SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- San Jose Earthquakes forward Chris Wondolowski wasted no time reintroducing himself to the MLS and it came at the expense of Chivas USA.
Wondolowski, coming off a sparkling run of five goals in the US men's national team's march to the Gold Cup championship, scored twice in his league return to lead the Quakes to a 2-0 victory Saturday night over a Goats team that was reduced to 10 men in the second half.
They were the sixth and seventh league goals of the season for Wondolowski, who had not scored in MLS play since May 8, a drought of nearly 600 minutes.
The win extended San Jose’s winning streak to three straight matches, putting the Quakes (8-9-6) back in the conversation in the Western Conference playoff chase. San Jose is now 7-1-4 at home this season, and haven’t lost at Buck Shaw Stadium since a season-opening 2-0 defeat to Real Salt Lake five months ago.
Chivas USA (4-12-5), meanwhile, remained winless on the road for the 10th consecutive match, their chances of finding an equalizer torpedoed when Carlos Bocanegra saw straight red after his 62nd-minute tackle pinwheeled San Jose midfielder Shea Salinas to the ground.
Wondolowski opened the scoring in the 45th minute with a perfectly-placed header. Steven Beitashour initiated the play by recycling a cleared Quakes corner kick with a long pass over the Chivas USA back line. Victor Bernardez then tracked that ball down and delivered a feathery header for Wondolowski to attack from just outside the six-yard box.
Mario de Luna briefly appeared to tie the game against a stout Earthquakes defense led by Bernardez in the 58th minute, slipping in a glancing header to the near post. The Chivas USA defender, however, was judged to be offside.
Wondolowski nearly found a brace in the following minute, sprung free by headers from Steven Lenhart and Sam Cronin. Wondolowski dribbled around charging goalkeeper Dan Kennedy, but his tightly angled shot was knocked aside by a sliding de Luna.
Wondolowski would not be denied by de Luna -- or anyone else -- in the 87th minute. He pounced on the rebound from Salinas’ deflected shot, lifting over the prone Kennedy to propel San Jose to their first multi-goal victory of 2013.
Quakes newcomers Jaime Alas and Clarence Goodson made their MLS debuts in the match.