The return of Chicago Fire coach Frank Yallop to Buck Shaw Stadium didn’t provide his new team with any pleasure.
Or points, for that matter.
Shea Salinas, Atiba Harris, Chris Wondolowski, Yannick Djalo and Cordell Cato all scored as the San Jose Earthquakes rolled to a 5-1 victory Wednesday night, burying Yallop’s hopes of getting a result in his former home of 5 1/2 seasons with a season-high deluge of goals.
Playing without a target forward for only the second time all season after Steven Lenhart was ruled out pre-game with a knee problem, Quakes coach Mark Watson paired Wondolowski with usual winger Djalo. The Portuguese import delivered his first three MLS assists as the Quakes’ attack – which came in tied for last in the league at 1.00 goals per game – perked up just in time to help San Jose (5-8-5) snap a five-game winless streak overall and three-match losing string at Buck Shaw.
Chicago (3-5-11) suffered their first loss in five matches, with only Grant Ward’s late tally – his first MLS goal – providing consolation.
The Quakes spent much of the first half trying to curl shots from distance into the upper corner of the far post – avoiding the long reach of Chicago goalkeeper Sean Johnson – before Salinas finally turned the trick in the 45th minute.
The sequence began with Victor Bernardez’s long header to clear a Chicago cross. Salinas reached the ball initially, but his first touch was knocked aside by Jhon Kennedy Hurtado. Salinas continued his run, however, and Djalo first-timed his ball into space for Salinas to chase down the left wing. Salinas collected the pass and cut inside, firing from 15 yards for his first goal of the season as Hurtado and Bakary Soumare tried in vain to close him out.
San Jose doubled their lead in the 52nd minute when nice buildup from Djalo – nutmegging Soumare to ignite the attack – and Harris led to a chance for Wondolowski. Johnson blocked the initial shot but Harris ran unmolested to the loose rebound and cashed it in from four yards.
Wondolowski got into the act with his seventh goal – and second in three games back from World Cup duty – in the 62nd minute, slipping a nifty shot from 12 yards between Hurtado and Johnson after Harris set him free from a careless midfield turnover by the Fire.
Ward, the Tottenham Hotspur loan product, drew one back in the 75th minute with a first-timed laser from the edge of the area off of Matt Watson’s pass.
Still, the Quakes didn’t let up. Djalo, set loose by Cato behind a shellshocked Fire defense, cheekily chipped Johnson from 20 yards in the 79th minute. And Cato converted five minutes later from Wondolowski to complete the demolition job.