SAN FRANCISCO -- The Earthquakes fell 1-0 to the Houston Dynamo at AT&T Park thanks to an early penalty kick from Brad Davis. Despite seeing the majority of possession, the team was unable to seriously test Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall.
The Dynamo were handed a golden chance to open the scoring in the 13th minute referee Chris Penso whistled for a penalty after a coming together between Victor Bernardez, Jon Busch and Houstons Brian Ching in the penalty area.
Both teams struggled to find their rhythms through most of the first half, though the Earthquakes had the better of the chances despite rarely being able to penetrate into the Houston area.
Ramiro Corrales was particularly active on the left flank, and in the 38th minute his cross from deep found Steven Lenhart, but the burly striker headed over. Three minutes later, Corrales nearly had a goal of his own when he saw Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall cheating off his line and lofted a ball towards goal, only for Hall to get back in time to turn it over.
The Earthquakes had a pair of good chacnes in first half stoppage time, with Chris Wondolowski denied by Hall one-on-one, only to be whistled offside. Seconds later, Rafael Baca broke free down the left, but Wondolowski couldnt connect properly with his cross.
San Jose started the second half with a spell of pressure which saw close-range shots from both Lenhart and halftime substitute Marvin Chavez blocked.
The Earthquakes continued to have the have the best chances, though they continued to struggle to connect on set pieces. Wondolowski had another chance to equalize in the 61st minute, but he saw his shot blocked by Hall despite a clever touch to get through on goal.
Much-discussed offseason signing Tressor Moreno made his Earthquakes debut in the 63rd minute, replacing Khari Stephenson. The 33-year-old Colombian was not able to bring his playmaking skills to bear, though, as he and the team struggled to get any more clean looks at goal.
As the clock ticked down, the Earthquakes continued to throw men forward, as another offseason signing, Sercan Guvenisik made his debut as well. Moreno played Salinas through in a well-worked Quakes move, but the winger could only fire into the side netting.
Salinas continued to feature prominently in the waning minutes, earning a free kick just outside the area after being brought down by Bobby Boswell. However, Chavez could not take advantage of the opportunity as he blasted his shot high.
The team was lining up in a frantic effort to find an equalize, and Lenhart was the next to have a crack, but he fired wide after controlling well with his chest. Wondolowski was clipped from behind by Jermaine Taylor in stoppage to set up another great free kick opportunity, though his effort took a deflection off the wall to roll out for a corner, ending the Earthquakes chances to tie the game.
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