Real Salt Lake score three goals in wild second half to clip Earthquakes 4-3

The score reveals the results from Wed Sep 15, 2021 game at Pay Pal Park in San Jose as the San Jose Earthquakes are defeated by Real Salt Lake FC (from @SJEarthquakes image)

by Marko Ukalovic

SAN JOSE–It’s beyond a frustrating night when your leading goal scorer scores a hat trick and you still lose the game.

Thus was the case as Real Salt Lake scored three goals in the second half to defeat the San Jose Earthquakes 4-3 in a wild affair on Wednesday evening at Pal Pay Park.

San Jose have lost two of their last three matches. Real Salt Lake is 3-3-0 in their last six matches. They snapped its five-match losing streak on the road.

Real Salt Lake scored the eventual game winner in the 81st minute. Albert Rusnak found Rubio Rubin on the left side of the box and Rubin one-timed a shot past Quakes goalie JT Marcinkowski to complete a brace for the striker from Beaverton, Oregon.

San Jose (6-9-9-27 points) drew first blood on Chofis’ first goal of the match in the 26th minute. Marcos Lopez sent in a long ball down the right wing over to Chofis. The native of Torreón, Mexico played the ball past RSL defender Erik Holt, dribbled inside the box and bent in a left-footed strike into the lower left corner of the net for his team leading sixth goal of the season.

Real Salt Lake (9-9-6-33 points) struck back with the equalizer just before halftime. Off of a corner kick, Rusnak, who proved to be a thorn in the side of San Jose all match long, centered the ball into the middle of the box where Quakes goalie JT Marcinkowski made a diving save on the header by Damir Kreilach but the rebound was cleaned up by Rubin for his sixth goal of the season and first goal of the match.

Real Salt Lake had seven shots on target, with the majority of those in the final 10 minutes, in the first 45 minutes while San Jose had just one, Chofis’ goal.

RSL carried over their momentum they gained at the end of the first half into the start of the second half. A Quakes turnover led to Pablo Ruiz finding Rusnak just outside the box and the Slovakian midfielder dribbled past Oswald Alanis before depositing the ball into the lower left corner for his seventh goal of the season to give RSL its first lead of the match in the 49th minute.

That lead didn’t last long as San Jose answered back immediately. Chofis received the ball along the right sideline and put on a clinical display. He dribbled in, deked out two RSL defenders just outside the box, including Donny Toia who fell to the ground. Choifis continued inside where he chipped a shot between the legs of Holt and past Real Salt Lake goalie David Ochoa for his seventh goal of the season and second of the match in the 50th minute.

The game opened up as both teams went back and forth with scoring chances on counter attacks and turnovers that led to the crazy finish.

San Jose was without the services of their defensive stalwart Nathan as he was suspended for receiving his second yellow card in the match versus FC Dallas last weekend. Real Salt Lake took advantage of the situation with their forwards being left unmarked during the second half.

Chofis completed his hat trick on what was an incredible shot. Real Salt Lake conceded a corner kick in the 64th minute. A minute later Chofis sent in a shot that curled just inside the right post that Ochoa had no chance at for his team leading eighth goal of the season that sent the crowd into a frenzy as the Quakes regained the lead 3-2.

Quakes head coach Matias Almeyda was so upset with the officiating that after the match he pulled his inner Marshawn Lynch when it came time to do his press conference.

“With all due respect to you guys who waited this long for me, I’m only here right now so I don’t get fined,” Almedya said.

Real Salt Lake scored the equalizer off a set piece in the 71st minute. Rusnak serviced the free kick into the middle of the box where Justin Meram was credited with heading the ball past Marcinkowski for his second goal of the season.

Kraeilach was initially issued a red card by referee Nima Saghafi in the 73rd minunte when he went up and elbowed Tanner Beason in the head while challenging for a ball in the air. After VAR review, the foul was down graded to a yellow card.

San Jose had chances to come away with one point when nine extra minutes of stoppage time were added by Saghafi. Their best chance came in the final minute when Alanis fired a shot on net that was saved by Ochoa. The rebound went right to Paul Marie but his header went wide right as RSL escaped Pay Pal Park with the three points.

Ochoa finished the match with three saves on six shots to earn the victory. Marcinkowski made nine saves, the most in his career, on 13 shots in the losing effort.

GAME NOTES: San Jose finished with one four corner kicks. Real Salt Lake had three.

The Quakes hold a 13-12-11 all-time record against Real Salt Lake, including a 9-6-4 record at home. San Jose was unbeaten in their last six home matches against RSL (5-0-1) until tonight.

Real Salt Lake has a 3-7-2 record away from home this season.

San Jose has won each of its last three matches against Real Salt Lake, including a 2-1 win on May 7. The run equals the longest winning streak by either team in the history of the series with the ‘Quakes also winning three in a row in the 2012 season.

San Jose earned its eighth draw in its last 12 games (W3 L1) after a 1-1 match at FC Dallas on Saturday. Prior to the Earthquakes this season, no team had recorded eight draws in a 12-match span since Columbus in May-July 2017.

RSL has won only two of its last 18 matches away from Rio Tinto Stadium (D4 L12) dating back to August 2020.

Wondolowski has scored 13 goals against Real Salt Lake in his career (including MLS is Back), having only scored more against Vancouver (14). His 13 goals are tied with Landon Donovan for the most against RSL in the club’s MLS history.

Damir Kreilach scored his ninth goal of the season in Real Salt Lake’s loss at LAFC on Sunday, his second-highest scoring regular season in MLS (12 in 2018). Kreilach is one goal away from becoming the third player to have multiple 10-goal regular seasons for Real Salt Lake after Álvaro Saborio (4 times) and Albert Rusnák (twice).

UP NEXT: San Jose travel out to the Lone Star state to take on Austin FC on Saturday 9/18 at 5:00pm at Q2 Stadium.

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