Earthquakes fall 3-1 to the Red Bulls, but the #WondoWatch continues

Photo credit: @SJEarthquakes

By: Alexandra Evans

SAN JOSE, Calif. — The San Jose Earthquakes faced the second-ranked, Eastern Conference playoff-bound New York Red Bulls at home on October 6, crossing their fingers for a win. The Quakes have not prevailed in over a month.

New York picked up the first netter in the 29th minute when the ball slipped out of San Jose goalkeeper JT Marcinkowski’s hands, allowing Alex Muyl to take a shot from the left side, six yards outside the goal line.

And then they did it again three minutes later. The ball bounced off of San Jose’s right goal post (from the goalkeeper’s perspective) and redirected to the right. This phenomenon allowed New York’s Bradley Wright-Phillips to “rebound” the ball and kick it in toward the bottom of the left corner.

At halftime, the Quakes were down 2-0, which was a reflection of their performance over the month of September and a foreshadowing of the remainder of the match.

One-ninth of the way into the second half, at the 50th minute, Aaron Long bumped a header and put up another point for the Red Bulls. Danny Hoesen, eventually caught offside, attempted a shot at the 54th minute from outside the left of the Red Bulls’ defensive zone, which was immediately caught by goalkeeper Luis Robles. This prompted head coach Steve Ralston to substitute Vako for captain Chris Wondolowski (marking his 32nd appearance).

Wondo made his first scoring attempt upon entry at the 70th minute, when his shot from the center of the box was blocked. 13 minutes later, however, Wondolowski received a punt from Florian Jungwirth at the 83rd minute. His header from the right side of the goalpost earned him his 144th career goal, just one shy of former Earthquake Landon Donovan who holds the record for most career goals in MLS history.

The Quakes trailed 3-1, which was the final score at Avaya Stadium.

The San Jose Earthquakes are back at Avaya Stadium on Saturday, October 13 to face Cruz Azul at 5:15 PM PST.

San Jose Earthquakes podcast with Ana Kieu: Wondo watch in full effect; plus SJSU football updates

Photo credit: @SJEarthquakes

On the San Jose Earthquakes podcast with Ana:

1. Chris Wondolowski scored goal No. 141 in the Quakes’ 1-1 draw with Toronto FC on Saturday night at Avaya Stadium. The Wondo watch is in full effect.

2. Aside from Wondo, what were some other takeaways from the Quakes vs. Toronto FC match?

3. Why did head coach Mikael Stahre wait until the 89th minute to allow Dominic Oduro to make his Quakes debut?

4. The Quakes have two more games in their current homestand. What do they need to do in order to defeat or at least settle for a draw with the Vancouver WhiteCaps and Dallas FC?

5. San Jose State football is just around the corner. Was the Spartans’ second and final scrimmage of this year’s Fall Camp better than expected?

6. Joe from Akron, Ohio asked, “Do the Spartans look better than last year?”

Catch Ana on the San Jose sports podcast each week at SportsRadioService.com!

Wondo’s sub heroics help Earthquakes earn draw against Toronto FC 1-1

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.

Quakes Clinch Playoff Berth With Late Game Score 3-2

Photo credit: @SJEarthquakes

By: London Marq

SAN JOSE–Just win. That was the situation for the San Jose Earthquakes when Minnesota United came in to Avaya Stadium on a beautiful clear day in San Jose California. The season has been turbulent. A rough start, a manager change, a competitive stretch of play in the latter half of the season, all lead to San Jose being in position to make the playoffs. Two wins against two of the best teams in Major League Soccer gave the Quakes to control their own destiny. Just win. Win and you’re in and the Quakes did it with a one goal victory over Minnesota 3-2.

San Jose came out like they wanted it. Putting pressure on the opposing goalkeeper early, with a lot of urgency. In the 15th minute Danny Hoesen would break free of the back line and put a low ball between the legs of the keeper, igniting the already electric atmosphere. It was far from over though, Minnesota United committed to spoiling the day for San Jose. 20 minutes later, after almost conceding a penalty, the Earthquakes were scored on by a beauty of a goal by Jerome Theisson. With the score tied, San Jose couldn’t afford to let up. A tie game would leave their playoff hopes to chance.

Star man, Chris Wondolowski scored quickly after play resumed. The scales would be equalized again in the 81st minute by United’s Francisco Calvo. With nine minutes to go in regulation, a score was of paramount importance. Then the clock struck 90:00 and it seemed that the game would end up a draw. With their playoff hopes in the air.  Then the magic happened, in the third minute of added time. The ball bounced around the box, as it had so many times unsuccessfully early this season. But this time it paid off and the ball fell to Marco Urena right in front of the goal. And he put it in for the win.

With that goal, the San Jose Earthquakes are in. They are going to the 2017 MLS Playoffs.

Earthquakes fall to Fire 4-1

Photo credit: Major League Soccer (@MLS)

By: Ana Kieu

SAN JOSE — Chris Wondolowski broke the scoreless deadlock late in the match, but the Chicago Fire finished with a 4-1 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes at Avaya Stadium.

The Fire opened the scoring early in the first half as Djordje Mihailovic kicked the ball in for his first career MLS goal at the 14th minute.

Luis Solignac used the power of his head to put the ball into the net and the Fire took a 2-0 lead at the 39th minute.

The Fire built up two goals and carried a 2-0 lead to the locker room at halftime.

The Fire continued to burn in the second half. Nemanja Nikolic scored at the 48th minute to give his team a 3-0 lead.

The Quakes put themselves in the same dark hole like they did in Washington D.C. last Saturday. Nikolic notched his 20th goal of the season at the 65th minute.

The Quakes were on the verge of being handed a second consecutive shutout loss until Wondolowski hit his 12th goal of the season at the 87th minute. Despite the incredible goal, the Fire continued to hold onto a 4-1 lead until the very end of the match.

Notes
Only one Western Conference side has fewer home losses than the Earthquakes’ one (SKC – 0). The Quakes are also in the midst of a seven-game unbeaten run at home.

Wednesday night marked the first showdown between the Quakes and Fire at Avaya Stadium since the venue’s first-ever regular season match in 2015.

The Quakes have gone 3-0-1 in their last four games following a loss.

The Quakes close out the season with three of their last four games at Avaya Stadium. They’re 8-0-2 in their last 10 home matches, including MLS and U.S. Open Cup contests.

Up Next
The Earthquakes host the Portland Timbers on Saturday night at 7:15 p.m. PST.

Earthquakes Draw In Crucial Match Against Sounders

By Shawn Whelchel

sjearthquakes.com photo: San Jose Earthquakes Chris Wondolowski scores his tenth goal becomes the first player to score ten or more goals in seven seasons as he faces off here against the Seattle Sound on Saturday night at Avaya Stadium

SAN JOSE, Calif.-The Earthquakes struck early, but failed to fend off a late surge from an aggressive Seattle Sounders team on Saturday night, settling for a 1-1 draw in a crucial game in the Western Conference race.

The draw between the Western Conference rivals caps off a frustrating four-game skid for San Jose in which the team has been held without a win while sitting in the 7th spot in the standings.

While the Earthquakes will certainly take the one point allotted to them in Saturday night’ tie, the frustration is mounting within an organization that’s on the fringe of being eliminated from the playoff race.

“It hurts,” said head coach Dominic Kinnear. “If you look at New York, Houston and even tonight, you walk off the field with two points out of those three games. It hurts you in the standings and it hurts because I think we should have had more.”

Entering the day just three points behind the red line in a tight race for the final playoff position, San Jose looked to snap their untimely winless streak with a relentless attack that kept Seattle on their heals through most of the early going.

San Jose tested Seattle’s net minder Stefan Frei early and often while scrapping their way to multiple set pieces early on in the match, sending multiple dangerous attempts towards the net that were just barely turned away.

But it would be none other than Chris Wandolowski who would snap the Earthquakes’ streak of 235 straight minutes without a goal, as the captain would flick a shot passed the outstretched hands of Frei in the 20′ minute after a nice touch by Jordan Stewart sent the ball towards the front of the net.

Wandolowski’s score would mark his 10th career goal against Seattle, the most by a single player in MLS history against the team.

The Sounders would respond with a tempered attack of their own, as Seattle’s Tyrone Mears threatened an equalizer after skipping a ball across the front of the San Jose goal just minutes later, but San Jose would escape the half holding their 1-0 advantage.

Entering the final half of play in a desperate bid to keep their own playoff hopes alive, the Sounders pushed forward against the San Jose defense with relentless pressure of their own, dominating the control of the game.

San Jose’s defense would eventually break on a costly mistake, allowing a free kick from Nicolas Lodeiro to squeak past goaltender David Bingham to notch things up at 1-1.

San Jose fought desperately for a last-minute score to reclaim the lead, sending multiple threatening free kicks and a botched strike by Chad Barrett towards Seattle’s net, but had their efforts turned away to end the night with just one point.

After the game, both coaches expressed dismay at the outcome that barely helped either of the two playoff hopefuls.

“You can’t creep up, you have to take big steps,” said Kinnear. “But right now we’re creeping instead of taking big steps.”

San Jose will look for the elusive three-point win next Saturday in the tough confines of the Colorado Rapids

 

Wondolowski can’t finish as Earthquakes, NYCFC finish scoreless

Chris Wondolowski misfired on a few scoring chances in the Earthquakes' scoreless draw against NYCFC on Friday (Kelley L Cox / USA Today Sports)
Chris Wondolowski misfired on a few scoring chances in the Earthquakes’ scoreless draw against NYCFC on Friday (Kelley L Cox / USA Today Sports)

By: Eric He

SAN JOSE – Give Chris Wondolowski a prime scoring chance around the net and he’ll usually convert. On Friday night, he had not one, not two, not three, but four great opportunities in the second half to put one past the goalkeeper. None of them went in.

The result? A disappointing scoreless draw for the San Jose Earthquakes against the New York City FC in front of a sold-out Avaya Stadium.

“Not happy with this point, no,” head coach Dominic Kinnear said. “We should have come out with the win. I think we know that … We had some good looks. To come out with no goals is a bit surprising tonight.”

San Jose applied pressure throughout the second half and consistently knocked on the doorstep. Wondolowski had several chances from in close, none better than in the 69th minute when a deflected shot by Shea Salinas found Wondolowski all alone in front. But his volley bounced off the post to keep the match scoreless.

The captain said that was the opportunity he’d like to have back the most.

“I thought I had a little more time, but I’ve got to finish it,” he said.

Wondolowski also had opportunities in the 52nd and 57th minutes – the first of which was a header from point blank that went wide.

“I wasn’t losing any confidence,” Wondolowski said. “Just bad choices, bad execution, poor finishing.”

Chad Barrett subbed in and had a great scoring chance in the 76th minute off a terrific lead pass, but he was denied by NYCFC goalkeeper Josh Saunders. Another excellent ball in the 84th minute gave Wondolowski a chance on an odd-man rush, but he once again took to long to shoot and his attempt was blocked.

“Soccer’s always that game,” he said. “It ebbs and flows. I think we created some chances, especially myself. We need to finish them, and that changes the whole course of the game.”

The Earthquakes, who outshot NYCFC 19-10, also had the better of opportunities in the first half, but both teams entered the locker room scoreless. The 10th minute featured a cross by Quincy Amarikwa to Anibal Godoy, but his shot went high. Amarikwa had a chance three minutes later in front, but Saunders gobbled up the ball.

Another chance early in the first half saw Alberto Quintero weave his way through the defense, but he couldn’t get the shot off. Godoy had another opportunity in the 24th minute from point blank, but Saunders made the stop.

“The attitude of the guys, they’re disappointed in the locker room right now,” Kinnear said. “Ties are good, but we’ve got to do better than good right now, we’ve got to get some wins. To win games we need to start scoring some goals.”

David Bingham fended off shots as well on his net, with is biggest save in the half coming in the 31st minute, stopping Frank Lampard. As a whole, the Earthquakes managed to keep NYCFC’s star-power at bay, with the high press proving effective.

In fact, it was the first time NYCFC, the highest scoring team in MLS, had been shutout in 11 matches.

“I felt we were solid defensively tonight,” said defenseman Jordan Stewart. “It didn’t look like we were going to concede a goal tonight the way we were playing.”

This is the Earthquakes’ third consecutive draw. They have 12 games remaining and sit two points out of a playoff spot. That isn’t ideal, Wondolowski admitted, but it’s enough to give him hope.

“I think we have a very special locker room,” he said. “I love what we have here. I still think we can do some great things. Nothing’s changed, nothing’s wavered, and the belief is stronger than ever.”

Welcome aboard

Before the game, the Earthquakes made a trade, acquiring El Salvador National Team captain Darwin Ceren from Orlando City SC for Matias Perez Garcia and an international roster slot.

Ceren subbed in for Fatai Alashe in the 82nd minute, making his Earthquakes’ debut.

“I’m motivated to fit in and continue to play well with these guys,” he said. “Now I have to continue to play hard and earn the right to continue to play significant minutes.”

Wondolowski Header Hands Earthquakes A Win On Opening Day.

By Shawn Whelchel

photo credit: San Jose Mercury News– San Jose Earthquakes goalkeeper David Bingham (1) dives to make a save grabbing the ball away from Shkelzen Gashi (11) of the Colorado Rapids on Sunday

SAN JOSE–Chris Wondolowski’s header was all the San Jose Earthquakes would need to secure a win on opening day of the 2016 MLS season, as a strong defensive effort from David Bingham would keep the Colorado Rapids off the scorecard for a 1-nil victory at Avaya Stadium.

Bingham had an outstanding day guarding the net for San Jose, making five saves on 18 shots from the Rapids, while showing off his hands and athleticism repelling a second-half flurry from the visiting team.

San Jose would secure their lone goal with the help of a new face-and their old reliable captain-as Alberto Quintero would feed a beautiful ball into the cutting Wondolowski for the go-ahead score at the start of the second-half. Despite a second-half outburst from the Rapids which saw them line-up 13 of their 18 total shots on the day, San Jose walked away victors for their 13th consecutive match without a loss against Colorado.

The Quakes got off to a sluggish start on the slippery turf at Avaya on Sunday, doing most of their work on the defensive side as the Rapids looked to be the aggressors early on.

Bingham received no grace period to start the season, being thrust into action to stop multiple Rapids’ attempts throughout the half. Kevin Doyle and Dillon Powers-who accounted for three of the Rapids five first-half shots- sent a trio of dangerous balls towards San Jose’s net. San Jose’s offensive attack couldn’t offer Bingham an extended spell either, as Colorado dominated the time of possession at 57.1 percent throughout the first 45-minutes of play as well, keeping the 26-year old Bay Area native on his toes.

While Bingham was busy showcasing his good hands, Colorado goaltender Zac MacMath had a relatively easy going early on. Quincy Amarikwa broke free on a dangerous run towards the goal near the 33′ minute mark, but was thwarted by a well-timed tackle by Rapids defender Jarred Watts near the goal. San Jose would loft up a few lazy shots throughout the frame, but failed to seriously threaten in a lackluster opening half.

But the revamped Earthquakes would shake off the season-opening cobwebs to start the second half, earning their inaugural 2016 goal off the head of the man who put through 16 for the team last year.

Just seconds after the sound of the whistle, newcomer Quintero- who was loaned to the team from Lobos BUAP in February-would feed the cutting Wondolowski a well-placed ball that would find the back of the net for a 1-0 advantage.

San Jose would continue to keep their newfound intensity up, with both Wondolowski and Tommy Thompson nearly missing a second goal for their club. But with time running out, Colorado launched a furious attempt to find an equalizer against Bingham.

Marco Pappa nearly connected with the back of the net on two attempts, including a free-kick attempt and a dangerous header attempt at the 88′ mark that just scraped the left-side of the goal post before heading out of bounds. Dominique Badji would also threaten the Earthquakes lead with a dangerous sprint up the middle of the pitch for an uncontested try that sailed into the second deck. Badji would represent the Rapids last attempt before game’s end as well, with Victor Bernardez showing some defensive prowess to stop the midfielder’s attempt before Bingham would make his fifth and final save.

The win represents the second-straight opening day victory for the Earthquakes at Avaya, and sets them off on the right foot for the 2016 MLS season. San Jose has a week off before facing the Portland Timbers on March 13 at 4:00 p.m.

Goodson Returns, Nets Game-winner for Quakes

By Matthew T.F. Harrington

SAN JOSE, Calif. – On a night when the City of San Jose’s Department of Environmental Services sponsored the match with blurbs regarding littering and pollution, it was the San Jose Earthquakes who properly disposed of the unwanted Friday. In blanking the visiting Colorado Rapids 1-0 at Avaya Stadium, the Quakes (8-10-5) tossed away a six-game unbeaten stretch to pick up their first win since June 20th.

Clarence Goodson, returning from injury, netted the game-winner in the 53rd minute and goalkeeper David Bingham collected the clean sheet to keep San Jose out of the bottom leg of the Western Conference table and pull within three points of Seattle for the final playoff spot. Colorado (5-9-9) meanwhile, falls five points back of San Jose in last place in the conference.

“I’m really happy with the effort,” said Quakes coach Dominic Kinnear. “The guys were good. A real good goal, a lot of second efforts on that part of it. It would have been nice to have gotten a second to kind of ease the pressure on us a little bit, but any time you shut out a team it gives you a chance to win and one goal was enough for us tonight.”

The contest wasn’t without its drawbacks. Defender Jordan Stewart played an integral part in withstanding an early Rapids onslaught, but exited the contest in the 27th minute with an Achilles injury. While the severity of the injury is unknown, it appears he’ll be absent from the San Jose roster for a sizeable period of time.

“He’s a great soccer player and an even greater person,” said Wondolowski. “True professional in every sense of the word. I’m definitely going to miss him, he’s a good friend. He’s been playing great this whole season. Shaun Francis did a great job stepping in there.”

Another Quake was hampered by injury, but isn’t expected to miss any time. Matias Perez Garcia was limited to 50 minutes with a hamstring ailment before being replaced by recent acquisition Marc Pelosi.

“You could tell it was kind of hindering him a little bit,” said Kinnear. “We tried to hopefully get him going a little bit at halftime, and it just wasn’t happening.”

Goodson looked like he put behind his left leg injury in a fantastic effort that included stalwart defense and the winning score. Chris Wondolowski, playing closer to midfield in a new alignment for Kinnear, managed to place the ball at Quincy Amarikwa’s left foot. Amarikwa lofted it to the right post where Goodson could cash it in for the 1-0 lead.

“I’m not going to miss too many of those,” said Goodson on Amarikwa’s perfect feed. “He said get back there so I got back there. That’s such a good ball. It was a slam dunk.”

While Goodson was making his first MLS appearance since July 26, another player for San Jose was making his MLS debut. Midfielder Anibal Godoy made his debut after touching down in the United States just 24 hours earlier.

“He was brilliant tonight,” said Wondolowski. “He covered some serious ground tonight.”

Godoy landed in Los Angeles Thursday night from his native Panama, spent the night in SoCal before flying up to the Bay Area on the morning of the match. There was no hesitation for Kinnear to insert the International into the line-up and allow him to play a full 90 minutes.

“At this time in the season when you bring in a player like him,” said Kinnear.  “Or you bring in somebody new that you think can help the team, he’s not here to blend in and to work his way into the game.

Godoy, contrary to the expected, said he felt very comfortable in his maiden match with the Quakes, in large part due to the cohesion of the group.

“I felt like I had played with this team for 15 games,” said Godoy after the match through a translator. Godoy was familiar with some Quakes players previously and noted that their team communication made it easy to jump in.

On paper it still is only one match for Godoy, but he’ll get another chance to work on team chemistry on Wednesday when the Quakes head to Kansas City followed by a Saturday match in D.C. From there, Godoy and his Quakes mates will return home for a four-game homestand amidst their playoff push.

“This group of guys knows if we can stay hungry and stay united, we can win some matches,” said Godoy. “Today we demonstrated that we are a solid squad and if we continue to play like this we will reach our goal.”

Wondolowski Joins Century Club, Quakes Draw Orlando City 1-1

By Matthew T.F. Harrington

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Chris Wondolowski joined MLS royalty in Sunday’s 1-1 draw between the San Jose Earthquakes and Orlando City SC at Levi’s Stadium, scoring the tying goal on a penalty kick to become just the ninth player in league history to score 100 career goals.

“I’m very grateful,” said Wondolowski. “I know the historic value of it. I do appreciate it, but I think it’s one of those things that will slowly sink in. It hasn’t sunken in yet.”

Wondolowski’s marker extended the undefeated run by San Jose (5-4-3) to five games after Kaka put Orlando City (3-5-4) up 1-0 with a penalty strike of his own.

The two teams battled to a standstill in the first half, but a pair of penalty kicks broke open the flood gates in the second half.

“40 yards and in we were a bit missing today,” said Quakes coach Dominic Kinnear. “We had a couple of good opportunities in the first half, a couple chances off set pieces. They were well organized, we were well organized. Sometimes defense rules the day and that’s what happened.”

Despite being down a man after Brek Shea was shown the red card for a spikes-up slide tackle in the 51st minute, the Lions struck first. Goalkeeper Tally Hall lofted a long ball into the attacking penalty box. Forward Cyle Larin and Quakes keeper David Bingham collided going after the 50-50 ball. Referee Allen Chapman awarded Orlando City a penalty kick for apparent contact to the face of the Lion attacker.

“For us to allow that ball to bounce once close to our area is a definite no-no,” said Kinnear. “That five-second segment was the worst we defended all year and we got punished for it.”

After weeks of hype in the media leading up to the game, soccer superstar Kaka delivered on the pitch. The Brazilian went left as goalkeeper David Bingham went right on the penalty kick for a 1-0 lead in the 64th minute.

The name opposite Kaka on the marquee leading up to Sunday played the perfect foil, with Chris Wondolowski one-upping the former FIFA World Player of the Year by scoring a significant MLS milestone.

After Orlando committed a penalty in the box, Wondolowski lined up the penalty kick looking to draw San Jose even and pull himself into a tie with Edson Buddle as the eighth-highest scoring player in league history.

He did just that in the 68th minute, getting Hall to guess wrong on a low dribbler to the left for his 7th strike of the season.

The two-time MLS Golden Boot winner raced into the goal to retrieve the ball before being mobbed by his teammates feting him for his accomplishment. The goal scorer wasn’t doing it to soak in the moment though, he wanted to get play started as soon as possible.

“I was ready to go,” said Wondolowski. “I really wanted to get a victory, especially being up a man.”

“I talked to Chris after the game, he wasn’t happy with the result” said Kinnear. “I told him ‘Take a step back. Recognize what you’ve done’. It’s an incredible achievement, couldn’t have happened to a better guy. It’s not the end of his story, but it’s a great accomplishment for a person who has overcome a lot.”

Not too shabby for a player who, coming out of Chico State in 2005, played sparsely for San Jose after being drafted by Kinnear.

“I’m very grateful,” said Wondolowski. “I know the historic value of it. I do appreciate it, but I think it’s one of those things that will slowly sink in. It hasn’t sunken in yet.”

When the team moved to Houston, Wondolowski ultimately was traded by Kinnear back to San Jose where he’s scored all but 4 of his goals. Just this season Kinnear resumed duties as bench boss in Santa Clara.

“I haven’t really sat down with him and said ‘Hey, remember when I traded you’,” said Kinnear jokingly. “’What a great accomplishment.’ Looking at his career at the time, he wasn’t going to have a chance to play in Houston. I thought for him to ply his trade at home, I only made one call on Chris, and that was to San Jose.”

“He has great vision,” Wondolowski said of Kinnear with a smile and tongue firmly planted in cheek. “He knew he was coming back here. He knew he couldn’t bring me there. It was all a master plan.”

If the Danville native keeps up his pace this season, he could end the season as high as 5th on the all-time MLS scoring list. He’d pass Taylor Twellman (101), Dwayne De Rosario (104) and Jason Kreis (108) in the process.

“He’s done it not playing for the glamour team,” said Kinnear. “He’s done it with some calls not going his way. To get 100 goals as the ninth guy in the MLS, he should be really proud of himself.”

That he’d be able to do it all close to home means all that much more to the Quakes mainstay.

“It’s an amazing thing,” said Wondolowski. “I love it. I grew up with this club. To be able to do it for the hometown team in front of friends and family is pretty cool. I got to give my dad a hug after. He had tears in his eyes. It’s one of those things that he definitely appreciated, and I appreciate everything that he’s done.”

For now the season marches on, with nearly a third of the season over for a Quakes team just three points back of FC Dallas for the top spot in the Western Conference.

“We’ve had five home games out of 12,” said Kinnear on the schedule so far. “I’m happy with the guys. The competitive spirit is great. At times we look like a great team. That shows the potential that we have. To see where we’re at and the company that we’re keeping in the Western Conference, we’re doing something right.”