Photo by John Todd/ISIPhotos.com
By TYLER GRAY
The San Jose Earthquakes did it again.
Trailing 3-1 at halftime, the Earthquakes looked like they might be run off the field by visiting Real Salt Lake, but in what has become a common occurrence in San Jose, the Earthquakes found a way to battle back and earn a point when earning any kind of points seemed improbable.
Victor Bernardez keyed the comeback, scoring a pair of second-half goals, including a stoppage-time equalizing header off a Shea Salinas corner kick to help the Earthquakes earn a 3-3 draw against RSL at Buck Shaw Stadium on Saturday night.
Everything was going RSL’s way in the first half after shaking off an early goal from Chris Wondolowski. Captain Kyle Beckerman scored an equalizing goal with a long-range blast. Forward Joao Plata nabbed his second goal of the young season when he fortunately whiffed his first shot attempt and then buried his second chance past a confused San Jose defense.
New addition Luke Mulholland had a taste of karmic retribution when he was able to bury a rebounded shot in first-half stoppage time after San Jose goalkeeper Jon Busch parried RSL midfielder Ned Grabavoy’s shot right into his path. Unlike last week in Los Angeles, Mulholland scored a goal that stood, giving RSL a 3-1 lead at the break.
Rather than fold in the second half, San Jose rallied, and started putting steady pressure on the visitors. The Earthquakes finally broke through in the 75th minute when Bernardez shed his mark, made a run across the face of goal and directed a header past Nick Rimando to make the score 3-2.
That goal gave San Jose even more energy, which RSL struggled to match. Cross after cross was sent into the box, but RSL’s defense stood firm despite some shaky moments.
In the 95th minute of play, Bernardez struck again, only this time with his foot.
Yet another cross was sent into the box and it pin-balled around until it fell to the feet of San Jose’s centerback. The Honduran blasted the ball to the far post and into the back of the net and tied the score at 3 -3.
The comeback was San Jose’s second in four days, having equalized late to earn a 1-1 draw against Toluca in CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal action. The Earthquakes face Toluca in the second leg of their series on Wednesday, needing a win in Mexico to reach the semifinals.
Here are the match highlights: