The San Jose Earthquakes bounced back from an early two goal deficit against the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday night to beat the visitors 3-2. Anibal Godoy scored his second game-winning goal in as many games to cap off the comeback in front of another sold out crowd in San Jose that was rocking after his 30 yard blast. Homegrown player and rookie defender Nick Lima scored the second goal for San Jose and became their first homegrown player to score in an MLS game.
Out of the gate it looked as if it was going to be the Whitecaps who would run away with this one as the visitors put heavy pressure on the Quakes defense in the early running and jumped out to a two goal lead within the first 20 minutes. Erik Hurtado pressured San Jose’s center backs into poor clearances to score the first goal in the second minute, and fifteen minutes later he’d fight off Lima for the ball and find Nicolás Mesquida in the center of the box for a second.
Vancouver was off and cruising through 20 minutes but a defensive miscommunication in the 23rd minute gave Chris Wondolowski a breakaway with tons of space ahead of him. Keeper David Ousted came out of his box to try and stop Wondolowski, going to ground as the Quakes’ captain chipped a ball over Ousted and drew a foul just outside the box. Referee Drew Fischer was forced to go to his back pocket, pulling out a red card for denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity, completely shifting the momentum of the match.
Vancouver head coach Carl Robinson elected to sub off Mesquida to bring on his backup keeper Paolo Tornaghi and the Whitecaps began to suck deep into their own box to try and maintain their lead.
“[The red card] was a bit of a wake up call for us,” said Dominic Kinnear after the match, and the San Jose attack, aided by the man advantage, took control of the game.
The Earthquakes began to tally up corner kicks in quick succession, eventually finishing with 11 in the match, and their third with a man advantage would give them the breakthrough in the 32nd minute.
Tornaghi attempted to punch away a Tommy Thompson corner kick but wasn’t able to clear the box. Victor Bernárdez tracked the ball down and crossed the ball back into the box for none other than Wondolowski to clean up a free chance in front of goal.
Coming out of half time still down a goal, Kinnear elected to swap Thompson for Jahmir Hyka to try and continue the all out attack of Vancouver’s defenses. Hyka made an instant impact with his speed and footwork as he continued to make dangerous runs behind the defense.
In the 54th minute he’d assist on the tying goal thanks to one such run, finding space behind the defense and then crossing a deep ball to the back post for Wondolowski who made a perfect pass into open space in the center of the box for a sprinting Lima to finish for his first MLS goal.
“His communication did everything,” said Wondolowski speaking about the goal, “because it was sitting up nice and it took every ounce of self-restraint to not shoot that myself. I heard him, took a peek, saw him coming in, and what a finish by him.”
“He made that look really easy.”
Time continued to wind down as the Quakes looked for a winner and momentum started to fade as chance after chance for San Jose came up empty. Vancouver looked to have settled into defense well enough to close out the game with a point but a rocket of a shot by Godoy would be their undoing.
After trying to go through the defense but finding no open looks, it seemed as if the San Jose offense was stalling out as Hyka made an innocuous back pass to Godoy from inside the Vancouver box. Godoy set himself up with one touch and from around 30 yards out he unleashed a dipping shot that headed straight for the far top corner, beating Tornaghi and finding the pack of the net.
With the lead in hand San Jose continued to put on the pressure, looking for the extra goal to put the game beyond all doubt but ultimately settled for the 3-2 victory as they calmly saw out the final minutes of play.
San Jose: Bingham; Lima, Bernárdez, Jungwirth, Francis; Thompson (Hyka HT), Alashe (Salinas 75’), Godoy, Dawkins; Wondolowski, Ureña (Hoesen 80’)
Vancouver: Ousted; Nerwinski, Waston, Dean, Harvey; Techera, McKendry, Teibert, Manneh (Bolaños 61’), Mezquida (Tornaghi 25’ Keeper), Hurtado (Montero 61’)
San Jose: Wondolowski 32’ (Bernárdez), Lima 54’ (Wondolowki, Hyka), Godoy 79’ (Hyka)
Vancouver: Hurtado 2’ (unassisted), Mesquida 17’ (Hurtado)
San Jose: Alashe 7’ (Yellow)
Vancouver: Teibert 15’ (Yellow), Ousted 23’ (Red), Dean 89’ (Yellow)
San Jose Earthquakes