Chris Wondolowski Shea Salinas of the San Jose Earthquakes celebrate after beating the Vancouver Whitecaps 4-3 in Major League Soccer’s MLS is Back tournament in Orlando, Florida (au.news.yahoo.com photo)
by Marko Ukalovic
ORLANDO, Fla- Sometimes a head coach has to take drastic measures and take a gamble to spark his team.
Shea Salinas has had a flare for the dramatics during his Earthquakes storied career. He scored the game winning goal eight minutes into stoppage time in the second half as the San Jose Earthquakes, down by two goals twice in the match, defeated the Vancouver Whitecaps 4-3 in their second match of Group B play on Wednesday evening at the ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex.
Salinas won a 50/50 ball near midfield. He dribbled all the way in from 40 yards out, outmanuevred the ball past three Whitecap defenders inside the box, then fired a shot past Whitecaps goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau for his first goal of the season, giving his team their first win of the 2020 season.
San Jose (1-1-2) were so flat-footed for the first 45 minutes of the game, no one thought the Quakes would have the tenacity for such a combeack. Vancouver controlled play as they came out with an attacking agressiveness against the lifeless Quakes.
Vancouver (1-2), playing in their first Group B match, caught San Jose sleeping in the 7th minute of the match. No one marked left back Ali Adnan as the Iraqi national team memeber dribbled in from the right into the middle and fired a right-footed shot to the back of the far corner for his first goal of the season.
Then at the 22nd minute, the Quakes allowed an embarrassing own goal from Judson. A turnover created a breakaway opportunity for forward Yordy Reyna. As he raced down the pitch , he pulled up inside the box and his centering pass went off the foot of a trailing Judson into his own net for a 2-0 lead for the Whitecaps.
San Jose finally woke up in the second minunte of extra time as they cut the lead in half off a set piece. A centering pass off a corner kick found Andy Rios who deflected the ball off the back of his right heel past Crepeau for his first goal of the season.
The Quakes started off the first 10 minutes of the second half strong with the majority of play in the Whitecaps defensive zone as they created nuerous corner kick opportunties. However they weren’t able to get a quick eqaulizer.
Just when San Jose had momentum on its side, a horrible mistake led to Vancouver’s second two-goal lead. Goalkeeper Daniel Vega made a lackadaisical pass out to the right side where David Milinkovic intercepted the ball and centered a pass over Cristian Dejome who buried the ball into the back of the net for his first goal of the season.
Quakes head coach Matias Almeyda had seen enough of the lackluster play from his starters as he made four consecutive substituions in the 63rd minute when he instilled Chris Wondolowski, Danny Hoesen, Shea Salinas and Carlos Fierro.
The strategy paid off immediately as San Jose took control of the game. Nine minutes later Hoeson’s centering cross was deflected high in the air and Wondo, who was unmarked, jumped up and headed the ball past Crepeau for his first goal of the season.
Wondolowski increased his league record to 160 career goals.
San Jose scored the equalizer in the 81st minute. Once again the set piece was kind to the Quakes. Magnus Eriksson bent in a perfect cross off a corner kick into the middle where Oswaldo Alanis headed the ball into the back of the net for his second goal of the season.
Vancouver, who played the match without four of their forwards, were stunned beyound belief and could only look back at blowing their two goal lead in the last 18 minutes of the second half.
GAME NOTES: San Jose dominated the game in corner kicks (22-4) and shot attempts (30-7). They also won the possession battle 67.8% to Vancouver’s 32.2%.
Four yellow cards were issued by referee Marcos de Oliveira with three to San Jose (Cristian Espinoza, Jackson Yueill and Fierro) and one to Vancouver (Jasser Khmiri).
UP NEXT: The Quakes finish Group B play when they take on the Chicago Fire FC on Sunday 7/19 at 5:00pm at the ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex.