By Shawn Whelchel
SAN JOSE, California-The San Jose Earthquakes nearly avoided dropping their second consecutive game after returning home to Avaya Stadium on Saturday night, as some late game heroics saw the retro-clad home team escape with a 1-1 draw against D.C. United.
After 87 frustrating minutes that saw San Jose squander multiple looks at the net, the Quakes finally broke through their string of misfortunes when Adam Jahn made a sprinting strike off of a beautiful cross from Shea Shalinas to notch the Quakes one and only goal.
The goal would be all San Jose needed to avoid consecutive losses after a 3-1 downing in Los Angeles two weeks ago.And while the outcome isn’t ultimately what head coach Dominic Kinnear would have hoped for, it was a welcomed sight at the end of a trying effort.
“I though the effort tonight was great. Ties aren’t the same, they’re a little bit different where if we got scored on late, the feeling would have been sickening. But it does give you a lift when you score late and you can get something.”
The score came from an unlikely hero in Jahn, who played a game-low eight minutes. But Kinnear said that the substitution was intended to take advantage of his height to break the opposing defense.
“I thought with Adam we could get a little more territory…I think at that time it helped to have Adam’s height and his eagerness to get on the other side of crosses. Good for him.”
Despite being the aggressors early and often, the San Jose Earthquakes couldn’t find the back of the net in what turned out to be a frustrating first-half for the home team.
San Jose had multiple looks at the net, including tries from Tommy Thompson, Chris Wondolowski and Quincy Amarikwa, but couldn’t cash in on the stumbling D.C. defense. But despite the aggressive pushes from the Quakes, it was United who struck first, as Patrick Nyarko took advantage of a momentary lapse in the San Jose’s defense to put the first goal on the board with a sprinter header past the outstretched hands of David Bingham at the 34′ minute mark.
San Jose would nearly add an equalizer just moments later off a beautiful feed from a Wondolowski header near the net, but Amarikwa would be caught jumping offsides to negate the goal. Nyarko’s goal energized the previous lackluster D.C squad, leading to another dangerous attempt from Fabian Espindola at the 38′ minute mark before the Earthquakes would retreat to the locker room at the half with a one score deficit.
The frustrations continued to spill over from the first half for San Jose, as the home team frantically sought to appease the loud Avaya crowd with a flurry of shots to open the second frame.
Alberto Quintero played spoiler to his team’s own cause on a three-man rush towards the net for San Jose. Quintero found himself alone on the left wing with two attacking Quakes on the far side of the pitch, but couldn’t chip the ball over Travis Worra for the score. Moments later, Amarikwa would put his second and third shots on the goal, only to be denied in back-to-back attempts. Both Tommy Thompson and Wondolowski would later find themselves in front of the goal, only to send lazy attempts into the chest of Worra in what seemed like a contest where the Quakes couldn’t buy a goal.
But with the time winding down on San Jose’s efforts, a pair of substitutes would breathe new life into San Jose’s lackluster offense. With San Jose seeming desperate for a solution, Shea Salinas would shake his man on the wing to send a cross towards the sprinting Adam Jahn, whose split-legged slide would add the equalizer for the Earthquakes in the 88′ minute.
The Earthquakes would add one last furious attempt to find the back of the net before the whistle would sound on stoppage time, sending D.C home still in search of their first win of the season, while sneaking away with a point of their own.