money now had he stayed at Santa Clara University and completed his studies this spring.
``Yeah, it's not much,'' the rookie forward said of his salary, which would equate to just more than $5 an hour were he working 40-hour weeks.
But Wednesday at the new Home Depot Center, Walker earned something you can't buy. He scored his first Major League Soccer goal, lifting the Earthquakes into a 1-1 tie against the Los Angeles Galaxy.
As he spoke to reporters after the match, however, Walker's finances weren't on his mind. He had come on in the 61st minute before 13,867 fans, in a stadium that can seem bigger than it is.
With an arching white roof hanging over most of the stands, noise that would otherwise disappear into the sky is kept in. And it was in this atmosphere -- with the injury-riddled Earthquakes down 1-0 and on the brink of defeat -- that Walker knocked in a perfectly placed cross from Ian Russell in the 63rd.
``It was an easy one,'' Walker said of the play, which Brian Mullan initiated by spinning around a Galaxy defender at the top of the penalty area and leading Russell toward the right end line.
The goal gave the Earthquakes (5-2-3) a valuable point and kept the good times rolling; last weekend they won at Dallas. San Jose moved back atop the league standings, tied with Chicago at 18 points, and four of its next five matches will be at Spartan Stadium.
Los Angeles, meanwhile, saw its two-game win streak snapped, and the defending champions fell to 2-4-5.
Coach Frank Yallop was again pleased with effort of his young players, whom he has been forced to play because of an array of injuries and Landon Donovan's call-up to the U.S. national team. Chris Roner, a second-year player, and rookie Todd Dunivant played All-Star-caliber soccer at outside back. And rookie midfielder Arturo Alvarez helped negate the Galaxy's Ezra Hendrickson.
``We have guidelines within the team, and they know what to do,'' Yallop said.
With even some of their available players injured to some degree, the Earthquakes fell behind in the 21st minute when Sasha Victorine soared over Ramiro Corrales and headed home a corner kick from Cobi Jones.
The Earthquakes nearly leveled the score in the 26th minute when Alvarez slanted a quick pass from the right sideline to Todd Dunivant. Dunivant darted into the penalty area uninterrupted and made a sharp pass that Craig Waibel just missed.