Even though it sounds so obvious, the Quakes desperately needed one thing tonight: to score first.
Over their previous seven MLS matches, San Jose has seen glimpses of beautiful soccer, terrific teamwork and out-and-out domination of both possession and play. But what has hampered the team most of all is the fact that they have been playing from behind. Instead of searching for a winner, they’ve been searching for a late equalizer.
On Saturday, the Quakes accomplished that goal (pun intended), by finding the back of the net 30 minutes into the match.
Spirits were high, the crowd was loud and confidence was soaring for a team that was in desperate need of three points. But right before halftime, midfielder and leader Anibal Godoy was shown a straight red in the 42nd minute for a studs-up tackle on Toronto FC midfielder Tsubasa Endoh. Toronto proceeded to score two minutes later when a pair of former Quakes, Steven Beitashour and Justin Morrow, connected in front of goal.
Somehow the second half started as bad as the first half ended. Less than 10 minutes into the second frame, the other half of the #Panamaniacs, Alberto Quintero, was also shown a straight red for a tackle on Endoh.
Could the Quakes really hold on to the draw despite playing two men down for nearly 40 minutes? Surely the prospects for a win were gone. After all, when was the last time the Quakes had won despite missing two players? Never.
But in the 70th minute, Simon Dawkins shocked the 18,000 fans in attendance at Avaya Stadium by sending a knuckling shot past keeper Alex Bono.
The Quakes held on for dear life over the final 20 minutes, plus four minutes of stoppage time, stopping wave after wave of Toronto attacks to claim the 2-1 victory. Substitutes Adam Jahn, Chad Barrett and Shea Salinas each played a vital part in keeping the win intact with late-game hustle and determination.
Let’s see what this win does for the team moving forward. San Jose returns to action on Friday, June 22 against Real Salt Lake. Watch and listen live on UniMas, 1590 KLIV and 1370 KZSF.