Quakes players send strong message

SJ's Convey, McDonald had point to prove vs. rival Galaxy

San Jose Earthquakes midfielder Bobby Convey swore he didn’t have a personal agenda Thursday night, even though he was going head-to-head against the Los Angeles Galaxy and coach Bruce Arena, the man who initially left him off the MLS All-Star team.

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Nevertheless, Convey’s game had plenty to say to Arena, who only found room for Convey on the All-Star team earlier Thursday after Chivas USA defender Jonathan Bornstein pulled out due to injury.

The Quakes’ left winger needed less than two minutes to prove his All-Star bona fides, pouncing on a loose rebound left behind by LA keeper Donovan Ricketts to tally his first goal of the season and open the scoring in what would eventually become a 2-2 tie for San Jose.

“I don’t think I had any point to prove in this particular game,” said Convey, who will make his third All-Star appearance and becomes the Quakes’ first representative since the team was re-established in 2008. “Anybody that has watched the season has seen what I’ve done. I’ve tried to work as hard as I possibly can to create as many chances as I possibly can.”

Convey, who sits second on the league’s assist leaderboard with eight, wasn’t taking his snub personally, at least going by his public statements. His teammates, on the other hand, were not so sanguine about the situation.

“I was kind of upset that our team was the last to get a guy on the All-Star team,” Quakes holding midfielder Brandon McDonald said. “I feel like, this season, Bobby deserves it. For him to be told last … I think it was good that he scored. He deserved it.”

Convey wasn’t the only one gaining a measure of redemption at the Home Depot Center on Thursday. So, too, was McDonald, who scored his third career goal in 49 MLS matches against the team that dumped him in February 2009.

The sequence leading up to the 72nd-minute score began with a Convey cross from the right corner. Target man Ike Opara put his left foot on the ball, forcing a body save from Ricketts, but he couldn’t hold the rebound and McDonald scooped it home with his left foot.

“It was good to score against my old team,” McDonald said. “It’s not necessarily payback, but you feel good expressing yourself to the fans who supported you when you were here and showing them what you can do.”

The tie was made more disappointing by the fact that Los Angeles came back twice to knot the score. Most crushing was that the Galaxy’s second goal was recorded in the 90th minute. Tristan Bowen sent in a knuckling shot from the right side that Quakes keeper Jon Busch could only parry. Edson Buddle kept the play alive and Donovan jammed home the loose ball for the equalizer.

“I’m still trying to figure out how we didn’t win that game,” Donovan said on ESPN2 after the final whistle. “We had so many chances. But sometimes it happens like that.”

It happens like that more often than not against the Quakes, who have not surrendered a multi-goal game in four matches since the World Cup break.

“I thought we defended great in the box,” Quakes coach Frank Yallop said. “We didn’t really give them any good looks. Their two goals were scrambly and not clear-cut. They didn’t carve us up.”

Still, San Jose will have to be satisfied with a single point after squandering a perfect chance to finally beat one of the three top teams in the Western Conference. The Quakes are now a combined 0-2-2 against Los Angeles, FC Dallas and Real Salt Lake.

“I think [the Galaxy’s] record is a bit unrealistic, because they’ve played three more games than we have,” Convey said. “So I don’t think they’re as good as everyone thinks they are. They had a good run and they have good players, but we lost the game. They didn’t win it. We lost the three points.”

Geoff Lepper covers the San Jose Earthquakes for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at sanjosequakes@gmail.com and on Twitter @sjquakes.