SANTA CLARA, Calif. – The Goonies have a newly minted co-star. And he comes with a screen-ready nickname: Pillow Feet.
With a goal and a drawn penalty kick in the final 10 minutes Sunday night, Adam Jahn became the latest target man to spark a comeback victory for the San Jose Earthquakes, who made a living on the late goals of Alan Gordon and Steven Lenhart last year. And in the wake of the 2-1 win over the New York Red Bulls, Jahn received the ultimate endorsement from the injured pair of stars.
“Lenny and Gordo were saying, ‘The new Goonie’s here,” Quakes coach Frank Yallop said after Chris Wondolowski converted a game-winning PK in the 92nd minute.
Jahn still has to undergo the rigorous Goonie initiation under Gordon’s direction, but his work Sunday after coming on in the 66th minute should presumably spare him the worst of the hazing rituals.
“We’ve got to roughen up the kid a little bit, but he did really well tonight,” Gordon said. “I’m happy for him.”
So was Yallop, whose team had gotten away from its preferred style – which led to a franchise-record 72 goals last season – in the absence of Gordon and Lenhart. Despite a number of could-have-beens, San Jose are scoreless in 167 minutes this year with Wondolowski and Mike Fucito teamed as forwards.
“We’re set up to play, pretty much, with a target guy,” Yallop said. “I think that Mike does a great job of trying to do that, but obviously his stature and the way he plays the game is a little different to the way we’ve set up. We feed off crosses and different things like that. We’ve kind of gotten away from that, not having our big boys, but I think Adam now will have the confidence to be able to do that.”
It was all heady stuff for a guy who went unpicked in this year’s SuperDraft – the Quakes grabbed Jahn with the 15th overall pick in the Supplemental Draft – and didn’t even have a bio in the team’s game notes Sunday.
“No way,” Jahn said when asked if he gave any thought to the idea of joining the Goonies’ cast after watching them last season from nearby Stanford. “It’s unreal. I can’t really describe it. I’m in shock right now.”
First, Jahn put the “Pillow Feet” sobriquet – earned by virtue of his surprisingly soft touch with the ball despite a 6-foot-3 frame – on display in the 83rd minute with a sliding volley to cash in Sam Cronin’s whipped cross at a wide-open back post.
“Before I went in, our coaching staff told me, 'Just get in the box, fight for balls,'” Jahn said. “So I just went back into the thick of things. And I noticed a lot of people were making good runs near post, so I just peeled around to the back. Sam Cronin played a beautiful ball and I was just there to tap it in.”
Have you ever scored a goal quite like that?
“Not quite that awesome,” Jahn admitted. “That was pretty special.”
Jahn might have had a brace in his second regular-season match, delivering a thumping header on Sam Garza’s 89th-minute corner kick that New York defender Roy Miller blocked with a raised left arm.
That set up Wondolowski, who converted on a second PK attempt after Miller unfathomably rushed the penalty box on the first try, which had been saved by New York goalkeeper Luis Robles.
As a product of the Supplemental Draft himself, Wondolowski showed no surprise at Jahn’s impact.
“I love Supplemental Draft picks,” Wondolowski said. “Jason Hernandez, Supplemental Draft pick. ... Adam Jahn. We’re just full of Supplementals. Team Supplemental, we’ll take that. I love it.
“To be fair, Adam Jahn has had a great preseason. ... I couldn’t be happier for him. It was great to see him come in and add that spark.”
Geoff Lepper covers the Earthquakes for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.