SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Jose Correa made certain his first MLS start won’t be easily forgotten.
Sam Garza and Alan Gordon made sure Correa and Chivas USA didn’t get away with another three points at the San Jose Earthquakes’ expense.
Gordon rose up inside of Chivas’ six-yard box in the 89th minute to head home a perfectly placed cross off the left wing from rookie midfielder Sam Garza.
The goal kept San Jose from losing at home to Chivas for a fourth time in five games at Buck Shaw Stadium, and moved the Quakes (7-2-2) into sole possession of second place in the Western Conference.
Correa, the 19-year-old Colombian forward signed by Chivas USA last month, was inserted into Robin Fraser’s starting lineup and paid immediate dividends, delivering his first MLS goal in the fourth minute. Correa finished deftly from seven yards, curling James Riley’s pass from deep on the right side past Quakes goalkeeper Jon Busch and just inside the far post.
Chivas (3-6-1) withstood relentless pressure from San Jose thereafter, trying to make that score stand up for the game-winner – an outcome that would have improved their record on the road this year to 4-1-0. As it was, the Rojiblancos snapped a three-game losing streak with the tie.
San Jose finished with 62.5 percent of possession on the day, and had six shots on goal – with 24 attempts overall – to Chivas' one and five, respectively.
Chivas struck early on a play that started with Riley racing up from his right back spot to create a turnover at midfield. Riley continued his run down the sideline and was rewarded with a headed pass from Miller Bolanos. Riley then fed the ball to Correa, who held off Jason Hernandez and slid his bouncing shot in at the far post.
From there, it was up to Kennedy and his back four – Riley, Heath Pearce, John Valencia and Ante Jazic – to try to keep San Jose and Golden Boot leader Chris Wondolowski off the scoreboard.
The quintet was up to the task for 84 minutes, although there were plenty of scary moments. Some of the more notable among them:
- Riley deflected Wondolowski’s back-post header with a desperately outstretched foot in the 18th minute.
- Steven Lenhart sent an unmarked header wide of the near post from a 23rd-minute corner kick.
- Kennedy dove to his left to push aside Simon Dawkins’ 15-yard attempt in the 28th minute.
- Lenhart launched a powerful 55th-minute header off a Rafael Baca cross, but Kennedy parried it and scooped up the rebound.
- Valencia sacrificed his face for the cause, taking a Dawkins blast from 20 yards out in the 63rd minute.
- Kennedy once again stoned Lenhart in the 73rd minute, and Dawkins was just wide with a shot off the ensuing wild scramble in Chivas’s penalty box.
- Ryan Smith almost provided Chivas with the insurance goal they needed in the 81st minute, but his shot curled just high of the crossbar.
That became more relevant when the Quakes found Garza, a 60th-minute substitute for Baca, roaming free on the left wing. He delivered a near-post cross that Gordon met with authority, just beating Kennedy to the ball.
San Jose, who rebounded from just their second loss of the season, will host Columbus on Saturday. That same day, Chivas will host LA Galaxy at the Home Depot Center in the Superclásico.
Geoff Lepper covers the Earthquakes for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at email@example.com.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Heath Pearce||An excellent outing at the back for Pearce, who helped keep a lid on Wondo & Co. for nearly the entire game, taking care of everything that came his way.|
|2||Sam Garza||Look for this kid to be getting more minutes soon. Jolted the Quakes' listless attack to life with his pace and technique, swung in a beautiful cross to assist the equalizer.|
|3||Dan Kennedy||Steady as ever between the sticks, made a number of key saves to keep Quakes from equalizing earlier, little he could do on the goal.|