Wondolowski leads red-hot Earthquakes over Sporting KC

ChrisWondolowskiSanJoseEarthquakes3-SportingKC (ISIPhotos)

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By DAN KARELL

Don’t look now, but the San Jose Earthquakes are working their way back into the playoff picture with nine matches remaining.

Following a dismal start to the season which included just three wins in their first 15 games, the Earthquakes have won four out of five to put themselves two points out of fifth place in the Western Conference.

And on Saturday evening at Buck Shaw Stadium, Chris Wondolowski’s second-half header was the difference as the Earthquakes topped Sporting Kansas City, 1-0. It’s the third loss in four matches for Sporting KC.

Despite playing without Kei Kamara and Graham Zusi due to injuries, Sporting KC was on the front foot for the majority of the first half. Earthquakes defender Clarence Goodson came up big for his new side as well on both sides of the field, forcing Sporting KC goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen to make a diving stop in the 33rd minute on a header, while providing strong defense alongside Victor Bernardez to keep the visitors away from goal.

In the 55th minute, the breakthrough finally came. A Sam Cronin cross was deflected to his Earthquakes teammate Steven Beitashour, who sent a looping ball towards Wondolowski in the box. The U.S. Men’s National Team member jumped and perfectly guided a header past Nielsen to send the crowd of 10,525 to their feet, despite suspicions of offside.

Sporting KC’s Teal Bunbury nearly tied the match with a close range finish in the 59th minute, but was denied by Goodson, who came from out of no where to deflect Bunbury’s shot. In the 85th minute, Rafael Baca nearly scored the insurance goal for his Earthquakes club but just sent his effort wide. When the whistle blew for full time, it ensured that Earthquakes goalkeeper Jon Busch had won his 100th career game, and on his birthday no less.

Here are the game highlights:

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14 Responses to Wondolowski leads red-hot Earthquakes over Sporting KC

  1. Yusef says:

    How many teams make the playoffs? Is it equally divided between east and west?

  2. Chupacabra says:

    Beating Chivas (the sacrificial lamb of the West conference), losing the next two matches (CCL and MLS) and winning by one offside goal does not make a team red hot. But it’s a Dan “Hyperbole” Karell article . . .

  3. Chupacabra says:

    And it’s THREE points out of fifth place, with four of the six teams above them having games in hand.

    • ex_sweeper says:

      And with a far worse “goals for” record than any of the other contenders, the Quakes can’t rely on the tie-breaker.

  4. kcfan says:

    Officiating cost KC at least a point, maybe three. Wondo offside, Saad was taken down with a football tackle in the box.

    • Jason says:

      That Saad flop was a veteran move, the ref saw that it was just that, however.

      • mouf says:

        He was without a doubt being held, and clearly being held doesn’t cause you to fall. Wilshire probably would have gotten the call in the Arsenal game if he fell like Soony.

        *shrug*

        decision has to be made, didn’t go SKCs way this time, happens, clearly

  5. Drummond says:

    The reply showed two Earthquakes, including Wondolowski, were offsides. Not a good season for MLS refs..

    • swift says:

      I paused the clip and it’s very close between Wondo and the defender on the ball. The camera isn’t straight down the pitch so there is bit of an angle but I haven’t’ see a better shot of the play then this one and I don’t see anything conclusive.
      and just to point out Gordon was offside but he didn’t’ make any attempt to play the ball.

    • vik says:

      Yea, Gordon was clearly off and Wondo looked just offside as well. Gordon seemed to be screening Wondo from the AR’s view. Still, a bit of luck for the Quakes.

  6. patrick says:

    i dont really follow SKC, so for all I know he’s been back for a while but, it’s good to see Bunbury back on the field.

  7. chris thebassplayer says:

    Great ball by Beita hustling to pick it out of the air first time to send it in. It was a tough cagey game with both sides playing organized tight D. Gordon struggled with his hold up play…couldn’t buy a trap all night. I was hoping to see a little more impact from Alas…nice to see Morrow come in at LM late. Still need a couple more wins and a lot of help to even think about making the playoffs.