The San Jose Earthquakes earned a point at home versus the Philadelphia Union with a last-minute PK goal from Chris Wondolowski. The draw dropped San Jose to seventh overall in the West on the eve of playing three straight road games.
Quakes forward/captain Chris Wondolowski made MLS history by being the only player in MLS to score double-digit goals in eight consecutive seasons; Wondo is just 14 away from Landon Donovan’s all-time MLS mark of 145.
However, the Union proved to be up to the task as Philly scored two straight and appeared well on the road to victory. Jack Elliott tied the game at 35′ on a set-piece corner. The Union took the lead on a semi-set-piece thrown-in at 55′; the Philly throw-in found its way to the top of the box and an unmarked Alan Roburg, who beat Quakes ‘keeper Andrew Tarbell to the near post.
San Jose frantically tried to find their scoring touch, but finishing continues to elude the boys in black. The Quakes put up 18 shots after Vako’s opener, but only five of them were on frame for a 27.8% conversion rate. Fortunately a mistake from second-year defender Josh Yaro salvaged points from certain defeat as Yaro heavily fouled veteran Shea Salinas in the penalty area in the third minute of stoppage time. The penalty kick was San Jose’s first attempt all season, and was coolly buried by Quakes captain/forward Chris Wondolowski.
The absence Quakes regular starters opened a huge door for Philadelphia as the Quakes struggled to find their defensive marks. San Jose was missing the services of Nick Lima, Jahmir Hyka, Marco Urena, and David Bingham while regular starter Flo Jungwirth had to be subbed 19 minutes into the match, hence the lack of chemistry. Andrew Tarbell, Kofi Sarkodie, Fatai Alashe, Francois Affolter, Shea Salinas, and Vako all had 10 or fewer starts prior to Saturday’s match.
Quakes DP Vako earned his first Man-of-the-Match title: seven shots, three shots on target, a goal, and 81% passing completion. (I’m still waiting for the next Avaya Stadium concession food item to be Vako’s Tacos.)
Anibal Godoy continues to prove that he is the hub of the Quakes offense. Godoy finished with 67 touches and 96% passing accuracy, along with three tackles and an interception.
Honorable mentions go to Tommy Thompson, Shea Salinas, and Chris Wondolowski. Tommy continues to impact the score-sheet as he netted his second assist in his last three matches. Shea drew the late foul to set up the PK, and Wondo was able to finish his PK shot with points on the line.
Francois Affolter finished with a lackluster performance. He was the man that went down in the box, allowing Elliott to tie the game. Affolter finished with just one tackle, one interception, and one clearance for the entire 90 minutes, not the best numbers for a defender.
Kofi Sarkodie was worse. One tackle, zero interceptions, one clearance, and five turnovers. Sarkodie was also unable to block Alberg’s go-ahead shot.
While a point is better than no points, a win would have been a huge boon to the team seeking a playoff berth, especially prior to a three-game road streak, which begins on Wednesday. Quakes Head Coach Chris Leitch has a 0-5-0 road record with a -12 goal differential after being appointed as the team’s head coach. The good news: two of the three teams the Quakes will play boast the two worst home records in the West: RSL (4-4-4, 16 points) and the Van Damme-less L.A. Galaxy (1-7-4, 7 points). If the Quakes can capitalize on these weak Western Conference rivals, there’s no reason they cannot finish this road trip back above the red-line.
The Quakes play a midweek game at Rio Tinto Stadium versus Real Salt Lake on Wednesday before heading to the StubHub Center to face the Galaxy next Sunday.