Earthquakes second half onslaught buries Austin FC 4-0 shutout win

San Jose Earthquakes midfielder Carlos Fierro (7) celebrates by putting the futbol inside his shirt and running down field with his thumb in his mouth as the Quakes blank the visiting Austin FC at Pay Pal Park in San Jose Wed Oct 20, 2021 (USA Today photo)

by Marko Ukalovic

SAN JOSE—The San Jose Earthquakes still have a pulse in its bid to make the MLS Playoffs.

The home team scored four answered goals in the second half to route Austin FC 4-0 on Wednesday evening at Pay Pal Park.

San Jose snapped its three match losing streak in what are must win games down the stretch. With 36 points, they are six points out of the seventh and final playoff spot (the Los Angeles Galaxy currently sit in seventh with 42 points) in the Western Conference. The expansion Austin FC have lost two matches in a row and a league worse 19 matches.

San Jose (9-12-9) dictated the pace of play from the get go. They had the pitch tilted in their favor for the majority of the first half.

In the 18th minute, Jeremy Ebobisse fired in a shot from just outside the D box but saved by Austin FC goalie Brad Stuver.

Then in the 31st minute, a cross from Marcos Lopez just skidded past the sliding Andy Rios who was open down the middle of the box.

Benji Kikanovic had a chip shot that bent just wide right of the goal in the 38th minute. In the 42nd minute, Eric Remedi sent Ebobisse in on a breakaway but his shot attempt was saved by Stuver as the veteran goalie came out and challenge the attempt.

Austin FC (7-19-4) were too busy defending their own zone for the majority of the first half to generate any dangerous scoring chances as they only generated two total shots in the first 45 minutes.

It didn’t take long in the second half for the Earthquakes to break through on the scoreboard. In the 47th minute, Kikanovic obtained possession of the ball along the left sideline and dribbled in when his pass deflected off of Alex Ring into the middle of the box. Chofis collected the ball and buried the ball into an empty net for his team leading 12th goal of the season.

San Jose doubled its lead six minutes later. Remedi started a counter attack when he sent a long ball into midfielder where Ebobisse gained possession. Ebobisse was interfered with by Zan Kolmanic as the ball squirted out to Kikanovic on the left wing. Kikanovic raced in on a breakaway and was able to get Stuver to commit early before he sent in a shot past him into the lower right side of the net for his third goal of the season in the 53rd minute.

Austin FC had its only quality scoring chance in the 56th minute. Off of a free kick, the ball found its way to the foot of Sebastian Driussi. His shot attempted deflected off Ebobisse and then off Tanner Beason as San Jose conceded a corner kick. The visiting team did not convert the subsequent corner kick.

Quakes head coach Matias Almeyda brought in Chris Wondolowski, Paul Marie and Cristian Espinoza as subs in the 58th minute.

The moves had an immediate pay off. In the 59th minute, Espinoza sent in a cross from right to left. The ball deflected off the foot of former Quake Nick Lima right over to Wondolowski. The MLS all-time leading goal scorer one-timed the ball with a chip into the upper right corner of the net for his third goal of the season.

Wondo now has 165 goals in his MLS career.

San Jose put the icing on the cake in the 85th minute off of a corner kick. Espinoza recorded his second assist of the match when he sent the ball into the middle where an unmarked Carlo Fierro’s running header found its way into the lower right corner of the net for his 2nd goal of the season.

Espinoza has a team leading eight assists on the season.

Quakes goalie JT Marcinkowski finished the match with four saves for his fifth clean sheet of the season. Stuver made five saves on nine shots on target in the losing effort.

GAME NOTES: San Jose finished with 10 corner kicks. Austin FC had eight.

The last time San Jose hosted an expansion team, the Quakes prevailed 1-0 over FC Cincinnati on May 4, 2019. Nick Lima, who now plays for Austin FC, scored the lone goal for the Earthquakes.

UP NEXT: San Jose hosts the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday 10/23 at 7:00pm at Pay Pal Park.

Arango’s brace powers LAFC past Earthquakes 3-1

The San Jose Earthquakes’ Carlos Fierro (7) and Chris Wondolowski (8) share congratulations during their game against the Seattle Sounders FC on Wed May 12, 2021 at Pay Pal Park in San Jose. The Quakes lost to LAFC on Sat Oct 16, 2021 at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles (Bay Area News Group file photo)

by Marko Ukalovic

LOS ANGELES—Cristian Arango has been carrying LAFC on his shoulders since Carlos Vela went down to injury as they fight for their playoff lives.

Arango had a brace and an assist in his team’s 3-1 over the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday afternoon at Banc of California Stadium.

LAFC are unbeaten in its last two matches (1-0-1) and sit in eight place in the Western Conference with 37 points, one point behind Minnesota FC, who have 38 points and currently the final playoff berth. San Jose have lost three games in a row and and their fading playoff hopes suffered another blow with five games remaining in the season. They are in 10 tenth place with 33 points.

Vela has missed the Black & Gold’s last eight games with a hamstring injury. He missed three games at the beginning of the season with a different injury as well.

LAFC (10-12-7) drew first blood early in the match. In the third minute, a turnover by San Jose led to Arango sending a back pass into the middle of the box where Danny Musovski crashed in and buried a shot through two Quakes defenders and Quakes goalie JT Marcinkowski for his fourth goal of the season.

San Jose (8-12-9) had a chance in the 24th minute to even the score. Jeremy Ebobisse, who made his first appearance since suffering a head injury on September 4th, received the ball inside the box but his chip attempt into an empty net was swept away by Kim Moon-Hwan before the ball was able to cross the goal line.

Arango set up his first goal when he was able to get Jackson Yueill to concede a penalty inside the box in the 26th minute. Yueill made contact with Arango but the Colombian striker sold the penalty when he immediately went down in a heap on the pitch. Referee Alan Kelly ruled Yueill did enough to earn the penalty.

Two minutes later, Arango, better known as “Chicho” came up slowly, hesitated and then shot the ball to the left side, as Marcinkowki guessed to the right, to convert the penalty kick for his team leading seventh goal of the season.

San Jose had two scoring chances during stoppage time at the end of the first half but Ebobisse’s shot went high over the net and Benji Kinkanovic had his shot attempt blocked by an LAFC defender.

“I believe in the first half we were pretty inaccurate when we had the ball,” said Quakes head coach Matias Almeyda. “They put their chances away and we did not.”

Almeyda made all of his substitutions early in the second half as he looked to maintain the momentum his team seized late in the first half. He inserted Cade Cowell, Chris Wondolowski and Andy Rio in the 55th minute to keep the offensive pressure inside LAFC’s defensive zone.

In the 61st minute the moves paid off as San Jose cut the lead in half off a set piece. Chofis serviced a corner kick near the right post where Rios headed the ball past LAFC goalie Jamal Blackman over to Carlo Fierro, who came in as a sub to start the second half, and he knocked the ball off his chest into the back of the net for his first goal of the season.

San Jose had three quality scoring chances in the final 15 minutes to even the match, but Blackman came away with highway robber each time. Cowell first chance in the 75th minute was a blazing shot from just outside the box that Blackman needed both hands to knock the ball away. Jack Skahan’s attempt in the 83rd minute was stoned away by Blackman.

Cowell’s second chance in the 83rd minute from outside the box was thwarted by a diving save thanks to the quick reflexes of Blackman that ended with frustration for San Jose.

“The first 20-30 minutes was tough I think,” said midfielder Shea Salinas. “But our team settled in and ended up playing well the second half. It just wasn’t enough.”

LAFC put the game away in the 88th minute when Brian Rodriguez won a challenge along the midfield sideline along with Yueill. Rodriguez created a two-on-one odd man rush and serviced a ball from left to right over to Arango who one-timed the ball into the far left corner for his second goal of the match and eighth of the season.

Blackman finished the match with five saves to earn the victory. Marcinkowski made two saves on four shots in the losing effort.

GAME NOTES: Each team finished the match with three corner kicks.

Los Angeles FC won their first five meetings with the Earthquakes in MLS, outscoring them, 20-4. San Jose had won all four meetings since, the first team to beat LAFC four straight times in MLS play, regular season or playoffs.

After not allowing more than one goal in 11 straight matches (9 total goals conceded) from mid-July to mid-September, San Jose has conceded at least three goals in five of its last six games (16 total goals conceded). The only team the Earthquakes held under three goals in that time was LAFC (2-0 win on September 25).

Los Angeles FC has held opponents to just 9.9 shots per match, second fewest in MLS (NYCFC – 9.3), though opponents have scored with a league-high 14.9 percent of those shots. San Jose had a total of 15 shots in the match.

Eric Remedi has received 12 yellow cards this season, tied with Leandro González Pirez for most in MLS. Remedi has also been fouled 97 times, 14 more than any other player in the league in 2021.

UP NEXT: San Jose hosts Austin FC on Wednesday 10/20 at 7:30pm at Pay Pal Park.

Earthquakes beat Cruz Azul in 2-0 shutout friendly

San Jose Earthquakes get a shutout in a late evening friendly match at Pay Pal Park in San Jose over Cruz Azul (photo from @SJEarthquakes)

by Marko Ukalovic

The San Jose Earthquakes scored two goals in the second half as they shutout Liga MX’s Cruz Azul 2-0 in an International friendly on Thursday evening at Pay Pal Park.

Cruz Azul has a 2-1-3 record and is currently in sixth place in Liga MX’s Torneo Apertura 2021, the first of two championships during the 2021-2022 season. The historic club won the most recent championship (Torneo Clausura 2021) after finishing with a league-best 13-2-2 record and winning all three of its playoff matchups.

Cruz Azul has won nine Liga MX championships, with its title earlier this year the club’s first since 1997. Additionally, Cruz Azul has won six Concacaf Champions League titles, four Copa MX titles, three Campeon de Campeones championships, one Supercopa MX, and one Leagues Cup.

Cruz Azul is the only Mexican team to ever win a treble, lifting the Liga MX, Copa MX and Champions League trophies in the same season (1997).

There wasn’t much action on the scoreboard in the first 45 minutes as both teams went into the locker room at halftime deadlocked at 0-0.

However, these two teams played like bitter rivals as tempers flared late in the first half.

In the 37th minute after a foul, both teams were pushing and shoving one another inside the Quakes defensive zone. As the teams began to separate from the melee, a fan, under the influence of liquid courage, jumped from the stands onto the field and rushed the players.

Quakes goalie Daniel Vega, who made his first start this year, was the first one to confront the fan. MLS all-time leading scorer and Quakes captain Chris Wondolowski was able to get the fan, who had been wearing a blue lucha libra wrestling mask, in a headlock and drive him down to the ground before security arrived on the scene to escort the fan out of the stadium.

Cruz Azul’s star forward Jonathan Rodriguez and the Quakes top fullback Nathan were both ejected from the match for their involvement in the melee as both teams finished the rest of the match each down a man.

San Jose broke the ice in the 58th minute when Paul Marie blasted a shot from 20 yards out into the upper right corner of the net beating Cruz Azul goalie Jose de Jesus Corona.

Cruz Azul’s best chance to score came in the 62nd minute. Santiago Gimenez sent in a shot from the right wing but Vega made a diving save to the left. The rebound by Pablo Aguilar was also sent away by Vega for a corner kick.

The Quakes put the game away in the 72nd minute when they doubled their lead. Jeremy Ebobisse, who came in as a substitute in the second half in his first match action in two months, serviced a ball from left to right over to Cristian Espinoza. The ball was misplayed by Roberto Alvarado that sprung Espinoza on a breakaway. Espinoza dribbled in from the right wing, around a defender, into the middle before firing a shot past Corona right down the middle of the net.

GAME NOTES: San Jose now holds a 12-11-11 all-time record in international exhibitions, and a record of 2-8-4 against teams from Mexico.

The Earthquakes now hold a 1-0-1 record against Cruz Azul and a 2-8-4 record against teams from Mexico. Tonight’s win marks the first time the Quakes have defeated a Liga MX team since Sept. 6, 2012 (W 1-0 vs. San Luis FC).

UP NEXT: The Earthquakes return to MLS action on Saturday, Oct. 16 when they take on LAFC at Banc of California Stadium. The match kicks off at 12:30 p.m.

White’s hat trick power Whitecaps to 3-0 shutout win over Earthquakes

Vancouver Whitecaps Cristian Dajome (center) is upended by the San Jose Earthquakes Nathan Brazil (left) at BC Place in Vancouver on Sat Oct 2, 2021 (Canadian Press via AP)

 

by Marko Ukalovic

Brian White is definitely enjoying his change of scenery.

The Vancouver Whitecaps striker scored a hat trick to lead his team to a 3-0 shutout victory over the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday evening at BC Place.

Since being traded from the New York Red Bulls back in June, White has scored nine goals in 20 matches since his arrival, with eight of those coming in his last nine games. He had zero goals with New York.

Vancouver are unbeaten in its last four matches (2-0-2) and have climbed up to eighth place in the Western Conference, one point behind Minnesota for the final playoff spot. San Jose have lost two matches in a row and are quietly slipping away from the playoff race with six games remaining in the season.

White scored his first goal after a nice touch pass over to Ryan Gauld inside the box. Gauld’s shot was saved by Quakes goalie JT Marcinkowski but the rebound was cleaned up by White in the 26th minute.

San Jose (8-11-9-33 points) only generated two shots on target in the first 45 minutes. Both shots by Cristian Espinoza in the 25th minute and Jackson Yueill in the 39th minute were easily handled by Whitecaps goalie Maxime Crépeau.

Vancouver (9-8-10-37 points) doubled their lead in the 59th minute off a set piece. Déiber Caicedo floated a free kick from near the right end line into the middle where an unmarked White headed the ball into the back of the net in the upper left corner for his second goal of the evening.

“We had to make movements to free up players in certain zones,” said Quakes head coach Matias Almeyda. “Those movements were slow. I thought the match was even in the first half. On three or four occasions, we were able to have the control we were looking for. We met a team that has been growing in important ways, with a secure system of play. We knew that if we conceded a goal, it would be hard to turn it around because they are secure on defense. In the second half, we took more risks. The set piece played a fundamental factor against us.”

White completed the hat trick in the 73rd minute once again off another set piece. This time Gauld serviced a corner kick into the middle of the box and once again the Quakes left White unmarked for a header just inside the right corner of the goal for his ninth goal of the season.

The closest San Jose came to getting on the board came late in the second half. Espinoza sent in a shot from 25 yards out but Crépeau made a jumping catch to preserve the shutout.

“We have to keep improving but we have less and less time. We’re talking about the last six games and a projection of our future in which there is some instability. Personally, I’d like to plan for what is coming up. We have to live day by day, we’d love to plan for the future, but the reality is different,” Almeyda said.

Crépeau finished the match stopping all five shots on target to earn his ninth victory of the season. Marcinkowski made three saves on six shots in the losing effort.

GAME NOTES: Each team finished with four corner kicks.

San Jose is now 8-10-10 all-time vs. Vancouver, including a 2-9-3 record on the road.

San Jose had its eight-game unbeaten streak on the road, longest in club history, snapped with the loss.

UP NEXT: San Jose return to action on Saturday 10/16 when they travel out to Los Angeles to take on LAFC at 12:30pm at Banc of California Stadium.

Sounders score three unanswered goals en route to 3-1 win over Earthquakes

Seattle Sounders forward Raul Ruidiaz, right, celebrates with teammate Cristian Roldan, left after scoring a goal against the San Jose Earthquakes in the first half at Pay Pal Park in San Jose on Wed Sep 29, 2021 (AP News photo)

by Marko Ukalovic

SAN JOSE–Seattle is a force to be reckon with thanks to their dynamic duo of of Raul Ruidiaz and Cristian Roldan.

The two were involved in all three goals the Sounders scored as they cruised to a 3-1 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes on Wednesday evening at Pay Pal Park.

San Jose had its two match winning streak snapped. The Western Conference leaders have won two matches in a row and now have 51 points on the season.

Seattle (15-5-6-51 points) drew first blood in the 25th minute. Roldan serviced a ball over to Ruidiaz at the top of the D box. Ruidiaz dribbled in without any interference from a Quakes defender and beat Quakes goalie JT Marcinkowski with a left-footed shot for his team leading 15th goal of the season.

Things took a turn for the worse for San Jose (8-10-9-33 points) late in the first half when they conceded a penalty shot in the 41st minute. Roldan got in behind the Quakes defense inside the box and a diving attempt by Marcinkowski where Roldan was tripped up, resulted in a penalty by referee Allen Chapman.

Ruidiaz converted the penalty kick to the far left corner for a brace and 16th goal of the season in the 42 minute.

The Quakes didn’t generate any quality scoring chances in the first 45 minutes as they only attempted two total shots.

Seattle scored its third unanswered goal four minutes into the second half. A turnover by the Quakes in their defensive zone led to Jimmy Medranda servicing the ball into the middle from the left side as Roldan swooshed in and deflected the ball with his right foot past Marcinkowski for his fourth goal of the season in the 49th minute.

They’re a do a great job,” said Chris Wondolowski regarding Seattle’s tactical play. “Especially with their back three (defensive backs). Their best trait is they are able to push out and those three center backs do such a great job.”

The Quakes broke Sounders goalie Stefan Frei’s bid for a shutout two minutes later when Seattle conceded an own goal. Marcos Lopez serviced a ball into the middle where Benji Kinkanovic raced in with a sliding attempt but the ball was redirected in by Sounders defender Shane O’Neill.

That would be as close as San Jose would get in trying to earn any points during the match. Their offense was out of sync, misfiring on passes and moments of indecision led to Seattle laying back and playing a prevent defense throughout the second half.

“In the first half we weren’t able to find that path,” said Quakes head coach Matias Almeyda regarding the Sounders clogging up the middle of the pitch. “We made mistakes. And that means I think we didn’t have control of the game and couldn’t get to the final third of the field.”

Seattle countered whenever San Jose tried to press but weren’t able to add on as they were content with the three points.

Frei finished the match with three saves to earn the victory. Marcinkowski made two saves on five shots on target in the losing effort.

GAME NOTES: San Jose finished with 10 corner kicks. Seattle had just two.

The Quakes hold a 11-15-8 all-time record against Seattle Sounders FC, including a record of 5-5-5 at home. San Jose and Seattle had traded 1-0 road victories in their first two meetings this season.

Seattle has an 9-2-2 road record this season and are 6-1-0 in their last seven matches away from home.

UP NEXT: San Jose travel up to Vancouver to take on the Whitecaps on Saturday 10/2 at 7:00pm at BC Place.

Chofis scores another goal, Earthquakes shutout LAFC 2-0

San Jose Earthquakes shutout LAFC at Pay Pal Park in San Jose on Sat Sep 25, 2021 (image from google.com)

by Marko Ukalovic

SAN JOSE—In what felt like a playoff type of atmosphere, the San Jose Earthquakes took down LAFC in a 2-0 shutout victory on Saturday evening at Pay Pal Park.

San Jose has won two matches in a row. LAFC have lost two matches in a row. The Quakes are now in a three-way tied for eighth place in the Western Conference with LAFC and Vancouver with 33 points. All three are chasing Real Salt Lake, who have 36 points, for seventh and the final playoff spot in the conference.

LAFC (9-11-6-33 points) were without two of their best players. Carlos Vela was out due a to hamstring injury he suffered back on August 22nd. Diego Rossi has been on loan to Turkish club Fenerbahçe since September 1st.

San Jose (8-9-9-33 points) drew first blood early in the match. A giveaway by LAFC led to a counter attack led by Chofis. The reigning MLS player of the week slipped in a nice pass between two LAFC defenders over to Benji Kikanovic. The 21-year old native of San Jose went around LAFC goalie Tomás Romero before depositing the ball into an empty for his second goal of the season in the third minute.

“I think Benji is one of the young players that is learning day-by-day,” said Quakes head coach Matias Almeyda. “He has perfectly understood the identity we want the players to have at San Jose. He is a player with pace, he is good in the aerial game and has great technique. He really works a lot for the team. He was able to put away the chance that came from a great pass from Chofis. He also worked hard in the defensive phase. I am really pleased when the young players perform well. It makes me happy for them and for the club.”

LAFC’s best chance to score in the first half was in the 23rd minute when Jose Cifuentes had an open shot from 15 yard outs, but Quakes middle back Nathan deflected the ball out of danger with his right foot.

Quakes midfielder Cristian Espinoza was apparently tripped down inside the box in the 34th minute. Instead of receiving a penalty kick on the play, Referee Jair Marrufo issued a yellow card to Espinoza for what only Marrufo thought was a dive by Espinoza.

San Jose doubled its lead right out of the gate to start the second half. Marco Lopez won a ball on the left side along the end line. He serviced the ball into the middle where Chofis fired a one-timer from 10 yards out past Romero for his team leading 11th goal of the season in the 47th minute.

“I think there are still a lot of games left,” said captain Jackson Yuiell. “It’s still really close and these two games were important for us. We’ve narrowed down to the last third of the season. We learned from our first year to last year of when to push and when to hit our stride.”

Chofis has six goals in his last three games as the Mexican national has taken the team on his back and is carrying them closer to a playoff berth.

The Quakes had a chance to put the nail in the coffin in the 55th minute. Lopez serviced a ball from left to right where Eric Remedi’s header hit off the right corner off the post.

After making a round of substitutions early in the second half, LAFC gained some momentum with two quality scoring chances.

In the 57th minute, Cristian Arango headed a pass into the middle where Danny Musovski’s right footed shot sailed wide right.

Then in the 69th minute, Cifuentes serviced ball into the middle of the box that Raheem Edwards crashed in from the right side but his left footed shot hit off the crossbar and over for a goal kick.

San Jose’s defense held down the fort in the final 30 minutes as they did not allow LAFC to get a quality chance .

Quakes goalie JT Marcinkowski finished the night with three saves to earn his eighth victory and fourth shutout of the season. Romero didn’t register a save on the two shots on target in the losing effort.

GAME NOTES: San Jose finished with no corner kicks on the evening. LAFC had three corner kicks.

San Jose is 4-0-0 in its last four matches versus LAFC and are 4-5-0 all-time, including a 3-2-0 record at home.

Chofis became the first Earthquakes player to score in three straight matches since Vako in July 2019. His assist on Kikanovic’s goal, marking his third assist of the season and first game-winning assist.

Midfielder Shea Salinas entered the match as a substitute in the 82nd minute, marking his first appearance since Sept. 4 against the Colorado Rapids.

Lopez, Nathan and Luciano Abecasis were also issued yellow cards during the match.

UP NEXT: The Quakes host the Seattle Sounders on Wednesday 9/29 at 7:30pm at Pay Pal Park.

Earthquakes three unanswered goals top Austin FC in 4-3 comeback win

Austin FC goalie Austin Stuver gathers his thoughts after surrendering three unanswered goals to the San Jose Earthquakes at Q2 Stadium in Austin on Sat Sep 18, 2021 (AP News photo)

by Marko Ukalovic

AUSTIN, Texas—Minus their head coach, the San Jose Earthquakes flipped the script on their opponent just three days later after blowing a lead in the second half.

Down by a two-goal margin, the Quakes scored three unanswered goals in the second half for a 4-3 comeback victory over the expansion Austin FC on Saturday evening at Q2 Stadium.

San Jose are now 2-2-1 in their last five games. Austin FC have lost their last five matches in a row. With the win, the Quakes jumped from 11th to ninth place in the Western Conference. They sit just three points out of the seventh and final playoff spot with 30 points.

It was San Jose’s first win over the new expansion team. They are 1-0-1 in two matches this season against Austin FC.

Austin FC (5-16-4-19 points) didn’t look like the worst team in MLS as they jumped out of the gate early with the match’s first goal six minutes into the match.

Sebastian Driussi cleaned up a rebound off a header by Moussa Djitte that Quakes goalie JT Marcinkowski saved but wasn’t able to keep the ball out of Driussi’s reach as the center forward buried the ball into the back of the net for his third goal of the season.

San Jose (7-9-9-30 points) answered back in the 17th minute off a corner kick. Carlos Fierro centered the ball back to the middle where a running Marco Lopez from 12 yards outs powered in a header past the reach of Austin FC goalie Brad Stuver for his first goal of the season.

Austin FC played aggressive and attacked the Quakes as they scored two goals in the final 10 minutes of the first half.

A nice give and go between Alexander Ring and Daniel Pereira led to Ring finding Jon Gallagher all alone on the right side as the midfielder tapped home the ball into an empty net for his third goal of the season in the 35th minute.

Right before halftime Ring capitalized on the Quakes relaxed defense. He received the ball just into the attacking zone when he dribbled in and fired a shot from 25 yards out into the lower left corner of the net beating Marcinkowski for his fourth goal of the season.

San Jose, who were without head coach Matias Almeyda as he was serving a one-game suspension for un-sportsman like conduct he directed toward the officials in the match against Real Salt Lake, responded with a bang once the whistle blew to begin the second half.

Lopez serviced a ball from the left sideline into the middle where Benji Kikanovic made a brilliant one-time touch pass to the left to free Espinoza, who got behind the Austin FC defense before he fired a right-footed shot past Stuver into the lower right corner for his third goal of the season in the 49th minute.

The Quakes received a break when Ring was whistled for hand ball inside the box after a VAR review, resulting in a penalty kick for the visiting team in the 56th minute.

Two minutes later, Chofis, who had a hatrick in his last match, converted the penalty with a left-footed shot just inside the right post for his team leading ninth goal of the season.

Chofis wasn’t done, as he answered the bell again just five minutes later to give the Quakes their first lead of the match in the 63rd minute. A bouncing ball found Chofis in the attacking zone. He fired a shot from long range that Stuver punched back out. Chofis picked up his own rebound between three Austin FC defenders, faked a move right then went left before lasering in a shot past Stuver for his 10th goal of the season.

Choifis has been played like a man possessed in the past two matches with five goals.

“”I am very happy for him,” said Almeyda about his foward’s recent success. “There was great sacrifice in getting him to San Jose and reaching the level he is currently at after going a year and a half without playing. He changed the way he trains and lives football, including his professionalism and calmness. When I see him progressing in the sport, it makes me very pleased because he is progressing in life, and no one talks about that.”

Ring received his second yellow card of the match and an automatic red card when he made a hard tackle foul on Eric Remedi in the 65th minute. Ring will be suspended for the next match.

Despite being down a man for the final 35, plus nine minutes of stoppage time, Austin FC controlled the play of the rest of the match with numerous scoring chances and corner kicks in the final 15 minutes of play. However, the Quakes defense anchored down led by saves from Marcinkowksi to escape the Lone Star state with three points in the end.

“Resiliency is a great word,” said Marcinkowski when being asked how the team have been resilient this season. “I think it’s something we always talk about in our locker room. The belief and fight and just the will to win. I think we’ve been in so many close games this year and I think we’ve been a little bit hesitant or have been missing the final pass or final goal, or final save from me. I think we showed tonight that we can do it and have nine games left to show it and show the rest of the league that we’re a team to really watch out for.”

Marcinkowski finished the match with seven saves on 10 shot on target to earn his seventh win of the season. Stuver made four saves on eight shots in the losing effort.

GAME NOTES: Each team conceded eight corner kicks to each other.

The Quakes are now unbeaten in eight consecutive road matches, the longest such run in club history (2003).

San Jose’s last two matches have resulted in 14 total goals (for and against), the most in consecutive matches in club history.

Lopez now has three goals in his MLS career. His goal also marks the first goal against Austin FC in Earthquakes history.

Fierro’s assist on Lopez’s goal, marked his third assist of the season and 10th of his MLS career.

Chofis became the first Quakes player to score 5+ goals in a two-game span since Chris Wondolowski tallied six from May 18, 2019 (4) to May 26, 2019 (2).

Kikanovic’s assist on Espinoza’s goal, marked his first assist of the season and of his MLS career. The match also marked his second MLS start.

Defender Tommy Thompson started and played 68 minutes. It marked his first appearance since June 22.

UP NEXT: San Jose returns home to host LAFC on Saturday 9/25 at 7:00pm at Pal Pay Park.

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.

Earthquakes earn 1-1 draw with FC Dallas

FC Dallas defender (24) gives the ball a header to try and get it away from the San Jose Earthquakes forward Cristian Espinoza during the second half of action at Toyota Stadium in Frisco on Sat Sep 11, 2021 (AP News photo)

by Marko Ukalovic

FRISCO, Texas.—The San Jose Earthquakes scored early but couldn’t hold their lead in the second half as they battled to a 1-1 draw with FC Dallas on Saturday evening at Toyota Stadium.

San Jose are unbeaten in 11 of its past 12 matches. FC Dallas are 1-1-2 in its past four games.

San Jose (6-8-9-27 points) drew first blood early in the match when FC Dallas defender Matt Hedges was whistled for a hand ball inside the box for a penalty kick in the fourth minute.

Oswaldo Alanis converted the penalty firing a shot right right down the middle as FC Dallas goalie Phelipe Megiolaro guessed wrong and dove to the left in the sixth minute. Alanis scored his second goal of the season. Both of his goals have come on the penalty against FC Dallas.

FC Dallas (6-10-8-26 points) generated quality scoring chances in the first 45 minutes against San Jose. However Quakes goalie JT Marcinkowski frustrated the home team by stopping each scoring chance that resulted on a shot on goal. Marcinkowski’s best save came in the 40th minute when Jesús Ferreira was open in the middle of the box. Ferreria’s shot attempt was knocked away at the last second by the right hand of Marcinkowski. The ensuing rebound was cleared away by San Jose.

FC Dallas won the possession battle with a 60%-40% edge and generated 12 shot attempts in the first half.

FC Dallas scored the equalizer early in the second half as they carried the momentum they had in the first half to start the final 45 minutes. Justin Che serviced the ball inside the box where Ricardo Pepi headed home the ball past Marcinkowski for his team leading 12th goal of the season in the 50th minute.

San Jose came within inches of regaining the lead in the 58th minute. Chofis sent in a corner kick over to a wide open Chris Wondolowski on the left side. The All-time goal scorer in MLS history sent a header off the crossbar and the rebound was cleared away by FC Dallas.

Two minutes later, Marcinkowski was a thorn in Ferreira side once again as he stoned Ferreira’s shot attempt from point-blank range in the 60th minute.

Both teams had scoring chances late in stoppage time but neither converted their free kicks.

Marcinkowski was the man of the match as he finished the match with six saves on seven shots on target. Megiolaro made one save on two shots on target.

GAME NOTES: San Jose finished with five corner kicks. FC Dallas had eight.

Each team were issued two yellow cards.

The Quakes hold an all-time record of 29-20-18 against FC Dallas, including an unbeaten record of 4-0-4 in their last seven meetings. That unbeaten streak includes four matches played at Toyota Stadium (2-0-2).

UP NEXT: San Jose returns home to host Real Salt Lake on Wednesday 9/15 at 7:30pm

Rapids upend Earthquakes with late goal in 1-0 victory

image from ussoccerplayers.com

by Marko Ukalovic

SAN JOSE—Dominique Badji’s first goal of the season could not have came at a better time.

Badji entered the match in the 88th minute and a minute later scored the game winning goal to help the Colorado Rapids defeat the San Jose Earthquakes 1-0 on Saturday evening at Pal Pay Park.

Nicolás Mezquida won a 50-50 ball just past midfield. He raced down the middle of the pitch before placing a perfect touch pass behind two San Jose defenders over to Badji and the 29-year old midfielder from Senegal fired a strike past Quakes goalie JT Marcinkowski to break the hearts of the 14,142 in attendance.

San Jose (6-8-8) had a chance to score the equalizer in the second minute of stoppage time when Cristian Espinoza found Paul Marie inside the box with a cross from the right wing, but Marie’s header was knocked away at the last second by the left hand of Rapids goalie William Yarbrough.

Colorado (12-4-5) now have 41 points and jumped ahead of Sporting Kansas City into second place in the Western Conference standings. San Jose had its 10-game unbeaten streak snapped as they have fallen to 10th place with 26 points, four behind Real Salt Lake for the seventh and final playoff spot.

The match started out with a bang. As in a big head on head collision in the second minute when Jeremy Ebobisse and Lalas Abubakar had their heads bang against each other when both players went for a ball up in the air. Both players remained down on the pitch for several minutes before being helped off by the field. Abubakar received a yellow card on the dangerous challenge.

Neither player returned to the game and were still being evaluated after the match. Cade Cowell subbed in for Ebobisse in the sixth minute while Drew Moor came in for Abubakar.

Neither team generated many scoring chances in the first half as there was only one shot on target in the first 45 minutes.

San Jose’s best chance came in the 40th minute when Nathan sent in a long ball down the right wing that Cowell was able to chase down. The 2021 MLS All-Star dribbled in before firing a shot just wide of the net on the left side.

Andre Shinyashiki had the best chance for the Rapids in the first half but his shot went wide left of the net in the 41st minute.

The Rapids came close to breaking the ice in the 60th minute when Michael Barrios stripped the ball off Tanner Beason inside the box. He made a quick back pass over to Cole Bassett whose shot hit the left post.

A controversial no call happened in the 76th minute when Espinoza had possession inside the box when Moor apparently held on to him and took him down but referee Joseph Dickerson ruled no foul occurred and play continued on much to chagrin on the San Jose sideline.

Colorado’s Mezquida shot a bicycle kick on target from 10 yards out that Nathan headed out for a corner kick. in the 79th minute.

Espinoza sent a cross into the box over to an open Carlos Fierro but the pass was just a tad hot too handle for Fierro as the ball deflected off of his foot for a goal kick in the 86th minute.

Yarbrough finished the match stopping both shots on goal to earn his ninth shutout of the season and his 12th win overall. Marcinkowski made three saves in the losing effort.

GAME NOTES: San Jose did not have a corner kick in the match. Colorado has one.

With the loss, the Quakes hold an all-time home record of 17-9-9 against the Rapids, including their first loss at Pay Pal Park with a 4-1-2 mark.

The Quakes’ celebrated its annual Mexican Heritage Night, which featured a live luchador performance, themed airbrush tattoos and face paintings and a El jimador postgame fiesta.

UP NEXT: San Jose travel out to Dallas to take on FC Dallas on Saturday 9/11 at 5:30pm at Toyota Stadium.