SAN JOSE, Calif. – The San Jose Earthquakes defeated Austin FC 4-0 on Wednesday evening at PayPal Park. Four different players scored for San Jose, including Major League Soccer’s all-time leading scorer Chris Wondolowski.
After a scoreless first half, San Jose struck early in the second frame. Benji Kikanovic forced a turnover in the corner and carried the ball goalward. His lateral pass bounded past several players before finding Chofis at the back post for the short-range finish.
San Jose added a second just a few minutes later. Jeremy Ebobisse battled with his defender for possession of a long through ball with both eventually stumbling. Kikanovic recovered the loose ball and curled a low shot past goalkeeper Brad Stuver.
The Quakes extended their lead to 3-0 in the 59th minute. Cristian Espinoza played a floating ball into the box, which was cleared only as far as the penalty spot. Chris Wondolowski volleyed the bouncing ball into the back of the net.
San Jose then added a fourth goal in the 85th minute when Carlos Fierro headed home a corner kick by Cristian Espinoza.
The Quakes will now prepare to host Vancouver Whitecaps FC at PayPal Park, presented by Intermedia. The match, which will celebrate the 2001 MLS Cup-winning team, will kick off at 7 p.m. PT and will be broadcast on NBC Sports Bay Area, KNBR 1050 and 1370 KZSF.
The Earthquakes now hold a 9-12-9 record (36 pts.) during the 2021 MLS regular season and are currently in 10th place in the Western Conference.
San Jose is now 2-0-1 all-time vs. Austin, with a 1-0-0 home record. The Quakes have scored four goals in each of their last two meetings with Austin.
San Jose's last victory by a margin of 4+ goals was vs. LA Galaxy (4-0) on Oct. 14, 2020.
The Quakes recorded their first multi-goal shutout victory since Sept. 29, in which the Quakes defeated LAFC 2-0 at PayPal Park.
Midfielder Chofis scored his team-leading 12th goal of the season, his first season in MLS. His 12 goals are the most by any first-year player in MLS. His goal also marked his second game-winning goal of the season.
Rookie forward Benji Kikanovic scored his third goal of the season.
Forward Jeremy Ebobisse tallied the assist on Kikanovic’s goal. It marked his first assist of the season and ninth of his MLS career.
Forward Chris Wondolowski scored his third goal of the season and 169th of his MLS career. Along with two postseason goals, he now has 171 combined regular season and playoff goals, surpassing Landon Donovan (170) for most all-time.
Midfielder Carlos Fierro scored his second goal of the season and fourth of his MLS career.
Midfielder Cristian Espinoza tallied the assist on Fierro’s goal. It marked his team-leading seventh assist of the season and 29th of his MLS career.
Tonight's shutout marks JT Marcinkowski's fifth shutout in 2021, and 10th of his MLS career. His five shutouts are a single-season career-high.
MLS Regular Season
San Jose Earthquakes 4 – 0 Austin FC
Oct. 20, 2021 – PayPal Park in San Jose, Calif.
Man of the Match: Benji Kikanovic
SJ (1-0) – Chofis (unassisted) 46’
SJ (2-0) – Benji Kikanovic (Jeremy Ebobisse) 53’
SJ (3-0) – Chris Wondolowski (unassisted) 59’
SJ (4-0) – Carlos Fierro (Cristian Espinoza) 85’
SJ – Nathan (caution) 25’
ATX – Jhohan Romaña (caution) 39’
ATX – Alex Ring (caution) 45+1’
SJ – Marcos Lopez (caution) 81’
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES: JT Marcinkowski; Marcos Lopez, Tanner Beason, Nathan, Tommy Thompson (Paul Marie 58); Eric Remedi, Jackson Yueill, Cristian Espinoza, Chofis (Cristian Espinoza 58); Andy Rios (Chris Wondolowski 58), Benji Kikanovic (Carlos Fierro 65), Jeremy Ebobisse (Cade Cowell 65).
Substitutes not used: Oswaldo Alanis, Tanner Beason, Judson, Shea Salinas, Daniel Vega.
SHOTS: 20; SHOTS ON GOAL: 9; FOULS: 14; CORNER KICKS: 10; SAVES: 4
AUSTIN FC: Brad Stuver; Jhohan Romaña, Julio Cascante, Zan Kolmanic, Nick Lima; Tomas Pochettino, Alex Ring, Sebastian Driussi (Dani Pereira 70); Cecilio Dominguez (Rodney Reyes 46), Diego Fagundez (Kekuta Manneh 80), Moussa Djitte (McKinze Gaines 46).
Substitutes not used: Sebastian Berhalter, Jon Gallagher, Hector Jimenez, Aedan Stanley, Andrew Tarbell.
SHOTS: 15; SHOTS ON GOAL: 5; FOULS: 12; CORNER KICKS: 8; SAVES: 5
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES HEAD COACH MATIAS ALMEYDA
On his impressions of the match and shutout victory:
“I think we played a great game. The strategy went well because we won the match by creating many opportunities to get shots on goal. When the team plays well, everyone plays well, even the guys who came off the bench. I think if we were able to maintain this consistency, intensity and style, surely our outlook would be different. It makes me happy for the young players. They showed they go for more even in a complicated present. I asked them to play for honor and they did that.”
On Benji Kikanovic’s impact as a winger:
“I decided for him to play on the left side. Benji, Cade Cowell, Cristian Espinoza, Carlos Fierro can all play in different positions. That is what we are looking for and try to transmit to them. I have been saying for a while that when the young players have 30 matches played for San Jose, they will be more complete. Among four to five players, younger guys such as Tanner Beason, Jackson Yueill, Benji need these minutes to improve, make mistakes and grow physically and mentally.”
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES FORWARD CHRIS WONDOLOWSKI
On scoring his 169th MLS goal:
“To be honest, it was a bit of a combo, both relief and joy. Joy to get that win, especially a breakout win in front of our home fans. It’s been a strong point for us to be better at home and to pick up points and it’s exciting to be able to get more points at home for it to be a fortress. That’s something that we try to work on and keep trying to continue to improve. To have this breakout game at home was very satisfying, very nice. For myself, I grab joy from that and for myself it’s a bit of a relief. It’s been a while since I’ve seen it hit the back of the net, so to do that was special as well.”
On the team’s confidence heading into the remaining few games after tonight’s win:
“I think it’s something that was needed. I think it was great for the morale in the locker room. It was nice to have one of those tangible wins where everything went well. We worked on set pieces, and we were able to get a set piece goal. We worked on our diagonals and crosses, and we were able to get a goal like that. It was nice to have everything kind of click so I think that it’s very beneficial for us as we close on these last four games and try to make the best run as we can.”
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES GOALKEEPER JT MARCINKOWSKI
On Tanner Beason’s impact in the defense:
“Tanner has done really well. He’s a gamer. I think he’s someone who leaves it all on the line. I think you can see that in his save and the countless number of blocks he makes throughout a match. I think the entire team played really well tonight because of the way we pressed in the first and second half. It was really effective. Our backline was really sharp and compact, and communicated really well with each other. Nathan, Marcos Lopez, Tommy Thompson and Paul Marie played well. I think Eric Remedi had six or seven key tackles in the middle, same with Jackson Yueill. It was overall a team effort and we were fortunate to get the clean sheet.”
On the team’s communication in the locker room:
“Before the game, I think there was a really good vibe in the locker room. Matias Almeyda has always told us to play with love, passion and honor. I think that’s what we showed tonight. We played for each other, with each other as a team. At halftime, we tried to continue what we were doing in the first half. We created some good chances, and we knew if we kept a high intensity, goals would come in the second half. I think it was crucial getting a few early and putting ourselves on the front foot. I think that’s something we haven’t done well this year, putting teams away when we can. We let a lot of teams back into the game when they shouldn’t have been there. It was nice to finally get one where we scored goals when we needed to. After the match, it was a good vibe, but we're ready for Saturday. It’s a quick turnaround. There’s only a short amount of time before the next game. All eyes are on Vancouver.”