SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- After a 2011 season in which the Earthquakes constantly surrendered leads, they kicked off their 2012 campaign by making a 1-0 lead stand against the New England Revolution.
The recently returned Salinas made his mark quickly, causing the Revolution defense plenty of problems with his pace and technique, and it was his opportunistic play that led to the first goal.
He picked up an errant pass from Shalrie Joseph and threaded the ball through to Wondolowski, who finished to give the Earthquakes the lead a quarter of an hour into the game.
Wondolowski had a half-chance to double the Earthquakes advantage later in the first half as a free kick from Marvin Chavez took an awkward bounce, and the forward was unable to get the right touch.
The sequence summed up the Quakes first half struggles on set pieces, as they were unable to manufacture a shot on target despite two corner kicks and four free kicks close to the Revolution area.
The start of the second half did not yield many opportunities, either, as both teams struggled to maintain possession for an extended period of time. The best chance in the early stages of the half came as Rafael Baca sent Marvin Chavez though on the right-hand side, only for Chavezs cross to roll agonizingly ahead of onrushing Steven Lenhart.
Despite the Earthquakes inability to convert a second goal, the team had little trouble holding on to its one-goal advantage, in large part thanks tothe play of offseason pickup Victor Bernardez in the center of defense. The towering Hondurans positioning and ability to read the game were evident throughout the match.
The Revolution did have two dangerous opportunities in the second half, the first as Lee Nguyen cut into the box, only for his cutback to be turned behind by Bernardez.
The second came as the game neared the 80 minute mark and Revolution forward Blake Brettschneider received the ball in the center of the area, only to catch air as he attempted to turn and shoot.
Both teams went close in the final stages of the match, with Revolution midfielder Benny Feilhaber rasping a shot just wide of Jon Buschs goal before Simon Dawkins flashed his own effort across the face of goal on the other end, only to see it roll just wide, and the Earthquakes went on to see the game to its conclusion.
For more Earthquakes, MLS and world soccer chatter, you can follow Nick Rosano on Twitter: @nicholasrosano