In a match that will be remembered as an instant classic for its defensive miscues, absurd amount of corners, and a stunning comeback, the San Jose Earthquakes delivered the kind of late-game drama their fans know all too ell.
Shea Salinas’ stoppage-time winner helped the Earthquakes pull off a multi-goal comeback to beat the Vancouver Whitecaps, 4-3, in the MLS is Back Tournament on Wednesday night.
The Whitecaps held a 3-1 lead in the 72nd minute when Chris Wondolowski sparked the Earthquakes comeback. Oswaldo Alanis provided the equalizer before Salinas scored a stunning winner, dribbling through Vancouver’s defense in the eighth minute of stoppage time.
Vancouver got off to a hot start in the 7th minute when left back Ali Adnan ripped a shot into the bottom right corner. The Iraqi international was a thorn in the side for San Jose all night as he reliable defensively, and drew multiple yellow cards with surging runs forward.
San Jose’s pain doubled when Judson lost possession deep in the Whitecap’s half. A simple outlet pass to the speedy Yordy Reyna and somehow Reyna was past the last defender by midfield. Stuck in two minds, the striker tried to have goalkeeper Mario Vega step before laying off the ball to a teammate. Judson intercepted the pass after a full-field sprint, but he was unable to control the ball before it headed towards the goal. A sliding effort from Judson was not enough to escape conceding an own goal.
The Quakes earned a goal before half by finally punishing Vancouver on a corner kick opportunity. The 11th corner of the night flew to Andres Rio, and the striker merely extended his foot to redirect the ball past goalkeeper Maxine Crepeau.
The Earthquakes dug themselves a bigger hole in the 59th minute when Vega attempted to keep possession out of the back, but the goalkeeper’s pass did not have enough power and was not accurate. Vancouver capitalized with David Milinkovic finding Christian Dajome for the simple finish.
San Jose’s resurgence started in the 72nd minute when a deflected shot found Wondolowski’s head, and his shot just barely managed to cross the goal line. The striker’s first goal of the tournament came just nine minutes after coming onto the field.
The corners never subsided during the match. On the 19th corner for the Quakes, Alanis out-jumped the Whitecaps defender to score from point-blank range and to tie the game at three.
Salinas, a substitute, ensured the match had one last surprise. In the 98th minute, the attacker dribbled from midfield, evaded four Whitecaps defending with close control, and capped off the solo run with a game-winning goal.
San Jose’s next match is against the Chicago Fire on Sunday at 8:00 p.m. Vancouver will try to earn their first points of the tournament versus Seattle on Sunday at 10:30 p.m.
Man of the Match
Andres Rios: The Argentine striker turned in a strong showing, and his clever flick on San Jose’s first goal was a vital goal to instill some belief in the Earthquakes after a disappointing first half.
Moment of the Match
Salinas’ winner: Wednesday’s match had a lot of mistakes from both teams, but a moment of brilliance ultimately won San Jose three points. Salinas’ confident solo run and finish allowed him to take matters into his own hands to deliver a hammer blow to the Whitecaps.
Match to Forget
Daniel Vega: On a different day, Vega’s errant pass leading to Vancouver’s would have been a death blow to San Jose’s comeback chances. Vega is lucky Salinas bailed out his mistake with the match-winning goal.