Photo credit: @SJEarthquakes
By Marko Ukalovic and Alexandra Evans
SAN JOSE, Calif. — Just when the San Jose Earthquakes (3-13-8) were left for dead, the heroics of their captain Chris Wondolowski, who came off the bench as a sub rescued his team and prevented another home loss in a 1-1 draw with Toronto FC (6-12-6) at Avaya Stadium on Saturday evening. San Jose still only has one win at home on the season.
The first half would go scoreless. However, the Quakes had three great chances to break open the deadlock. In the 22nd minute, Vako dribbled between three defenders inside the box only to have his right foot shot blocked away by Toronto FC goalie Alex Bono.
Vako would create another chance three minutes later when he dribbled in to the right of the box, back flipped the ball to defenseman Joel Quiberg, who made a perfect cross over to Eriksson, whose rocket of a shot was thwarted by Bono.
“Feels like those chances reflect on (how) our season (has gone) so far,” said Eriksson. “We are playing better as a team, creating chances. But we still missed the three points, especially (here) at home.”
The best opportunity for the Quakes came at the 35th minute when Danny Hoesen received a ball from 12 yards out and centered a ball off the hands of Bono that trickled out to the middle of box where Eriksson had a wide-open net to shoot at. His attempt was deflected over the net on a desperation tackle by Justin Morrow.
“From my perspective, it was the best 45 minutes of the season,” said head coach Mikael Stahre. “We created five really big chances in the first half. If we score in the first half, we would win the game.”
Toronto FC’s best chance in the first half came when Marco Delgado centered ball into the middle of the box where Jordan Hamilton was one-on-one with Quakes goalie Andrew Tarbell, but Hamilton was whistled offside at the 17th minute.
Lukas Janson, who made his debut for the defending MLS champions, drew first blood for Toronto FC in the 59th minute after taking a pretty centering feed from Gregory van der Wiel, who came in as a substitution for Ashtone Morgan a minute earlier. Janson tapped the ball into an empty net for his first career MLS goal.
Wondolowski’s equalizer for the Quakes in the 77th minute came on his own rebound. His initial shot from eight yards out was stopped by Bono, but he was not able to hold on to the rebound. Wondolowski crashed the net and kicked the ball into an empty net for his seventh goal on the season.
“You want to prove that you deserve time out there,” said Wondolowski. “Earn minutes anyway you can. I try to make any impact I can. I do like starting though. But I don’t mind coming off the bench.”
San Jose had one last chance to escape with a win late in the match, but Kashia’s header off a Chris Wehan free kick in the second minute of stoppage time sailed wide of the net.
GAME NOTES: Defenseman Shea Salinas had to sit out the game due to a red card he received last week against the Colorado Rapids. Toronto FC was without forward Jozy Altidore and defenseman Chris Mavinga, who were both suspended.
WONDO COUNTDOWN! Wondolowski is now four goals away from the all-time lead in MLS history with 141 goals. Former Quake Landon Donovon is the leader with 145 goals.
Dominic Oduro made his debut for the quakes as a substitute for Eriksson in the 89th minute. Oduro was acquired in a trade on August 8th that sent Quincy Amarikwa to the Montreal Impact.
Guram Kashia received a yellow card in the 52 minute of the match when dragged down Janson.
The Earthquakes are in the midst of a 10-game home winless run (0-5-5), tied for their longest such streak in club history, June–August 2000.
Tarbell has conceded 10 goals from outside the box this season. Since 2010, only one keeper has allowed more such goals in a single season.
Toronto FC has one win in their last seven-league away games (0-3-3), allowing 2+ goals in five of the seven matches.
The overall series is now 5-5-5.
UP NEXT: The Quakes take on the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday, August 25 at Avaya Stadium at 7 pm PDT.