The Earthquakes, carrying a reputation from 2010 as a solidroad team down the stretch, could not live up to that status as they fell 2-1at the Houston Dynamo. Despite taking the lead in the first half through KhariStephenson, defensive mistakes in the second half consigned the team to adefeat that has all but mathematically extinguished their slim playoff chances.The result left San Jose 16th out of 18 in theoverall table (with the top 10 teams making the postseason) and seven pointsaway from a playoff berth. With four of its final six games on the road and ahost of teams contending for a spot, it would take a marathon effort for theteam to turn things around and qualify for the playoffs. San Jose took a 1-0 lead into halftime after KhariStephenson finished off a well-worked counterattack with an emphatic volley.However, the Earthquakes were on the back foot for most of the first half, atrend that continued as Houston clawed two back in the second half, San Josewilting in the 81-degree heat combined with 85 humidity. Despite taking eight shots, only three fewer than theDynamo, the Earthquakes managed to put two on goal, an inefficient use of theirchances considering Houston had a 57.3-42.7 advantage in possession.Playing up top instead of at his natural centralmidfield position, Khari Stephenson was one of the Earthquakes most dangerousplayers on the night, getting the teams other shot on target in addition tohis goal. However, the Jamaican did miss a particularly glaring chance in the71st minute, failing to put his shot on frame after getting inbehind thanks to a defensive miscue from Houston. I scored a goal tonight, and I probably should have had twomore, Stephenson said of his play. Then again, it is not my position, but Ifeel as if I have the qualities and I should be able to put away thosechances. Head coach Frank Yallop also lamented the teams inabilityto convert its chances into goals, indicating he would continue to search forthe right formula up top with increasingly little left to play for. We had enough chances to score more than one goal. Thatsthe disappointing part forme, he said.We are trying our best to put it right and do our best to address everythingwhen we play games and come out next time and do better. The inefficient use of possession could have been overcomewith solid defending, and despite a spirited effort in the back overall, twomistakes caused two goals. First, Bobby Burling caught the foot of Brad Daviswhile the Houston midfielder was cutting into the area, leading to a penaltykick that Davis converted himself. In the second instance, Steven Beitashourlost his mark on Houstons Will Bruin, allowing Luis Camargo to float in across that Bruin easily volleyed home. Last year we found a way to win these games. This year weare shooting ourselves in the foot a bit, Earthquakes forward ChrisWondolowski said. We are making a couple of mistakes and getting punished forthem and not finishing when we should. Wondolowski took just two shots throughout the game, as hewas effectively isolated by the Houston defense. One chance was particularlydangerous Wondolowski received the ball at his feet at close range after somedazzling individual work from Simon Dawkins, but he could not get his footaround the ball, putting it harmlessly wide. Houston did a great job tonight, and they have a greatdefense, Wondolowski added. We didnt create a whole lot of opportunities,and the ones that I did get on the end of I didnt do a good enough job ofconverting. Although not mathematically eliminated, the Earthquakes willbe up against it, their road trip set to continue for two more games. The teamfirst travels to Portland on Wednesday evening before visiting Colorado thefollowing Saturday, and while the playoffs may be almost out of reach, thegames should provide a good test for those looking to retain their spot on theroster in 2012.For more Earthquakes, MLS and world soccer musings,you can follow Nick Rosano on Twitter: @nicholasrosano
FRISCO, Texas -- Jahmir Hyka scored on a spectacular move in the 81st minute and the San Jose Earthquakes handed FC Dallas its first loss of the season, 1-0 on Saturday night.
Hyka took a pass from Marco Urena and touched the ball straight up over defender Matt Hedges as he raced by before putting the ball in off the post for his third goal.
David Bingham made three difficult saves for his fifth shutout, the 25th in his seven seasons with San Jose (5-4-4). The Earthquakes, who played Wednesday night, had just one win in their previous 12 road games and had been shutout six times and outscored by 13.
Hyka's goal also ended a string in which Chris Wondolowski had scored or assisted on the last seven Quakes goals.
Dallas (5-1-4) was unbeaten in its previous eight games with San Jose, outscoring the Quakes 12-4 with five clean sheets.
Dallas dominated most of the game with 62.3 percent possession and Jesse Gonzalez only made one save.
It’s been a season of inconsistencies for the San Jose Earthquakes. But one thing that has been certain is that in San Jose, at Avaya Stadium, the Quakes are pretty close to unbeatable.
And they continued that trend Wednesday night thanks in large part to Tommy Thompson and Chris Wondolowski, who combined for a goal in the game’s 83rd minute to salvage a 1-1 draw.
In six home matches, the Earthquakes are 3-0-3.
The equalizer came less than three minutes after Carlos Rivas had put Orlando on top with a goal from inside the 18-yard box.
But it was then that head coach Dominic Kinnear reached to his bench for Thompson.
The late substitution paid off not too long after when a Jahmir Hyka corner found its way over to Thompson just outside the penalty area. The midfielder put the ball on frame and as it was going wide, Wondolowski was there to poke the ball home.
The goal was the fifth of the season for Wondolowski. It was also Thompson’s first point for the big club since signing San Jose’s first ever Homegrown Player contract.
David Bingham made a huge save on Brazilian international Kaka in stoppage time to keep the game drawn.
Turning point: You have to look to Kinnear’s substitution in the 82nd minute that brought on Thompson. The midfielder is known for his creativity on the ball, but had yet to turn that into production for the Quakes since signing his contract. On Wednesday, his first point could not have come at a bigger time. Thompson’s first point came in his 57th game with the club.
Man of the match: Bingham has played lights out at Avaya in 2017. And when the game opened up in the last 10 minutes, it was his save that kept on Kaka that preserved the unbeaten record at home and a much deserved point for the home squad.
Injury update: Quakes fans got some bad news before the start of Wednesday’s game when the team announced Harold Cummings, a big offseason acquisition at center back, is out of the season. The Costa Rican international suffered a foot injury while in his San Jose home. The blow is huge for the Quakes, who are already thin defensively.
Booked: Orlando: Leo Pereira (yellow, 25’); San Jose: Anibal Godoy (yellow, 44’), Marco Ureña (yellow, 62’), Nick Lima (yellow, 68’), Darwin Ceren (yellow, 70’).
Up next: The Earthquakes head to Texas to face FC Dallas on Saturday. While the Quakes are unbeaten at home, their fortunes change significantly on the road. They’ll try to turn that around against a tough Dallas team.