'Quakes fail to spoil Keller's party in 2-1 loss to Seattle

October 16, 2011, 5:07 am
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For 82 minutes, it looked as though the Earthquakes wouldspoil the party for the 64,135 Seattle Sounders FC fans gathered to honorretiring Sounders goalkeeper Kasey Keller. However, as has often been the caseover the 2011 season, the Earthquakes threw away a late lead to fall 2-1. Chris Wondolowski put his team ahead in the 24thminute with his 15th tally of the year, but late goals from SammyOchoa and Fredy Montero condemned the Quakes to defeat in their visit to the Pacific Northwest. The result dropped the Earthquakes toa 6-4-5 record when taking the lead, meaning they have given up 22 points insuch circumstances. Im not sure we could play any better and not be two up,Earthquakes head coach Frank Yallop said. We didnt get the second goal andthat changed everything. It is the story of our season; we had good ballmovement and created some chances to score the second one. Even in the final regular season home game of his career,Keller who has spent 22 years as a professional and represented the United States102 times put in a sterling performance to keep Wondolowski from adding tohis total and keep his own team in the game. Yeah, he did come up with some very big saves, Yallopsaid. I think he had a couple of moments where we hit it straight at him andshould have picked a corner. Im on the sidelines and cant see the angles, butI cant fault our boys for their effort. After Rafael Baca put Wondolowski behind the Seattle defense to score San Joses opener, Keller proved unbeatabledespite the teams best effort. The veteran goalkeeper made a stunning reflexsave on Wondolowskis header just prior to halftime and showed incrediblestamina to deny the Quakes four times within the space of a minute late in thesecond half. He made some really good saves and that is something he hasdone for a number of years now. He is a great goalkeeper, Wondolowski said ofKellers performance. Wondolowski had a second goal a header from a freekick called back in the second half after it was adjuged that Sam Cronin hadtaken the free kick too early. While that call ended up being fairlystraightforward, the Earthquakes took issue with another call, one that saw theOchoa ruled onside as he went on to score Seattles equalizer. I havent seen the play Seattles first goal but the boys said hewas offsides, Yallop said of the late equalizer. But we have to play asmentally strong as we can in those late stages. There was to be no gripe with the officials when at leasttwo Earthquakes players played Montero onside, allowing him to seal the winnerwith a toe poke finish past Jon Busch and cement a storybook sendoff forKeller. Despite the loss, Wondolowskis goal a composed, lowfinish across Kellers body let him keep pace with D.C. Uniteds Dwayne DeRosario in the race for the MLS Golden Boot, awarded to the leagues topscorer. The former Earthquake scored his 15th goal of the seasonfrom the penalty spot in D.C.s dramatic 2-1 loss to Colorado. We did a good job pressuring and they turned it over toRafael Baca and he plays a good ball to me, Wondolowski said. It was Wondlowskis sixth goal in five games, nearlyreplicating his torrid form last October, when he scored 10 goals in the lasteight regular season games. He started the season out well and had a little bit of adry patch in the middle of the year, Yallop said of Wondolowskis form. He isa goal scorer; he has 15 goals this season, no penalty kicks. That is a goodtally for anyone in any league, not just this one. Wondolowski will have one more chance to pull away from DeRosario who currently holds the Golden Book tiebreaker by having tallied 12assists to Wondolowskis three when the Earthquakes play host to FC Dallas onOct. 22, the teams final game of 2011.For more Earthquakes, MLS and world soccerchatter, you can follow Nick Rosano on Twitter: @nicholasrosano

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