With local dignitaries, including San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, San Jose Earthquakes President Dave Kaval and President and Chief Elected Officer of Avaya, Kevin Kennedy present, the ribbon was cut on the 18,000–seat Avaya Stadium on Feb. 27.
Made with redwood paneling accents reclaimed from Moffett Field’s Hangar One, Avaya Stadium, which sits just outside the Santa Clara borders on Coleman Avenue, will be home to the Earthquakes and is the first cloud–enabled MLS stadium, with the largest outdoor bar in North America.
“What a historic day for San Jose and the Quakes,” said Kaval. “We are so fired up to open up this new Avaya Stadium. We are just so thrilled to bring this new, privately financed stadium online for San Jose. It’s been a 40–year history of the Earthquakes, here in the South Bay, and we’ve never had our own home. We’ve always been renting from someone else and not having your own home means you don’t actually have somewhere that you can call your own and there’s always uncertainty about how long you will be in the community. And, now, with our own stadium; with a state–of–the–art stadium that actually can fulfill the fan promise that so many of you fans and community members have given to us over the years, it really is going to be a bright future for us. So we are super excited.”
The ribbon cutting was just the beginning for Avaya. The Quakes quickly embraced the team’s new home by hosting the Los Angeles Galaxy on Feb. 28 when San Jose beat Los Angeles 3–2.
With ticket sales capped at 10,000, midfielder Shea Salinas notched the first goal in competition in the 42nd minute. Salinas, dribbling through traffic, caromed the ball off Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez to give the Quakes the lead going into the half.
In the 58th, JJ Koval doubled San Jose’s tally with an assist by Chis Wondolowski. Koval, off Wondo’s header, sent the ball from the top of the penalty area past Galaxy keeper Brian Rowe, putting the Quakes up 2–0.
Less than 10 minutes later, L.A. responded, off a Jose Villareal header in the 58th that keeper David Bingham got his hands on, but couldn’t deflect out of the net. It only took two minutes for the Quakes to answer as Adam Jahn headed a Perez Garcia corner kick into the net.
With time winding down and the Quakes carrying a two–goal lead into the final 10, the Galaxy got one more off a chip from Stefan Ishizaki.
“Today was a preseason game, so you don’t want to get too carried away, but it’s a great occasion for a lot of reasons,” said head coach Dominic Kinnear. “Yesterday’s ribbon cutting, I thought, was perfect, and the words that were spoken by many people who were involved in the building of the stadium, I thought was very appropriate. And then today, with the fans and the opponent, I thought overall it was a real good day. [It’s] nice to see some goals, so the fans are somewhat happy about that. The home team wins, which is good, and like I said, the stadium’s beautiful.”
San Jose opens its 2015 regular season on Saturday, March 7 at 5:30 p.m. against FC Dallas at Toyota Stadium.