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Bernardez brace secures point for Earthquakes in latest dramatic finish

Victor Bernardez

Photo by John Todd/


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:


  1. The breakdown for RSL was the Grossman sub, Cassar tried to play 2 defensive midfielders, and it threw off the formation. Beckerman is better by himself and taking out one of the other 3 offensive minded midfielders to put someone by Beckerman just took out ability to possess it as well. Hopefully Cassar learns that ‘offensive’ position substitutions can be just as important for icing and holding a victory.

  2. Don’t forget that San Jose’s best defense was not present in this game. Cato played defense. He is usually a midfielder. Both Clarence Goodson and Jordan Steward were not dressed for the game in order for them to be rested for the game against Toluca. Also a German defender has been added to the squad who has played for Bayern and also the German national team. I expect the next Earthquakes’ MLS game to look different.

  3. RSL had this one but it was poor team tactics necessitated by injuries that allowed SJ to stack the box. Absorbing pressure and praying for the best is the worst possible idea against and in San Jose. The obvious choice is to continue to attack SJ with attacking players. They sat back with a three man back line. Then there’s saborio and his very “offensive” defending on set pieces.

    Poor end of game management by RSL. RSL needs to go back an watch how FTC finished off te sounders yesterday for a good example of what to do when you have the lead. Never thought FTC would be a good example of anything really but good for them.

  4. Can someone explain to me why RSL subbed out Mulholland, who was very effective both ways, and left Saborio in the game. He has no interest in marking his man and let Bernardez get away from him twice. Not Lenhart or Gordon; lumbering Bernardez. That is just poor effort. Was Sandoval not available? And did I miss Gil being subbed out? He was invisible in the second half. It seriously felt like RSL was playing two men down last night in the second half, and made no attempt at controlling the ball in the end.

    Still a fun game and good road trip to start the year.

    • I’m with you on mulloland. He plays defense and knows how to pass and control the ball so I can only think he was tiring but I’m not sure why he was taken off. It seems like Cassar went defensive way too much with his substitutes and team tactics. Maund getting hurt was bad because young salcedo was getting pushed around too much. Let’s hope schuler is ready for the next game.

      Sabo is a horrible defender. It’s not the first time he’s been burned for a goal on a set piece. This could come back to haunt Costa Rica in the brazil this summer (which is fine since I don’t care about CR). He sucks at defending and cost RSL three points.

      • Sabo, all by himself cost RSL 2 points and not the other 13 players that also played in the game. #soccerisntateamsport

  5. As an RSL fan I’m of course greatly disappointed with the result but I can’t argue that it wasn’t entertaining. It was a fun game and San Jose deservedly salvaged a point at home. Relatively clean game and the ref wasn’t too terrible either. Although I was getting tired of the soft Lenhart fouls. Good game.

    • You start to see lenharta tactics. He leans into defenders on passes and balls in the air and falls and gets a whistle. It works every time. Otherwise I thought it was a well officiated match.

  6. There are a lot of folks who want their team to play like Barcelona, and that’s cool–that style takes great skill, and if you’ve ever stepped on a soccer field you can appreciate it. But I don’t buy that it’s inherently more fun to watch than Goonie Ball. The Quakes are not my favorite team, but I’d rather watch the last 30 minutes of a SJ game than most anything else. Bodies flying all over, scrums in front of the net, last second goals. We can argue about whether this is “good soccer” (until they change the rules, I vote yes), but can we stop saying that it’s boring? I”m so glad that not everyone in MLS plays the same style.

  7. Funny because I was wondering the same thing. I like them, but am unsure if they have a connection/history tied to the quakes or if they are just to help them in commercial appeal/selling more jerseys.

  8. Can somebody explain those Quakes third jerseys to me? I red another color they use? I like them, I just don’t see the connection. Other squads seems to have some sort of explanation for their third, but I’m at a loss for this edition.


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