Wondolowski leads Quakes to 3-0 win in Toronto

Wondolowski leads Quakes to 3-0 win in Toronto
March 24, 2012, 10:53 pm
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Despite some rough moments, the Earthquakes left Toronto with a 3-0 win. Chris Wondolowskis two goals sandwiched an effort from Shea Salinas, though Wondolowski missed a pair of opportunities to get a hat trick. Sam Cronin was instrumental on both sides of the ball for San Jose, putting up a strong performance against his former team. "It feels good, great to get the win most importantly, much needed," Cronin said. "Our first road win, good to set a precedent continuing into next weekend's game in Seattle, who is a tough team to play on the road."Tressor Moreno was handed his first MLS start by Earthquakes head coach Frank Yallop, and Marvin Chavez returned to the starting lineup after coming off the bench in the teams 1-0 loss to Houston.The Earthquakes looked bright early, and Steven Lenhart had the ball in the back of the net just four minutes in, but he was whistled offside. Shea Salinas also had an early strike on goal, but it was saved by Toronto goalkeeper Milos Kocic. However, the Earthquakes did end up taking an early lead in the ninth minute. Marvin Chavezs corner was initially cleared, but ended up at the feet of Sam Cronin, who curled the cross in for Wondolowski to head the ball home. After the goal, Toronto started to come into the game more, but had a tough time finding space in the Earthquakes penalty area. Cronin admitted the team struggled at times in the first half, though."We were quite happy with the early goal especially in the first ten minutes we were on top of them," he said. "The rest of the half they pressed us and we had a difficult time keeping the ball."

Eventually, the home team would get some chances as Luis Silva saw an effort rise over the bar and Ryan Johnson couldnt get a shot off under pressure from Victor Bernardez. Toronto finally got its first shot on target late in the first half as Ryan Johnson hammered a low shot from the edge of the area, but it was right at Jon Busch, who saved it comfortably. Dutch forward Danny Koevermans came on at halftime and nearly made an immediate impact. The Designated Player took the ball around Busch but too close to the endline, and Steven Beitashour was able to clear his cross. Toronto continued to apply pressure with Koevermans and Joao Plata at the center of things. However, just as Koevermans went close with a header, the Earthquakes bagged their second. Plata slipped, allowing Beitashour to burst forward and play Marvin Chavez through on goal. Instead of shooting, Chavez pulled it back, and Salinas powered the ball home with his left foot after a late run into the area. "We came in trying to get behind their back four and we accomplished that quite a few times especially in the second half." Earthquakes head coach Frank Yallop said. "It's nice to see what you work all week in practice come out in the game."Torontos defensive woes continued, and 11 minutes after Salinas goal the Earthquakes made it three. Cronin who was at the heart of things all game scooped a ball over the top for Rafael Baca, who found Wondolowski at the far post for the finish. The goal was Wondolowski's sixth against Toronto, and he has now scored more goals against Toronto than any other team. Five of his goals against Toronto have come on the road.

"It's not just BMO field he is good at; Chris is good everywhere," Yallop said. "He can just sniff out the chances and is very clean with his finishes on any surface. Whether it be heading it, driving it, tucking it, whatever he needs to do he scores."Wondolowski should have had a hat trick 15 minutes from time, but scooped his finish well over the bar off a cross from Lenhart. Their roles switched just a couple minutes later as Lenharts deflected effort from a Wondolowski cross was acrobatically turned over by Kocic. The Earthquakes forward pairing continued to torment the Toronto defense in the late minutes of the game, but couldnt add to the lead. Wondolowski missed another chance at a hat trick after substitute Simon Dawkins found him at the far post, but he turned his effort onto the post with the goal at his mercy.For more Earthquakes, MLS and world soccer chatter, you can follow Nick Rosano on Twitter: @nicholasrosano