Wha' Happen? 

Do you know the way from San Jose?

SAT 4/2

Landon Donovan is a tough act to follow. The San Jose Earthquakes had a few years to absorb the fact that forward Donovan, one of America's best soccer players, would eventually return to Bayer Leverkusen in the German Bundesliga -- the club that owns his contract. But it doesn't make the job easier now that he has finally gone, along with defender-midfielder Ramiro Corrales, midfielders Ronnie Ekelund and Richard Mulrooney, and gnarled defender and good luck charm Jeff Agoos, all from the 2004 squad. How could president and general manager Alexi Lalas ever fill such a hole? And what's all this talk about the Quakes, who won the MLS Cup title in 2001 and 2003, moving to another market? To begin with, San Jose has reached out for former Earthquakes forwards Dwayne DeRosario and Ronald Cerritos, who both return to Spartan Stadium Saturday evening at 7 p.m. when the team opens its 2005 season vs. the New England Revolution. The future, however, belongs to the likes of forward Brian Ching and midfielder-forward Brian Mullan, both capped veterans and current US team stalwarts. Throw in trusty goalkeeper Pat Onstad and, for the necessary bit o' luck, recent "Player 29" fan sweepstakes winner Joe Pate ... and the Quakes will still probably struggle to compete with the Galaxy and the newly formed Chivas USA. But they'll stay in San Jose, at least until the team gets new owners. SJEarthquakes.com -- Kelly Vance



Too many choices

Spring is here, and a young man's (or woman's) fancy turns to thoughts of wildflower walks in the East Bay outback. Or failing that, a simple hike through those same bosky dells, hold the posies. Save Mount Diablo gives you plenty of choices this week. Thursday at 9 a.m., there's a Wildflower Watch at Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve led by naturalist Sabrina Dussau (register at 925-757-2620). Saturday, take the Fossil Hill Wildflower Walk in Walnut Creek with Jerry Fritzke (925-934-1161). Then on Sunday, hikers can either enjoy the Mangini Ranch Preview excursion through SMD's new acquisition (925-947-3535) or enjoy Views from the East in the Morgan Territory Regional Preserve in East Contra Costa (925-757-2620). Go to SaveMountDiablo.org for lots more outdoor options.-- Kelly Vance


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