SANTA CLARA, Calif. --
The magic is back at Buck Shaw Stadium, as a late rally from the San Jose Earthquakes over visiting New York let them taste victory for the first time in 2013.
After substitute Adam Jahn equalized with a fine effort in the 83rd minute, the rookie out of Stanford University helped earn a penalty kick in the 90th minute that Chris Wondolowski converted in stoppage time to give the Quakes a 2-1 win over the Red Bulls.
“He was definitely the man of the match,” said Wondolowski. “His play just sparked us.”
The winning penalty kick goal came courtesy of a re-kick after New York defender Roy Miller encroached on Wondolowski’s first attempt. Miller was also adjudged to have handled the ball in the box on Jahn’s late headed shot attempt to set up the original penalty. Wondo made no mistake in converting his second opportunity from the spot.
“I was so relieved to get a second one,” added Wondolowski. “Last year that bit me but this year I’ll take it.”
New York had protected a 1-0 lead for most of the game, but the introduction of Jahn in the second half allowed the Earthquakes to follow the recipe that had earned them so many late victories in 2012: Let the big guy up top dictate the game.
“Big Adam did a terrific job to stretch them and be difficult to handle in the air,” said head coach Frank Yallop. “We’re set up to pretty much play with a target guy. We feed off our crosses and we have gotten away from that with our big boys out, but now Adam will have the confidence to do that.”
With both Steven Lenhart and Alan Gordon, the head Goonies of 2012, still recovering from offseason surgeries, Yallop may have found the replacement he has been searching for in the Supplemental Draft pick out of Stanford. Jahn certainly recognized the opportunity handed to him by the Quakes and relished scoring his first goal as a professional.
“Before I went in, the coaching staff told me just get in the box and fight for balls,” said Jahn. “I peeled around to the back and Sam Cronin played a beautiful ball and I was there to tap it in. That was pretty special.”
The 2-1 victory over New York should provide a boost to San Jose, especially since they were 10 minutes away from dropping a second straight match to open the season. Instead, the team can look forward to a week of preparation ahead of their next game at the Columbus Crew not weighed down with unfulfilled promise.
Despite the rosy result, the match did not seem destined to go the way of the home side. In the 8th minute, following a poor New York clearance on a Quakes corner kick, the ball was switched to Shea Salinas on the right wing. He powered the ball into the six yard box, but Mike Fucito could only deflect his effort harmlessly over the target.
The Red Bulls weathered the early San Jose pressure and opened the scoring in the 16th minute. Thierry Henry stood up the Quakes defense just outside the penalty area before floating a ball toward the spot. Defender Jason Hernandez got a head to the ball ahead of Fabian Espindola, but his clearance drifted to the far post where it was slammed home by Alexander to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.
New York nearly doubled their advantage in the 31st minute through a corner kick driven into the area by Henry and met by Espindola, but the midfielder could only flash his header wide of the far post. Another opportunity went wanting for the Red Bulls in the 38th minute as a free kick from Henry was headed wide of the goal by Tim Cahill.
Clearly frustrated by the lack of cohesiveness from his teammates and after suffering yet another take-down courtesy of the Red Bulls defense, Wondolowski let loose a tirade directed at referee Ricardo Salazar that earned the DP forward a yellow card in the 41st minute. The Quakes were not able to draw inspiration from Wondo’s intense flare-up and the teams finished the half with New York ahead 1-0.
The Earthquakes were nearly gifted an equalizer in the 50th minute when an ill-advised throw-in by Brandon Barklage deep in his own half left his goalkeeper Luis Robles vulnerable to an onrushing Fucito. However, the Red Bulls netminder was able to smother the loose ball before Fucito could poke it home.
After 66 minutes of futility attempting aerial passes into the Red Bulls area, the Earthquakes brought in rookie target forward Jahn for Rafael Baca. Reigning MLS MVP Wondolowski dropped into the advanced midfielder role as San Jose looked for a path through the more physically imposing New York defensive line. Nearly concurrent with the entry of Jahn, a flagging Salinas was replaced by second year midfielder Sam Garza.
With San Jose venturing more players into the attacking half, the Red Bulls looked to the counterattack in an effort to salt away the result. In the 68th minute, Jonny Steele had a golden chance to double the New York advantage with a volley inside the area, but his shot deflected off a defender before it could reach the desired target.
Following the same recipe of starting XI and three substitutions that the Quakes used in last week’s 2-0 loss to RealSaltLake, the match seemed headed to a similar result. However, in the 83rd minute, the Earthquakes finally found the back of the net. Carrying the ball toward the left byline, Sam Cronin cut a cross through the six-yard box that Jahn slammed into the top of the cage with an extended right foot for the equalizer.
Jahn was again in the thick of matters as his headed attempt in the 90th minute on a corner kick from Garza was handled in the area by Miller. Salazar pointed to the spot and Wondolowski stepped up to take the penalty kick. Robles was able to make a save on the shot, but Miller was adjudged to have encroached on the kick, and a retake was ordered. Wondolowski made no mistake the second time and shot home the effort to put the Earthquakes ahead 2-1.
A tense final few minutes of stoppage time saw the Earthquakes fend off a late New York rally and hang on for their first victory of 2013. San Jose next plays this Saturday at the Columbus Crew.