SANTA CLARA, Calif. – The combination of Chris Wondolowski and Toronto FC’s struggles defending late in matches proved a winning formula for the San Jose Earthquakes.
Wondolowski set up the game-tying goal early in the second half and scored the game-winner late as the San Jose Earthquakes came back for a 2-1 victory against Toronto FC on Wednesday.
The league MVP broke a 1-1 tie in the 81st minute, using his right knee at point-blank range to jam home Walter Martinez’s flicked header off a Marvin Chavez corner kick. It was the fifth goal this year for Wondolowski, who tied the MLS single-season record with 27 last season.
The win ended a six-game winless streak for San Jose (3-3-5), which reached .500 for the first time in more than a month. Toronto (1-5-4) saw its own victory drought extended to eight straight matches.
Earthquakes rookie Adam Jahn tied things up three minutes into the second half with his fourth goal of the season. Jahn beat Toronto goalkeeper Joseph Bendik with a deft left-footed strike from 10 yards, having been freed up when Wondolowski one-timed a quick throw-in from Dan Gargan.
Notorious Quakes-killer Justin Braun put Toronto up 1-0 in the 14th minute with his fifth career goal against San Jose. Doneil Henry headed on Darren O’Dea’s long free kick and Braun, returning from a one-match absence due to a foot injury suffered on April 27, wrapped a left-footed volley around his marker to beat San Jose goalkeeper Jon Busch from five yards.
Wondolowski’s second-half success helped take some of the sting out of another snake-bit first half. He saw a looping, sixth-minute header ticketed for the top corner of the back post turned aside by a superb leaping save from Bendik. Then he turned creator just before the half, putting his low cross from the end line into a dangerous position atop Toronto’s 6-yard box, yet an unmarked Shea Salinas blazed his opportunity over the crossbar.
The crowd of 10,048 at Buck Shaw Stadium were hoping for more of the Quakes’ late-game magic, buoyed by the fact that Toronto had allowed six goals in the final 15 minutes of their first nine matches, dropping eight potential points in the process.
In the end, the Reds’ defense once again proved their undoing, as Toronto cast aside another possible point, remaining stuck on seven, with only D.C. United’s struggles keeping them out of the Eastern Conference’s cellar.
San Jose, meanwhile, vaulted into a tie for fourth place in the Western Conference, sitting on 14 points with the LA Galaxy.