Earthquakes

Earthquakes fall to Impact, 3-1

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Earthquakes fall to Impact, 3-1

BOX SCORENever an easy place to play, Stade Saputo was a house of horrors for the San Jose Earthquakes as they lost 3-1 to the Montreal Impact. A penalty kick goal from Chris Wondolowski was cancelled out by Impact strikes from Marco Di Vaio, Denny Neagle, and Patrice Bernier in the Earthquakes worse loss of the season.

An altercation between Steven Lenhart and Montreal defender Hassoun Camara early in the first half led to red cards to both players. The Earthquakes dropped down another man in the second half when Jason Hernandez was shown red later in the match. The match was already 2-1 in favor of the Impact at the second red, and it only got worse for the visitors at that point.

The Earthquakes dropped only their sixth game of the season, their third to an Eastern Conference opponent, but they did not drop in the standings despite the loss.

The first goal of the game did not come without controversy, as a penalty kick was awarded against Montreal for the Camara karate chop on Lenhart, all while the ball was still in play. And even though Lenhart had instigated the fracas, and the double red was shown to both participants, the Earthquakes were still gifted the penalty.

Wondolowski slotted home the penalty in the 23rd minute with a low kick to the left that easily eluded Impact goalkeeper Troy Perkins. For Wondolowski, it was his 18th goal of the season which matches his career high set in his Golden Boot winning season of 2010.

Montreal did not waste any time in equalizing, as a through ball to Felipe in the Earthquakes area sprung the midfielder just inside of Justin Morrow and he pushed toward the endline. Crossing the ball through the six-yard box, Di Vaio snuck in at the back post to stab it home to make the score 1-1.

With both teams a man down, the game became much more wide open. Montreal seemed to have the better of the run of play, and in the 62nd minute, took the lead for good. With some skilled work on the ball at the top of the Earthquakes area, Bernier created enough space to lay the ball off to Neagle 20 yards from goal. The midfielder unleashed a right-footed blast that bulged the back of the net for the Impact goal.

The game went from bad to worse in the 71st minute, when a quick counterattack by Montreal saw Di Vaio collect the ball behind the Earthquakes defense and race toward goal. Hernandez, the last defender on the play, was forced into fouling the Italian striker inside the area. Hernandez was shown a red card for the foul and the Impact was awarded a penalty kick. Bernier converted from the spot to give the home side a 3-1 lead.

With the result no longer in doubt and up a man on San Jose, Montreal played an effective game of keep-away for the remaining 20 minutes of the match, and the Impact extended their winning streak to 4 games as they topped the Supporters Shield leading Earthquakes.

Road woes continue, Quakes fall to Dynamo

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USATSI

Road woes continue, Quakes fall to Dynamo

BOX SCORE

HOUSTON  — Alberth Elis and Vicente Sanchez each had a goal and an assist, and the Houston Dynamo blanked the San Jose Earthquakes 3-0 on Saturday night.

Houston (10-7-7) joined Seattle and Sporting Kansas City at the top of the Western Conference standings by improving to 9-0-3 at home.

Elis got his head on a corner kick by Boniek García to open the scoring with his seventh goal in the 21st minute. It was the Dynamos' league-leading 17th goal off a set piece.

Elis helped ice the game in the 86th minute with a nifty touch to get around a defender before Sanchez beat his defender and the goalkeeper to the centering pass for his first goal.

Sanchez gathered a loose ball just before it crossed the end line and centered it to Mauro Manotas for his eighth goal in stoppage time.

Tyler Deric had three saves for his fourth shutout.

San Jose (9-10-5) has lost five straight on the road and remains one point up on Vancouver for the final playoff spot.

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Quakes' 2-1 win over Columbus

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USATSI

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Quakes' 2-1 win over Columbus

BOX SCORE

It appears that stretches at Avaya Stadium for the San Jose Earthquakes are showing up on the schedule at just the right times. 

Not too long ago, the Quakes were reeling after a miserable stretch of soccer on the road. But now, after two straight wins at Avaya -- the latest a 2-1 victory over Columbus Crew SC on Saturday -- San Jose is once again knocking on MLS' playoff door. 

Marco Ureña scored in the 42nd minute and Chris Wondolowski added the eventual game-winner in the 56th. 

It's going to make for a nail-biting latter part of the season for sure in the super tight Western Conference. But for now celebrate with these five takeaways from the Earthquakes' ninth win of the season. 

-- Don't look now, but the win on Saturday means the Quakes have already surpassed their total from last year. The victory jumps their point total to 32, good for fifth in the Western Conference as of this article's publication. Dallas' loss and more importantly Vancouver's draw were huge results for San Jose as the season turns to the scoreboard-watching phase with eight teams jockeying for six playoff spots. 

-- Have a game, Tommy Thompson. Columbus controlled the first 20-25 minutes but it was around that time that the midfielder began to put his stamp on the match -- much to the appreciation of his San Jose teammates. He gave Columbus fits purely with his work rate and along with his assist, he came within inches of his second goal of the season. It was undoubtedly one of Thompson's most complete matches. Not only did he facilitate Wondolowski's goal, but defensively, Thompson was a visible and noticeable force. One has to wonder if he's turned the corner with that aspect of the game -- it was his defense that many speculated was keeping him out of the lineup during Dominic Kinnear's time as the head coach. 

-- Marco Ureña scored his third goal of the season and his first since a 2-1 win over Real Salt Lake on June 24. Ureña was a mainstay in Kinnear's lineup and hasn't really gotten the opportunity to earn the trust of new head coach Chris Leitch -- with a lot of his time spent on international duty since the Leitch was hired. Keep an eye out on that relationship. 

And, it's also time to acknowledge another round number for Wondolowski. With his goal in the 56th minute, the forward has hit the 130 career goals mark -- 123 of those have come since 2010. 

Wondolowski is still fourth on the all-time list but now he's only three behind Jaime Moreno and four behind Jeff Cunningham. 

-- That's now back-to-back impressive performances for David Bingham. And that has to feel super good for the former Cal keeper considering the defensive disaster that was San Jose's most recent road trip. 

-- After years of research and MLS flirting with the idea, Video Replay is here. And like most new things that are introduced into a sport rich in tradition, there is plenty of chatter -- for and against the change -- floating around. 

There will be four main areas of focus for MLS' new VAR: goals, penalty calls, direct red-card incidents and cases of mistaken identity (when it relates to yellow and red cards). 

On Saturday, the system was not truly tested except for the couple of minutes it took to analyze Adam Jahn's goal for Columbus.