Salinas goes out a hero in final home match of his career in Earthquakes 2-0 shutout win over Minnesota United

Shea Salinas being celebrated by his teammates after his final home match, a 2-0 win over Minnesota FC, at Pay Pal Park in San Jose on Saturday Oct 1, 2022. (San Jose Earthquakes)

by Marko Ukalovic

It was a swan sung to remember for Shea Salinas.

The San Jose Earthquakes veteran midfielder, who played in his final home match of his storied career, scored the game winning goal in a 2-0 shutout victory over the Minnesota United on Saturday evening in the home season finale at Pay Pal Park.

Salinas, who announced his retirement from the game this past Wednesday, was given the start in the midfield by interim head coach Alex Covelo in his final home match of his career.

He made the most of his 63 minutes on the pitch with the goal on two shots. The Man of the Match received a standing ovation from the ‘Quakes faithful on hand that witnessed the final time he donned the home jersey. Covelo substituted in forward Benji Kikanovic in the 64th minute.

Salinas’ goal came in the 52nd minute off a free kick just inside the D. His shot deflected off the leg off Emmanuel Reynoso and past United goalkeeper David St. Clair for his first goal of the season. It was the 22nd goal of his 15-year career in his 375th MLS appearance.

Salinas set up his own goal two minutes earlier when he intercepted a pass at midfield and raced down the middle of the pitch only to be tripped up by Michael Boxall before making a shot attempt on net.

“Tonight was special, (it fees) still kind of surreal, the whole thing,” Salinas said after the match. “It doesn’t feel like the last game (at home). I felt good out there but (I’m) also excited for the future. I thought it was a good way to end it, it was fun.”

San Jose won just their eight match of the season with one left go before they wrap it up for 2022. It was big blow to Minnesota’s playoff hopes as they weren’t able to gain any ground as they stood stuck with 45 points, one point ahead of Real Salt Lake for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. They are 0-5-1 in their last six matches.

“For me, to coach Shea (Salinas) is a pleasure. I’ve known him since I came here in 2017. He always has been a role model on and off the field. I was on the bench in 2017 when Shea scored the second goal and gave us the victory that day at Stanford. It has been a pleasure,” Covelo said.

Kikanovic gave San Jose (8-15-10) an insurance goal in the 71st minute. Jeremy Ebobisee chipped a ball over Kikanovic out to the middle and he dribbled out the right wing before depositing the ball into the lower left corner for his sixth goal of the season.

Minnesota United (13-14-6) came out flat with hardly any desperation setting up a winner take all scenario heading into Decision Day next Sunday against Vancouver in a race that has five teams separated by only four points.

The best scoring chance for the visiting team came in the 48th minute when a shot from the left wing by Reynoso was knocked away by ‘Quakes goalkeeper JTMarcinkowski and out of danger.

Marcinkowsi finished the match stopping the two shots on target to earn his fourth clean sheet of the season. St. Clair made four saves on six shots on target in the losing effort.

In the end it was a scripted ending perfect for Salinas that everyone had hoped for but no one expected.

Salinas said to closed out by saying “It was pretty funny. They were huddled up, talking about some plan, and I was jokingly over their shoulder like, ‘Hey guys, I’m just going to shoot it,’ and I walked away. But they were like, ‘No, seriously, that’s fine. Shoot it.’ I haven’t taken a direct free kick my entire career.  I think God had this all planned out and I got to celebrate.”

GAME NOTES: San Jose finished with seven corner kicks. Minnesota had six.

San Jose is now 5-4-2 all-time vs. Minnesota United FC, including a 3-2-1 record at PayPal Park.

The Earthquakes are now 8-11-7 in MLS play under Covelo.

Minnesota United had it seven match unbeaten streak snapped as they were 5-0-2 previously against San Jose

San Jose has scored 29 goals in the second half this season.

Salinas still holds the club record with 50 assists.

UP NEXT: San Jose closes out the regular season against the Seattle Sounders on Sunday 10/9 at 2:00pm at Lumen Field.

Earthquakes fall to Minnesota United 1-0

The Minnesota United FC’s Luis Amarilla scored nine minutes into the first half that’s all the United would need to defeat the visiting San Jose Earthquakes at Allianz Field in St. Paul Sat Mar 19, 2022 (file photo from mls.com)

by Marko Ukalovic

ST.PAUL, Minn. — Luis Amarilla scored a first-half strike, and it was all Minnesota United FC needed to overcome the San Jose Earthquakes 1-0 at Allianz Field on Saturday night.

Amarilla had a mini-redemption arc over nine minutes of an action-packed first half to get MNUFC (2-0-2) on the board. After just putting a chip attempt over the crossbar in the 23rd minute, leading a break that looked sure to produce the game’s opener, Amarilla struck gold in the 32nd minute, making a defense-splitting run to meet Robin Lod’s pass from the wing, and finishing smartly.

“We knew they could hurt us with [Luis] Amarilla, where they looked for him a lot with their crosses and that’s how they scored. After they went up, we still couldn’t find our groove. It was one of the worst starts that we’ve had,” said Quakes head coach Matias Almeyda.

In the second half, the teams dueled each other without adding to the scoresheet. Benji Kikanovic came closest for the Quakes (0-3-1) on a 56th-minute attempt. The Loons threatened to double their lead on a Bongokuhle Hlongwane corker and a Lod scorpion kick that nearly fell below the crossbar before an attentive JT Marcinkowski palmed it out.

The Quakes’ keeper also saved on a 1-on-1 situation in stoppage time against Franco Fragapance to give his offense one last-gasp chance.

“The roles changed a little bit at halftime and that gave us some more numbers out wide to try and create some overloads in wide areas. I thought we did that well late on,” said Quakes defender Tanner Beason.

Dayne St. Clair had a perfect clean sheet as the Quakes did not register a shot on net. Marcinkowski made four saves on five shots in the losing effort.

GAME NOTES: Each team finished with four corner kicks.

The Quakes now hold a 4-4-2 all-time record against Minnesota United FC, including a 2-2-1 record on the road.

UP NEXT: San Jose returns back to action after the International break as they host Austin FC on Saturday 4/2 at 4:30pm at Pay Pal Park.

Earthquakes left frustrated in 1-1 draw with Minnesota United

Chris Wondolowski of the San Jose Earthquakes gets a hug from his father after making his 400th career appearance as a substitute during the 85th minute against the Minnesota FC on Tue Aug 17, 2021 (photo from @SJEarthquakes)

by Marko Ukalovic

SAN JOSE—It’s usually not a good thing when an official makes himself a part of a match.

The San Jose Earthquakes found that out the hard way in a 1-1 draw with Minnesota United on Tuesday evening at Pay Pal Park.

Referee Victor Rivas, in his first full season as a referee in MLS, left the home team frustrated at the end of match with numerous non-calls against Minnesota that appeared to be fouls.

The worse non-call came in the 80th minute when Cade Cowell, a substitute in the 54th minute, came streaking in on a one-on-two break and DJ Taylor appeared to have drug him down. Rivas ruled to play on, much to the chagrin of Quakes head coach Matias Almeyda and the 10,353 fans in attendance.

“The truth is I’m really upset,” said an animated Almeyda. “I’ve been speaking out about these misses (calls) for a while. It’s not a justification. We’ve lost matches to our mistakes. If there is a DP on the other team and they protect them. (I want them to) protect my youngsters (too). Have the fouls be the same and have them call it the same way (on both sides). My complaint is to have it (the match) called even. And when we protest, we get sent off!”

San Jose, with the tie, extended its unbeaten streak to nine games. Minnesota United are 3-1-3 in its past seven matches.

San Jose (5-7-8-23 points) drew first blood in the 12th minute. A service from across the pitch left to right from Marcos Lopez found Cristian Espinoza along the right wing. Espinoza dribbled inside and fired a shot from just beyond the box that deflected off the leg of fullback Bakaye Dibassy into the back of the net for an own goal.

The tide turned in the 21st minute when defenseman Nathan slid hard into Dibassy with his cleats up that injured the Minnesota defenseman. Referee Victor Rivas initially issued a yellow card. After a VAR review, the infraction was changed to a red card and an automatic ejection. Nathan will be suspended for the next match against the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Minnesota United (7-6-6-27 points) made San Jose pay immediately. In the 22nd minute, Ethan Finlay centered a ball over to Adrien Hunou inside the box. Hunou made a back pass over to Wil Trapp open from 15 yards out. Trapp fired a shot into the lower right corner that beat Quakes goalie JT Marcinkowski.

Both teams had scoring chances in the final minutes of stoppage time in the first half.

Hassani Dotson’s right footed shot from the right side of the box was knocked away by Marcinkowski in the third minute of stoppage time.

Jeremy Ebobisse set up Espinoza in the fifth minute of stoppage time, but Espinoza’s right footed shot headed for the top left corner was stoned away by Miller.

Despite being down a man for the rest of the game, San Jose didn’t sit back and defend just to have a tie. They countered attacked in the second half when Cowell, Carlos Fierro and Paul Marie came into the match as subs in the second half.

The Quakes had a chance one minute into stoppage time in the second half to score the game winning goal when Jackson Yueill had a free kick from just beyond the box. However, his right footed attempt sailed high and wide right of the net.

Marcinkowski finished the match making two saves on the four shot attempts by Minnesota United. Miller made one save on three shots on net.

GAME NOTES: San Jose finished with three corner kicks. Minnesota United had seven.

Chris Wondolowski made his 400th MLS appearance as a substitute in the 85th minute.

The Earthquakes nine game unbeaten streak is the longest of the season and is the longest unbeaten streak since August-November 2012, going 10 in a row without a loss (including playoffs).

Minnesota United’s 1-0 loss to LA Galaxy on Saturday was its second loss in the last 14 matches (W7 D6). The Loons are tied with Nashville and New England for the fewest losses in MLS in that time (since May 12).

UP NEXT-San Jose travels out to Los Angeles to take on the Galaxy in the third installment of the California Classico on Friday 8/20 at 7:30pm at Dignity Health Sports Park.

Earthquakes’ late equalizer earns 2-2 draw with Minnesota FC

Shea Salinas picked up his 50th assist for the San Jose Earthquakes against Minnesota FC at Allianz Stadium in St Paul on Sat Jul 3, 2021 (@SJEarthqukes photo)

by Marko Ukalovic

ST PAUL—The San Jose Earthquakes used some late match magic from one of their young forwards to earn a 2-2 draw with Minnesota FC on Saturday evening at Allianz Stadium.

Benji Kinkanovic scored his first career MLS goal in the 82nd minute as San Jose escaped the Twin Cities with a point. While it snapped their two-game losing streak, the Quakes are still winless in its last eight games. Minnesota is undefeated in its last seven games (4-0-3) and have conceded only four goals in that stretch.

Shea Salinas setup Kikanovic just outside the box on the left side. The rookie, who came in as a substitute in the 73rd minute, dribbled past two defenders before roofing a shot into the upper center of the net past Minnesota FC goalie Tyler Miller. Kikanovic scored his first goal for San Jose in just his fourth appearance for the club.

“Yeah, we were actually down 2-1. He just told me to keep attacking, go forward, don’t try to play back, but keep it simple. Once I came in, I was just kind of waiting for my opportunity. Obviously, Shea [Salinas] was on the left and I just tucked in a little bit. He found me and I saw open space and was like, ‘Alright I’m going to take it. Either he’s going to foul me in the box and we’ll get a PK or I’m going to score,’ and I just happened to score,” Kikanovic said.

San Jose (3-7-2) drew first blood early in the first half. Cristian Espinoza pick-pocketed the ball away from Bakaye Dibassy. Espinoza dribbled into the middle of the before finding a wide open Cade Cowell who one-timed the ball into an empty net. It marked Cowell’s team-leading fourth goal of the season.

“I think as a young player, it’s not easy playing in these types of matches,” said Quakes head coach Matias Almeyda on the team’s youth scoring both goals of the match. “I have always debuted young players, and there are moments for them to play, and moments when they don’t play. Today, we were forced to play them because that is our reality. It makes me happy to see them progress rapidly. When they have 50 appearances with the senior team, I think then they will be ready to execute what I ask from them.”

Minnesota FC (4-4-3) answered back in the final seconds of stoppage time in the first half. Off a corner kick, Franco Fragapane volleyed the ball back into the center of the box with a bicycle kick. Brent Kallman out battled Tyler Beason and in one motion kicked a left-footed shot from a tough angle past Quakes goalie JT Marcinkowski for his first goal of the season.

The home team seized the momentum from the late first half goal and carried it into the start of the second half. They had three scoring chances inside a minute from the 52nd-53rd minute which included Fragapane’s left footed shot hitting the post.

Minnesota FC drew a penalty kick when Judson took down Chase Gasper inside the box in the 64th minute. A VAR review of the play confirmed the penalty. Ramon Abila’s initial penalty kick was saved by Marcinowski but Abila cleaned up the rebound for his second goal of the season a minute later.

The Quakes almost pulled off the upset in the third minute of stoppage time when Orlando Alanis’s free kick from right side hit off the post.

Marcinkowski finished the match with three saves on five shots. Miller made one save on three shots.

Nathan Cardosa, known simply as Nathan, made his MLS debut for San Jose since the team acquired the Brazilian center back from Swiss club FC Zurich and signed him to a three-year contract (2021-23) with a club option for 2024 using Targeted Allocation on June 25th. Nathan started in the back four and played all 90 minutes.

“Some ties can be a good thing,” said Nathan after playing in his first MLS match. “I think we should be pleased with the result on the road. I’m pleased with my performance, but I am not yet in sync with the team. Before these next few matches, I will work to improve and get better. I think I will be at 100 percent very soon.”

GAME NOTES: San Jose had four corner kicks. Minnesota FC had seven.

The Quakes are now 4-3-1 all-time vs. Minnesota, including a 2-1-1 away record.

San Jose became the first team to score 2+ goals vs. Minnesota since May 8, snapping a streak of six matches with one or fewer conceded.

Cowell scored his fifth goal of his MLS career. He has now scored in each of the last two matches.

Espinoza tallied an assist on Cowell’s goal, marking his third assist of the season and 25th of his MLS career. Espinoza is now in sole possession of 10th place on the team’s all-time assists leaderboard.

Salinas tallied an assist on Kikanovic’s goal, marking his second assist of the season and 53rd of his MLS career. It also marked his 50th assist with the Earthquakes, extending his club assists record.

Marcinkowski made his 12th start of the season, the most starts he’s made in a single season in his MLS career.

Cowell (17 years and 263 days) and Kikanovic (21 years and 179 days), the Earthquakes’ two goal-scorers tonight, have a combined age of 19 years and 226 days.

UP NEXT: The Quakes return to action when they face the Colorado Rapids on Saturday, July 17. The match kicks off from Dick’s Sporting Goods Park at 6:00pm.