Photo credit: @SJEarthquakes
By Marko Ukalovic
SAN JOSE, Calif. — The 4000 lb gorilla has officially left Avaya Stadium. Chris Wondolowski was the difference in an offensive juggernaut featured in the second half. His game-winning goal help the San Jose Earthquakes (4-14-8) defeat the Western Conference leading FC Dallas (13-6-7) 4-3 on Wednesday evening in front of a small, but raucous crowd.
The victory snapped the Quakes’ longest home winless streak in franchise history of 12 games. The Quakes hadn’t won at home since the season opening match on March 3rd against FC Minnesota.
The Quakes captain was back in the starting lineup after coming off the bench as a substitute the past five games. His last start was on July 25th, a home match against the Seattle Sounders. His game-winning goal came in the 62nd minute when he received the ball just outside the defense box and made a pretty give-and-go with Vako. As two FC Dallas defenders collapsed on Vako, Wondo was left all alone and fired a strike into the upper left corner of the net for his eighth goal of the season.
The Wondo Watch is now at 142, only three away from Landon Donovan’s MLS record of 145. It was also his 40th game-winning goal of his career. Which just so happens to be second in MLS history to guess who, Donovan, who had 41 of them.
“It’s great to get the goal,” said Wondo. “I keep using this word, but I’m so proud to be the captain of these guys. To be with them, to be out there fighting. It’s a huge win.”
FC Dallas would get off to another quick start against San Jose. In the eighth minute, Michael Barrios received a favorable bounce off a throw in and centered the ball right into the middle of the box where both Nick Lima and Quakes goalie Andrew Tarbell both went for the ball that deflected off Tarbell and right into a waiting Maxi Urruti. The Argentinian play-maker wasted no time tapping it into an empty net for his seventh goal of the season.
Vako would give the Quakes the equalizer in the 16th minute when after a nice give and goal with Magnus Eriksson, he was able to get the ball inside the box after a failed header clearing attempt by Matt Hedges left Vako all alone with a clear path to the goal where he took two dribbles and rocketed a shot into the upper left corner of the goal past FC Dallas goalie Jimmy Maurer . It was the Georgian striker’s seventh goal of the season.
Hedges would be the focus of another blunder in the 30th minute when he misfired wide right on a wide-open net after receiving a great centering feed from Barrios.
Vako proved to be a one man show in the 42nd minute when he gave the Quakes a 2-1 lead. He received a pass from Jahmir Hyka from 20 yards out, then dribbled down the middle of the box where he magically was able to get the ball through three FC Dallas defenders and once again had a clear path to the goal. He snapped a shot past a diving Maurer into the right corner of the goal for his eighth goal of the season leaving FC Dallas stunned.
“We had a lack of balance from our side tonight,” said FC Dallas head coach Oscar Pareja. “When you get three goals on an away game and don’t get points, obviously something didn’t work out well.”
FC Dallas tied the game in the 51st minute when substitute Santiago Mosquerea, who came in to start the second half, was rewarded after taking a centering pass from Urruti and fired a shot from 10 yards out past Tarbell for just his second goal of the season.
However, the deadlock wouldn’t last long when three minutes later at the 54th minute, Eriksson scored on a spectacular shot from 20 yards out. Eriksson worked a give-and-go with Wondo and on the return feed bent one in just inside the upper left corner of the post that Maurer had no chance at. It was the Swedish midfielder’s seventh goal of the season.
“I think the combination play up front has been better,” said Eriksson. “We have gotten to know each other better. It has worked well for the moment. We finally took three points at home and it’s a good feeling.”
FC Dallas would not go quietly as just four minutes after Eriksson’s goal at the 58th minute. they would get the equalizer at the 57th minute when Dominque Badji finished a pretty tic-tac-toe of a goal. Urruti sent a pass over to right side to Jacori Hayes, who then centered the ball over to a wide-open net. Badji, who one-timed the ball into an empty net for his team-leading ninth goal on the season.
“Not happy,” Quakes head coach Mikael Starhe jokingly said when asked about how he felt about the four-goal span in 10 minutes. “We talked about it in the locker room that we have to continually play our game and follow our game plan.”
Things would settle down after Wondo’s goal. However, FC Dallas put the pressure on the Quakes in the final minutes of stoppage time. Lima made a game saving sliding deflection to knock out the ball past the net in the final seconds of stoppage time.
GAME NOTES: The Quakes were without the services of defenseman Harold Cummings who was suffering from a thigh injury.
FC Dallas was without midfielder Carlos Grueza due to a suspension from yellow card accumulation.
There were no yellow or red cards issued in the game by referee Sorin Stoica.
The Quakes are now undefeated in their past four games against FC Dallas 3-0-1, including 3-1-4 in their last eight against FC Dallas. Overall, they are 16-8-8 against FC Dallas.
Jahmir Hyka’s goal streak was snapped against FC Dallas. He scored his last three matches against them.
UP NEXT: The Quakes travel to Vancouver to take on the Whitecaps on Saturday, September 1 at BC Place at 7:00 pm PDT.