Another never say die comeback by the San Jose Earthquakes earned them a 3-3 draw against a tough FC Dallas side at Buck Shaw Stadium. With his second goal of the game, Steven Lenhart rescued a point for the home side with his close range header in the fifth minute of stoppage time.
FC Dallas squandered a two goal game from Blas Perez and an apparent match-winner from Matt Hedges in the 88th minute to settle for the 3-3 draw. An early goal from Alan Gordon had staked the Earthquakes to a 1-0 first half lead, and Lenharts first goal of the game cancelled Perez brace ahead of Hedges strike. Lenharts equalizer capped off the frenetic match from both sides.
The draw lifted the Earthquakes points total to 61, and pushed them 3 points ahead of Sporting Kansas City for the MLS Supporters Shield. San Jose also took another important step forward in securing first place in the Western Conference with the favorable result.
Taking advantage of a lackadaisical clearance from FC Dallas goalkeeper Kevin Hartman, who had advanced outside the edge of the area to head the ball away, the Earthquakes quickly countered through Sam Cronin and Marvin Chavez. With Hartman retreating back into position, Chavez sent a low cross through the area that Wondolowski dummied to Gordon racing in at the far post. A simple redirect with the inside of his left foot gave Gordon his 13th goal of the season and the Earthquakes a 1-0 lead in the 24th minute.
FC Dallas capitalized on an Earthquakes turnover to equalize in the 37th minute, when Jackson, on a marauding run started near the center line, carried the ball deep in the San Jose half. His simple cross into the area was corralled by Perez and calmly shot past goalkeeper Jon Busch inside the far post to draw the visitors level.
Both teams had great chances to take the lead going into halftime, but neither side could capitalize on their opportunities. For FC Dallas, an open header at the top of the six-yard box was missed high over the crossbar by Jackson in the 44th minute after a nifty cross from Zach Loyd. For San Jose, twice Wondolowski had close range efforts saved by Hartman in first half stoppage time.
A tense second half saw the Earthquakes fire away at the Dallas goal, but a resolute effort from the defense kept San Jose off the board. Steven Lenhart entered the game for Mehdi Ballouchy, who suffered a left knee injury, but the Earthquakes could still not find an opening on offense. The inability to sufficiently test Hartman would prove costly.
In the 72nd minute following a short clearance from the Earthquakes defense, former MLS MVP David Ferreira collected the ball just inside the area. He lined up a cross into the six-yard box that was deftly headed by Perez over the reach of Busch for his second goal of the game and a 2-1 FC Dallas lead.
Down a goal, head coach Frank Yallop brought in offensive reinforcements Shea Salinas and Khari Stephenson, and the Earthquakes soon after equalized. In the 72nd minute, an aerial challenge won by Lenhart was flicked to Gordon at the top of the area. He laid the ball back into the path of Lenhart, who one-timed the ball into the back of the net to take the score to 2-2.
A double yellow card infraction in the 86th minute on Cronin and Ferreira on an FC Dallas counterattack gave the visitors a free kick in a dangerous position. With Dallas pushing forward with numbers, a shot through traffic deflected through on goal and out of the reach of Busch. Victor Bernardez made a diving save to stop Loyd from heading the loose ball into the goal, but Hedges followed up the play and slammed the ball into the empty net to put FC Dallas up 3-2.
However, with six minutes of stoppage time announced the San Jose Goonies had plenty of clock left to draw even. With all hands on deck for both teams deep in the Dallas area, the equalizer came to be in the 95th minute. A heads-up play from Salinas to collect an errant cross and pass back to Justin Morrow on the left wing started the play. Morrow sent a ball back into the mixer and Gordon flicked the ball over the Dallas defense and to the waiting Lenhart at the far post. The blond-haired bomber headed home from close range for his second goal of the game and 10th goal of the season to give the Earthquakes a 3-3 draw.
The final whistle came less than a minute later and the capacity Buck Shaw Stadium crowd erupted in applause at the late-game Earthquakes heroics. The 3-3 draw ensured that San Joses unbeaten streak at The Buck would continue for another match.
The Earthquakes head on the road to face the Colorado Rapids next weekend before returning to San Jose two weeks later to face the LA Galaxy in the regular season home closer on October 21.