Galaxy upend Quakes 1-0 with second half own goal

The Los Angeles Galaxy celebrate after a deflected ball that went off of the San Jose Earthquakes Tanner Beason’s foot and went into the Quakes own goal for the score of the night as the Galaxy wound up chalking up the win at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson (@LA Galaxy photo)

by Marko Ukalovic

CARSON, Calif—Jonathan Bond stole the show late in the second half as the Los Angeles Galaxy only needed one goal to defeat the San Jose Earthquakes 1-0 in the first installment of the 2021 California Classico on Saturday afternoon at Dignity Health Sports Park.

San Jose has lost a season worst four matches in a row and have been stuck on nine points for the past month. Los Angeles have won three out of its last four matches and have 15 points. They are undefeated at home at 4-0-0.

Quakes head coach Matias Almeyda used a different starting line up in the match. Tyler Beason, Judson and Carlos Fierro returned to the starting 11 for San Jose.

Los Angeles (5-2-0) took advantage of the open play throughout most of the game. They out shot San Jose 12-4 in the first half as they were able to generate multiple scoring chances.

San Jose (3-5-0) almost gifted wrapped LA a goal in the 31st minute. Quakes goalie JT Marcinkowski was guilty of another nonchalant pass inside his own box. Efraín Álvarez intercepted the ball and his shot hit off the right post. On the conceded corner kick, Daniel Steres’ header hit the cross bar and then Jonathan dos Santos rebound attempt was knocked away by Quakes defenseman Tommy Thompson.

“We went wrong by letting the game be open,” said Chris Wondolowski. “At times that can suit us, but we knew coming into this game that was not our game plan.”

The Galaxy came out strong in the second half as Chicharito had a shot from close range stopped by Marcinkowski in the 47th minute.

The Quakes got a break when dos Santos had to leave the game in the 51st minute with an apparent lower body injury and was replaced by Adam Saldaña.

San Jose had momentum on its side after making three substitutions at the 62nd minute. Wondolowski, Shae Salinas and Paul Marie entered the game for Almeyda. Wondo had two scoring chances and Salinas had one from the 64th to 65th minute but Bond came through with saves on all three attempts.

“There are moments when matches go a certain way. The games are close, and the ball won’t go in. We need to keep working. We have to give the players calmness because this also becomes a questions of confidence,” Almeyda said.

Los Angles broke the seal in the 70th minute. Samuel Grandsir, who came in the match as a sub in the 63rd minute, received the ball from 15 yards out. Grandsir bulled his way past Paul Marie, knocking him down inside the box. Grandsir’s shot from along the end line went off the foot of Beason and into the back of the net for an own goal.

It was the only scoring the Galaxy would need as they relied on their goalkeeper to preserve the win.

Bond saved his best for last near the end of the match. In a two-minute span from the 79th minute to the 81st minute he stopped two point blank chances by the San Jose. First in the 79th minute, Andy Rios got behind LA’s defense with a one-on-one attempt only to have Bond kick it away from danger. Then in the 81st minute, Salinas’ rebound attempt was knocked away by Bond for a corner kick.

“Executing the game plan is something that we need to work on. I think right now, we’ve gotten a little too much in a hero ball. Guys take it upon themselves and try to do something special and I think (those are) the times we have been dangerous to be honest,” Wondolowski said.

San Jose kept the pressure inside the Galaxy end with four minutes of stoppage time but weren’t able to score the equalizer in a frustrated effort.

Bond finished the match stopping all 12 shots on goal to earn the shutout victory, his fifth of the season. Marcinkowski made seven saves on the eight shots he faced in the losing cause.

GAME NOTES: Each time had four corner kicks in the match.

Thompson, who made his 150th appearance for San Jose, became the first home grown player to wear the captain’s armband.

San Jose is 6-3-2 in its last 11 matches against the Galaxy.

Judson made his first start since November 8th, 2020.

Salinas made his 300th career appearance for the Quakes. He became only the second player in franchise history to to reach that mark.

UP NEXT: San Jose continues its road trip to Texas where they take on Austin FC in its first ever match up with the new expansion team on Saturday 6/19 at 6:00pm at Q2 Stadium.

Sporting KC rolls past Earthquakes 3-1

Visiting Sporting KC came in and took care of business against the San Jose Earthquakes at Pay Pal Park in San Jose on Sat May 22, 2021 (@BlueTestamentKC photo)

by Marko Ukalovic

SAN JOSE, Calif–Sporting KC scored three unanswered goals as they came back from an early deficit to defeat the San Jose Earthquakes 3-1 on Saturday evening at Pay Pal Park.

San Jose has lost three matches in a row after winning three of its first four games. Sporting KC have won two in a row and have outscored their opponent 6-1 in its last two matches.

The Earthquakes (3-4-0) grabbed the momentum early as they drew first blood in the fourth minute. Sporting KC conceded a corner kick. Off the set piece, Cristian Espinoza served the ball outside the box from the left end. Chofis gathered the ball, made one touch before chipping a shot into the upper left corner for his second goal of the season past Sporting KC goalie Tim Melia.

Sporting KC (4-2-1) answered back in the 15th minute thanks to a nice individual play by Alan Pulido, who was a thorn in the side of San Jose all game long. Pulido won a ball off Paul Marie and threaded a pass between three Quakes defenders over to Jaylin Lindsey. The Sporting KC defender got behind Cade Cowell and tapped the ball past Quakes goalie JT Marcinkowski, who challenged the shot, into the lower left corner for his first goal of the season.

Sporting KC were able to keep the momentum on their side for most of the first half thanks to some sloppy turnovers by San Jose.

Each goaltender made a big save in the opening 45 minutes. Melia stopped a chance from Cowell in the 24th minute making a sliding two-hand save on Cowell’s shot from 10 yards out. Marcinkowski made a kick out save on Pulido after a Quakes turnover led to a mini breakaway for Pulido down the center of the box.

San Jose held a slight edge in possession in the first half with a 51%-49% margin. Sporting KC out shot San Jose eight to four also in the first half.

The second half was tale of the Quakes missing out on its opportunities and Sporting KC taking advantage of theirs.

In the 59th minute, Chofis made nice serve into the middle where a wide open Andy Rios mistimed his header wide left instead of into an empty net.

Just a minute later, Sporting KC’s counter attack led to the game winning goal.  Dániel Sallói dribbled down the right wing before making a cross pitch pass over to Pulido. The native of Cuidad Victoria, Mexico made one move left before going right and firing the ball off the leg of Tommy Thompson that went under the crossbar in the upper right corner for his fourth goal of the season.

Another missed opportunity for San Jose came in the 72nd minute when Paul Marie made a nice move down the right wing and centered a ball into the box where a wide open Chris Wondolowski fired the ball wide left instead of into an empty net.

Sporting KC put the game away with its third unanswered goal three minutes later off another counter attack. This time it was Pulido setting up Sallói. Pulido dribbled in from the mid-line down the right side. He fed Sallói who made a one touch before bending the ball into the right corner past Marcinkowski for his third goal of the season.

Quakes head coach Matias Almeyda could only look on in helpless frustration as Sporting KC had his team on their heels for the majority of the match.

Melia finished the match with four saves, including the Quakes final good scoring chance when he stopped a point blank shot from Jackon Yueill in the 84th minute, on five shots to earn his fourth victory. Marcinkwoski (3-4) made four saves on seven shots in the losing effort.

GAME NOTES: San Jose had eight corner kicks. Sporting KC had two.

Chofis’ goal in the fourth minute snapped an 187 minute goal less draught by San Jose.

San Jose has scored eight goals at home, the most in the MLS.

The Quakes have conceded three goals after the 75th minute, also the most in MLS.

Wondo, who substituted in the 65th minute for Rios, made his 350th appearance for the Quakes.

UP NEXT: San Jose travels to Los Angeles to begin a three-game road trip as the take on the Galaxy on Saturday 5/29 at 4:00pm at Dignity Health Sports Park.

Timbers take down Earthquakes in 2-0 shutout win

San Jose Earthquakes forward Andres Rios heads the futbol away as the Portland Timbers defender Bill Tuiloma (25) is right behind to defend at Pay Pal Park in San Jose on Sat May 15, 2021 (AP News photo)

by Marko Ukalovic

SAN JOSE, Calif–Missed opportunities were theme of the match as the Portland Timbers defeated the San Jose Earthquakes in a 2-0 shutout on Saturday evening at Pay Pal Park.

San Jose have lost two games in a row after starting the season winning three of its first four games. Portland snapped its three game losing streak.

Portland (2-3-1) drew first blood early in the first half. Eyrk Williamson dribbled in from 20 yards out and found Yimmi Charra who chipped the ball over Quakes goalkeeper JT Marcinkowski for his first goal of the season in the 5th minute.

Quakes head coach Matias Almedya made numerous changes to his starting lineup. Paul Marie was back in the starting lineup at left back for San Jose after suffering an injury. Oswaldo Alanis returned back to center back. Andy Rios started in place for Chofis at forward.

San Jose (3-3-0) played a sloppy first half where the team weren’t in sync when trying to attack throughout the half. Numerous careless, nonchalant passes led to turnovers and counter attacks by Portland that turned into scoring chances for the visiting team.

Despite having a two-thirds to one-third advantage in possession play, San Jose weren’t able to generate many quality scoring chances during the opening 45 minutes.

The Quakes best chance to score came in the 32nd minute. Cristian Espinoza’s free kick from the left wing was knocked away by Timbers goalkeeper Logan Ketterer. Best scoring chance of half so far.

Pablo Bonilla appeared to have tripped Remedi inside the box which would have resulted in a penalty shot but referee Tim Ford said no harm no foul and the play resulted in a goal kick for Portland in the 43rd minute.

Portland earned two yellow cards in the first half thanks to some reckless abandon play from Bill Tuiloma and Dario Zuparic. Both made separate dangerous fouls in the 24th minute and 42nd minute.

The Timbers came out with an aggressive style of play to start the second half. They had generated five scoring chances in the first 10 minutes of the second half, including a point blank save by Marcinkowski on a shot by Felipe Mora right in center of the box.

San Jose was awarded a penalty kick in the 61st minute when a centering attempt by Carlos Fierro was knocked away by Timbers defender Claudio Bravo with a hand ball.

Chris Wondolowski, who came in as a subsitute in the 58th minute, shot the penalty kick to the far right corner of the net but Ketterer made a diving save for a corner kick.

Ketterer, who was playing for the USL’s El Paso Locomotive, received a call up due to an extreme hardship rule as both Portland goalkeepers were out due to injury.

Almeyda’s substitutions of Chofis, Shea Salinas, Jack Skahan and Benji Kikanovic injected life in the Quakes attack as they generated momentum for San Jose as they created scoring chances inside the Timbers defensive zone in a ten-minute span from the 60th minute to the 70th.

Portland doubled its lead on a counter attack in the 74th minute. Williamson sent a cross from the right slot and Marvin Loria headed the ball past Marcinkowski into the back of the net for his first goal of the season.

Williamson has three points in five games for the Timbers.

The Quakes had a chance to cut the lead in half in the 80th minute after corner kick pinballed around inside the box and Wondo’s header from six yards out was knocked away by Kedderer at the last second to end the threat.

Kedderer stopped all five shots, including the penalty kick on the MLS all-time leading goal scorer, on target to earn his first MLS career victory. Marcinkowski made three saves on five shots in the losing effort.

GAME NOTES: San Jose had 12 corner kicks. Portland had four.

Portland leads the overall series against San Jose 16-5-8. The Quakes are 5-4-5 at home versus the Timbers.

The last win for the Quakes over the Timbers was April 6, 2019, when the Quakes shutout Portland
3-0 at PayPal Park.

UP NEXT: San Jose finish off its three-game homestand when they host Sporting KC on Saturday 5/22 at 7:00pm at Pay Pal Park.

Sounders edge Earthquakes 1-0

The San Jose Earthquakes Tommy Thompson takes the ball down field against the Seattle Sounders Wed May 12, 2021 at Pay Pal Park in San Jose (@tomthom11 photo)

by Marko Ukalovic

SAN JOSE, Calif-The San Jose Earthquakes are still looking for a recipe to beat the Seattle Sounders with. They suffered a tough 1-0 loss to its conference rival on Wednesday evening at Pay Pal Park.

San Jose had its three-game winning streak snapped. Seattle have won three games in a row and remain unbeaten to start the season . They are also unbeaten in 14 straight matches against San Jose (W8 D6) dating back to September 2015. It’s the longest active unbeaten run by any team against another in MLS.

San Jose (3-2-0) thought they had a penalty shot when an apparent hand ball by Yeimar Gomez was called by referee Baldomero Toledo just inside the box. After a video review, the call was overturned much to the dismay of Quakes head coach Matias Almeyda.

Seattle (4-0-1) drew first blood in the 18th minute. A shot from the right side by Nouhou Tolo was cleared away by Florian Jungwirth. Cristian Roldan collected the rebound and fired a shot top-shelf into the right corner past Quakes goalie JT Marcinkowski.

The Quakes best scoring chance in the first half came at the 37th minute. Eric Remedi centered a ball from just outside the net to Cade Cowell. The 17-year old striker’s one-timer was stopped by with a diving save by Sounders goalie Sefan Frei.

The Earthquakes controlled the possession 56%-44% in the opennig 45 minutes.

San Jose came out of the gate with intent to score even the score in the first 10 minutes of the second half. Two shots attempts in the 54th minute by Remedi and Carlos Fierro had the Sounders on the heels.

Raul Rui Diaz had a three minute span from the 56th minute to the 59th minute where he had two scoring chances to double Seattle’s lead but he second attempt, a chip shot from 10 yard outs sailed over the net.

Almedya substituted captain Chris Wondolowski and Andy Rios in the 65th minute looking for a repeat of the late match magic that Wondo provided last week against Real Salt Lake.

Wondo almost scored the equalizer in the 87th minute when a cross into the middle of the box led to a collision between him and Frei where the veteran goalie came out with the ball secured in his hands.

San Jose had two attempts in the final two minutes of stoppage time after Frei went down with an injury but Seattle’s defense held down the fort to preserve the victory.

GAME NOTES: San Jose had nine corner kicks. Seattle had two.

Since returning from MLS is Back in August, Raúl Ruidíaz has scored 17 goals, six more than any other MLS player (including playoffs).

Sounders left back Jordy Delem was injured with a lower body in the 7th minute and was subbed in by Shane O’Neill.

UP NEXT: San Jose continues its three-game homestand on Saturday 5/15 as they host the Portland Timbers at 7:00pm at Pay Pal Park.

Wondolowski’s late brace give Quakes 2-1 comeback win over Real Salt Lake

(image from @TechtonicTakes)

by Marko Ukalovic

SANDY, Utah–Chris Wondolowski scored two goals in a four-minute span late in the second half to give the San Jose Earthquakes a thrilling 2-1 come from behind victory over Real Salt Lake on a drizzly Friday evening at Rio Tinto Stadium.

San Jose have won three games in a row. Real Salt Lake had its two game wining streak to start the season snapped.

Wondo’s late heroics started when he scored the equalizer in the 83rd minute. Shae Salinas sent in a cross to Carlos Fierro whose shot was saved by Real Salt Lake goalie David Ochoa. Wondolowski kept himself onside inside the box and chipped the rebound over Ochoa for his first goal of the season.

He then completed the brace with the game winning goal just four minutes later in the 87th minute. Fierro possessed the ball down along the right sideline. He made one look into the middle before sending a perfect cross between two RSL defenders and Wondo buried a header past Ochoa into the lower right corner of the net for his second goal of the match.

With his brace, the all-time MLS leading goal scorer now has 168 goals in his career. He missed last week’s game against DC United due to a one-game suspension for receiving a red card against FC Dallas.

“It was monumental for me,” said the Quakes captain. “The first two weeks, I probably had the two worst plays of my career back-to-back. I can’t be thankful enough for the teammates that I have that picked me up and also the coaching staff. I say Matias, and a lot of it is Matias, but it’s his coaching staff as well with Omar [Zarif] and Guido [Bonini]. Those guys really help propel me and I wanted to repay them. They’ve been the wind behind my back, and I needed them these last couple weeks but I’m proud of this group, proud to be a part of it.”

Real Salt Lake (2-1-0) first quality scoring chance came in the 16th minute. Justin Meram had a shot from 20 yards out that hit the cross bar. The Quakes were able to clear away rebound and no second chance opportunity for RSL.

RSL drew first blood late in the first half when Rubio Rubín made a spectacular acrobatic play in the 43rd minute. A throw in from the left side line went to Damir Kreilach where he headed the ball over to Rubín. The 25-year old native of Beaverton, Oregon played the ball off his chest and fired a bicycle kick all in one motion into the upper left side of the net past Quakes goalie JT Marcinkowski for his third goal of the season.

Marcos López made his first start of the season at left back for head coach Matias Almeyda. His errant pass set up RSL’s first goal

San Jose (3-1-0) had two quality scoring chances in the first half. A corner kick led to Tanner Beason’s header attempt flying high over the net in the 19th minute. Then in the 38th minute, Fierro’s shot attempt from the right side of the box was saved by RSL’s goalie David Ochoa.

Despite controlling the possession in the first half 65%-35% and getting four corner kicks, San Jose went into the intermission licking their wounds down by a goal.

Each team received a yellow card in the first 45 minutes. Kraeilich earned his in the first minute of play when he made a hard sliding foul on Florian Jungwirth. Eric Remedi earned his card in the 21st minute with a hard foul along the right wing on Andrew Brody.

San Jose had a chance to get on the board early in the second half. Tommy Thompson raced in from the right wing and centered a ball into the middle of the box but Cristian Espinoza’s shot was blocked by a Real Salt Lake defender at the 57th minute.

“Chris [Wondolowski] gets ready every day with the belief that he can keep scoring. He supports whoever is playing and gives everything when he is called up. He deserves to score these goals because he is our legend that continues to score,” Almeyda said.

RSL had one last gasp to tie the game in the fifth minute of stoppage time but Nick Besler’s header from the center of the box went ride to the right.

“We are happy for this win. The team never gave up and fought until the end. Our offense is really good, but I also think our defense did a great job. We are happy for them. As time passes, we are learning more about each other and that has helped the team develop, and we have seen that in every match,” said Fierro.

Marcinkowski finished the match with three saves on four shots to earn his third straight victory. Ochoa made four saves on six shots in the losing effort.

GAME NOTES: San Jose had seven corner kicks. Real Salt Lake had four.

Salt Lake out fouled San Jose 11-9.

San Jose entered the game with a 0-3-3 record in its last six games at Rio Tinto Stadium.

UP NEXT: The Earthquakes return home to begin a three-game homestand when they host the Seattle Sounders on Wednesday 5/12 at 7:30pm at PayPal Park.

Earthquakes cruise past DC United in 4-1 win

The San Jose Earthquakes Jackson Yueill is the Man of the Match after the Quakes defeated the DC United at Pay Pal Park in Washington DC on Sat May 1, 2021 (@SJEarthquakes photo)

by Marko Ukalovic

SAN JOSE, Calif–The San Jose Earthquakes scored three goals in the first half en route to a dominating 4-1 victory over DC United on Saturday evening at Pay Pal Park.

San Jose has won two games in a row after dropping its opening match to Houston and are undefeated at home after two games. DC United has lost two in a row after winning its opener against New York City FC.

The Quakes (2-1-0) drew first blood in the opening minute of the match. Cade Cowell received a long ball along the left side. He dribbled out to the middle of the pitch before finding Javier Eduardo López, affectionally known as Chofis. The Mexican national played the ball with one touch before bending in a left footed shot into the lower left corner of the net past DC United goalie Chris Seitz for his first career MLS goal.

Chofis came to the Quakes on loan from Chivas Guadalajara back on January 20th. His combo of speed and skill is what head coach Matias Almedya has been looking for to anchor his midfield. Chofis drew a yellow card on DC United’s Tony Alvaro in the 18th minute after slipping past him with the ball along the right sideline forcing Alvaro to trip him up.

The Quakes doubled its lead in the 26th minute when Cristian Espinoza sent a deep ball down the right sideline over to Cowell that sprung a fast break. The sophomore sensation outraced Frédéric Brillant to the ball and dribbled in before he drilled a right footed shot rom the right side of the box to the bottom right corner of the net past Seitz for his second goal of the season.

Cowell has scored and goal an assist in back-to-back games for San Jose. He became the sixth youngest player in MLS history to achieve that feat last week against FC Dallas.

DC United (1-2-0) cut the lead in half at the 31st minute off a set piece. Edison Flores centered a corner kick out to Brendan Hines-Ike who headed the ball back into the middle of the box. Quakes goalie JT Marcinkowski batted the ball away but Yamil Asad tapped it over to Alvaro, who slammed home the ball into the upper right corner for his first goal of the season.

San Jose kept the pressure on in the last 13 minutes of the first half. Seitz made a tough save on a shot by Paul Marie in the 34th minute. Espinoza had a great scoring chance in the 42nd minute when he dribbled around Seitz and looked to put the ball into an empty net. However, Moses Nyeman came back and swept away the ball for a corner kick,

In that ensuring corner for San Jose, Carlos Fierro centered a ball from the right that deflected off of the foot of Tanner Beason inside the box. The ball popped up high into the air where Jackson Yueill falling down, blasted the ball out of the air into the center of the net for his first goal of the season in the 43rd minute.

Yueill was the acting captain for San Jose during the match as Chris Wondolowski served a one-game suspension for receiving a red card last week against FC Dallas.

San Jose had six shots on goal compared to four for DC United in the first half. They also won the possession battle 55%-45%.

DC United came out in the second half and controlled the majority of play. Some sloppy passing by San Jose in the beginning led to four scoring chances in the first 22 minutes for the visiting team.

A bad turnover by Marcinkowski just outside the box in the 84th minute led to an open net opportunity for Erik Sorga from the center of the box but Florian Jungwirth chased down the ball down and kept it from crossing the goal line as he cleared it away from danger.

The Quakes put the game away a minute later after Jungwirth’s block. Cowell received the ball down the right wing and dribbled inside the box where he chipped a cross over to Yueill who headed the ball off of Seitz into the back of the net for his second goal of the match in the 85th minute.

Cowell finished the match with three points (G, 2A) and has five points overall in his past two games.

Marcinkowski finished the evening making six saves on seven shots to earn the victory. Seitz made five saves on nine shots in the losing effort.

GAME NOTES: San Jose had four corner kicks. DC United had five.

Marie, Chofis and Eric Remedi received yellow cards for San Jose. Nyeman also received a yellow card for DC United.

UP NEXT: The Earthquakes head out on the road to take on Real Salt Lake on Friday 5/7 at 6:30pm at Rio Tinto Stadium.

Sporting KC edges Earthquakes in penalties to cap off wild, thrilling match. Advance to the Western semi-finals

Sporting KC players celebrate after shutting the San Jose Earthquakes out in a 3-0 shootout following a 3-3 draw in Kansas City in the first round of the MLS playoffs (AP News photo)

by Marko Ukalovic

KANSAS CITY, Kan.-If Chris Wondolowski decides to call it a career, he’ll have one amazing, emotional memory to have finished it.

Wondo’s equalizer goal in the final seconds off stoppage time wasn’t enough to get his team to the next round of the playoffs. Sporting KC’s Tim Melia stopped all three penalty shots he faced in the penalty kick round to give his team a 3-3 (3-0 PK) victory over the San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday afternoon at Children’s Mercy Park.

Sporting KC advanced to the Western Conference semi-finals where they will host Minnesota United, who shutout the Colorado Rapids 3-0 in its first round matchup. San Jose hasn’t won a playoff match since 2010.

San Jose was all but dead with five minutes left in stoppage time when Gianluca Busio’s goal 36 seconds into stoppage time gave Sporting KC a 3-2 lead. Just moments before Busio’s goal, Wondo’s header from point blank range was knocked away by Melia and off the left goal post that led to Sporting KC’s counter attack.

Matias Almeyda’s squad had the “Goonies never say die” attitude with seconds remaining in the six minute of stoppage when Cristian Espinoza sent in a left footed cross to where only Wondolowski could get a header on it and into the lower left corner of the net sending the game into extra time.

It was only Wondo’s second career post-season goal but the biggest of the match for San Jose.

The Quakes had a golden opportunity in the 97th minute when Espinoza led a two-on-one counter attack with Wondo. Espinoza raced down the pitch for 60 yards with a Sporting KC defender draped all over him before his shot attempt went wide left.

San Jose had Sporting KC on the ropes during both 15-minute halves of extra time but could not get the winning goal despite maintaining the majority of the possession in the final 30 minutes.

“I’d like to congratulate Sporting Kansas City for making it through. What I told the players is what I feel: I felt like we gave our last drop of sweat until the last second. It was a positive year. We competed in two tournaments and in both of them we competed. For moments it seemed like San Jose was dead, but we came back,” Almeyda said.

Melia, who is one of the best goal keepers when it comes to shootouts. The veteran goalkeeper stopped attempts from Oswaldo Alanís, Jackson Yueill and Espinoza. Melia’s teammates took care of their end of the shootout with goals from Johnny Russell, Ilie Sánchez and Khiry Shelton.

Sporting KC took advantage of the Quakes deer in the headlights start to the match. In the fouth minute, Russell sent in a cross off a corner kick where Roger Espinoza headed into the back corner of the net past Quakes goalkeeper J.T. Marcinkowski for his first career playoff goal.

San Jose came into the match having been the worst team in the MLS with goals conceded off set pieces (10) while Sporting KC came in as the best team in the MLS scoring off set pieces (12).

The Quakes stormed back in the 22nd minute when Espinoza sent in a cross that Carlos Fierro’s attempt deflected off the face of a Sporting KC defender into the back of the net. Fierro was credited with his first career playoff goal.

San Jose gained its only lead in the 35th minute off a quick counter attack. Espinoza once again led the charge down the right side where his cross found a wide open Shea Salinas into the middle from 10 yards out and Salinas buried the ball past Melia for a 2-1 lead.

“Yeah, it was wild,” said Salinas. “For me, it was an extremely emotional game just not knowing how many more of these opportunities I’m going to have. To be 2-2 when I was subbed off, I was excited for Cade [Cowell] because I know he can make a difference, but it was also really difficult because I now didn’t have control. It was emotional, but for us to fight back, the cross from Cristian [Espinoza], and the goal from Wondo [Chris Wondolowski] there at the end was just insane. My heart still hurts a little bit from the game, but it was an awesome experience.”

It didn’t take long for Sporting KC to regain the momentum in the second half. Once again off a corner kick. This time Busio crossed the ball into the middle where Ilie headed the ball off the shoulder of Alanís into the back of the net for the equalizer.

The Man of the Match, Melia finished the evening with five official saves before the shootout in earning the victory. Marcinkowski also finished with fives saves in the losing effort.

If this was Wondolowski’s last match of his storied career he leaves the game as the MLS All-Time goal scorer with 166 goals.

“Spent. I think that’s the best emotion to describe it right now,” said Wondo when asked what emotions he was feeling after the game. “We all left it out there for 120 minutes, and to be honest, I think both teams did. I think it was one of the cleanest and most physical playoff games. I thought both teams came to tackle but still out there playing the game. We’re connecting passes. Do I wish we won? Yes, absolutely. I think that we did a lot of correct things and things that we’re proud of, but in the long run, we didn’t do enough.”

Wondo also said he still has passion for the game and would love to come back but hasn’t made that decision just yet.

“I know that the door is open, but I was fully committed to putting everything I have into this year, and I did. Now I need to re-evaluate. I just want to re-evaluate everything: my personal life, my life where I want to be, and also where the club is to see the direction that it’s going.”

GAME NOTES: San Jose finished with six corner kicks. Sporting KC had five.

San Jose is now 4-8-2 when they have conceded the first goal of the match.

The Earthquakes now hold a 12-13-1 overall postseason record, including a 4-10-0 record in true road matches.

This was the fifth time in Quakes history to go to overtime and first since Nov. 15, 2003. It also marked the first time in Earthquakes history that a postseason match was decided by penalty kicks.

San Jose scored 3+ goals in a playoff match for the eighth time in club history and first time since Nov. 4, 2010. It also marked just the fourth time in club history the team has scored twice in the first half of a playoff match and first time since Nov. 23, 2003.

Espinoza was involved in all three goals, tallying two assists. He became the first player to record 2+ assists in a single playoff match for the Earthquakes since Brian Mullan on Nov. 23, 2003.

At 37 years and 299 days, Wondolowski became the oldest player in Earthquakes history and sixth oldest player in MLS history to score in the postseason. His goal, scored with 96:49 on the clock, was the third-latest non-overtime goal in MLS playoff history and the second-latest lead-changing goal.

Fierro tallied one goal and one assist, both firsts of his MLS playoff career. He became the fifth player in club history to tally at least one goal and one assist in a playoff match, joining Bobby Convey, Landon Donovan (4), Jamil Walker and Manny Lagos.

Cade Cowell became the youngest player in club history to make a postseason appearance at 17 years and 40 days.

Andy Rios tallied an assist on Wondolowski’s goal, the first assist of his MLS playoff career.

San Jose Earthquakes podcast with London Marq: Quakes take on No.1 seed Sporting KC in first round playoff game Sunday

The San Jose Earthquakes play their first post season game since 2017 and their first round of the 2020 playoffs at Sporting KC Sun Nov 22, 2020 (@SJEarthquakes image)

On the Quakes podcast with London:

#1 London, after the Quakes won three out of their last four games then had a meeting the Sounders in Seattle in a three goal loss 4-1 the last game of the regular season. Was it a game that the Quakes rested some players and really weren’t using their regular starters in the line up?

#2 During the period they won three out four they really bore down on their game plan and were locked in according to head coach Matias Almeyda.

#3 Chris Wondowski who scored two goals against Real Salt Lake back on Oct 28th in the Quakes 2-0 win. Has Wondolowski’s lastest scoring binge been the difference in the Quakes recent wins?

#4 The thing that coach Almeyda wants to do is keep the momentum going they did well when they were in the bubble in Orlando, then after the bubble they slumped and had a resurgence again with some wins and ended up just getting a playoff spot clinching eighth in the MLS Western Conference.

#5 The big day has arrived this Sunday Nov 22 the Quakes play in their first post season game since 2017 and they play the number one seed in the Western Conference can they get by the very challenging Sporting KC?

London Marq was filling in for Marko Ukalovic for the Earthquakes podcasts heard each Friday night at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

 

San Jose Earthquakes podcast with Marko Ukalovic: Quakes should be at full strength for playoff on Nov 22 in KC

The San Jose Earthquakes stadium will sit silent throughout the playoffs as the Earthquakes will be traveling for all of the playoffs which it opens on Sat Nov 22 against Sporting KC (@ SJEarthquakes photo)

On the San Jose Earthquakes podcast with Marko:

#1 The San Jose Earthquakes opened the last game of the season against the Seattle Sounders without Jackson Yueill, Andy Rios, and Carlos Fierro due to yellow card accumulations and an injury.

#2 Marko, talk about Shane Salinas, Luis Felipe, and Cade Cowell who replaced Yueill, Rios, and Fierro.

#3 Although the playoffs weren’t at stake as both teams had clinched for post season already. What would you say were some of the take aways in the Seattle match as the Quakes head into the playoffs.

#4 Chris Wondolowski had been key in the home stretch of the season scoring twice in a 2-0 win over Real Salt Lake Oct 28th and had a goal in the 3-2 win over LAFC on Wed Nov 4th.

#5 The Quakes next opponent of the first round of the playoffs on Sat Nov 22 Sporting KC who finished first in the Western Conference with three straight wins to finish the regular season. Taking that into account what are the Quakes odds?

Join Marko each Friday night for the SJ Earthquakes podcasts at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Sounders four second half goals doom Earthquakes 4-1 on Decision Day

The Seattle Sounders were an offense machine in the second half of their game against the San Jose Earthquakes scoring four times to defeat San Jose at Century Link Field in Seattle on the final day of the regular season Sun Nov 8, 2020 (photo from soundersfc.com)

by Marko Ukalovic

SEATTLE, Wash.-In a match that did not have playoff implications, the Seattle Sounders scored four goals in the second half to defeat the San Jose Earthquakes 4-1 in the regular season finale on Sunday afternoon at Century Link Field.

The “Decision Day” match was more about playoff positioning as both teams had already punched their ticket to the Audi 2020 MLS Playoffs.

San Jose was without Jackson Yueill, Andy Rios and Carlos Fierro due to a combination of yellow card accumilation and injury. Shae Salinas , Luis Felipe and Cade Cowell started in place for head coach Matias Almeyda.

The first half featured both teams going through the motions with sloppy play as neither team played aggressive and waited for counter attacks to happen on a cold, windy day. Only three total shots were attempted in the first 45 minutes.

Seattle forward Jordan Morris had the best chance to score when his initial shot and rebound attempt were both saved by Quakes goalkeeper J.T. Marcinkowski in the 38th minute.

The Sounders (11-5-6 1.77) broke through in 52nd minute. Nicolás Lodeiro came rushing into the middle off of his own free kick where he collected the ball and fired a shot past Marcinkowski into lower left corner form eight yards out for his seventh goal of the season.

Seattle doubled its leads two minutes later. Cristian Roldan set up Raúl Ruidíaz, whose shot went off the leg of Marinkowski into the back of the net for his team leading 12th goal of the season.

“We always try to prepare to compete and win. I think discounting the goals, the game was good. If we had taken advantage of our chances in the first half as they did, this would have been a different match. The difference is that they capitalized on their chances and we did not. Nonetheless, it makes me happy to see Cade Cowell be able to play 90 minutes, as well as seeing the other youngsters come on. It was a good game and we still came here to compete,” Almeyda said.

San Jose (8-9-6 1.30) cut the lead in the half in the 57th minute. After Cristian Espinoza won a free kick on the outside of the box, Marcos López bent one in like Beckham with a left footed shot from the right wing that fooled Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei for his second goal of the season.

Seattle received an insurance goal in the 74th minute when Lodeiro, after a turnover by Florian Jungwirth, returned the favor and set up Morris whose chip shot over an incoming Marcinkowski gave him his 10th goal of the season.

The Sounders iced the game six minutes later when Morris’ centering attempt deflected off López into the back of the net for an own goal to close out the scoring.

Frei finished the match with two saves to earn the victory. Marcinkowski also made two saves in the losing effort.

The Quakes now await the date and time of its first round match with Sporting Kansas City, who finished atop of the Western Conference.

“I think this team has shown a lot of character,” said Tommy Thompson on the team’s ability to bounce back after a tough loss. “We’ve gone through great moments this year. We’ve gone through extremely difficult moments as well, but there’s a belief in this group that whoever is on the field can get the job done. We’re going to learn from our mistakes today. Seattle is a great team, and they made us pay. We’ve got to make sure that we’re going to be as sharp as we can against Kansas City, and this game is a good reminder that against the top teams in this league, you can’t take your foot off the gas pedal for one minute. It’s a tough way to end the season, but we’ve accomplished a lot. We’re definitely going to have a short memory going into Kansas City. We’ll be full of confidence and ready to go in a couple weeks.”

GAME NOTES: Both teams each had four corner kicks.

Reno 1868 FC, the USL Championship affiliate of the San Jose Earthquakes, this past Friday announced it would cease operations following the 2020 season.

“We would like to thank everyone at Reno 1868 FC for their hard work and commitment to success over the past four seasons,” said Earthquakes general manager Jesse Fioranelli. “Whether it be developing future First Team players or giving our current First Team players valuable minutes on loan, Reno has greatly impacted and proudly represented the Earthquakes organization. We are currently in the process of reevaluating our player development pathway.”

Reno was awarded a USL franchise in 2015 set to begin play in 2017. Through four seasons, Reno recorded a record of 62-26-28 and earned a playoff berth in all four campaigns under head coach Ian Russell, who was named the USL Championship Co-Coach of the Year.

The Earthquakes held a 6-3-1 record over their last 10 matches, tied for the best record in the Western Conference during that span, while keeping four shutouts.

Homegrown defender Nick Lima made his 100th MLS appearance, starting and playing 90 minutes. He became the second Homegrown Player in Quakes history to reach 100 regular season appearances, following Tommy Thompson.