SAN JOSE, Calif. – The San Jose Earthquakes have officially punched their ticket to the Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs with a 3-2 win over Minnesota United FC on Sunday afternoon at Avaya Stadium. The Quakes’ single-elimination Knockout Round match will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 25 against Vancouver Whitecaps FC at BC Place. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. and the match will be broadcast on UniMas, NBC Sports California, KNBR 680 and 1370 KZSF.
Earthquakes forward Danny Hoesen gave the Quakes an early lead, slipping the ball through Minnesota United’s goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth’s legs in the 14th minute. Minnesota would equalize before the half with a long-range strike, but the Quakes retook the lead 10 minutes into the second frame when forward Chris Wondolowski found the back of the net in the 55th minute. Wondolowski, the Quakes’ 2017 MVP, is now tied with Jeff Cunningham for the second most goals in MLS history (134).
With less than 10 minutes left on the clock, Minnesota United equalized to push the score to 2-2. Coming on as a late substitute, forward Marco Ureña scored the game-winner on his first touch of the match three minutes into stoppage time, sending the sellout crowd into a frenzy.
The Quakes finished the regular season in sixth place in the Western Conference with a 13-14-7 record, earning the team’s first berth in the postseason since 2012.
MLS Regular Season
San Jose Earthquakes 3 – 2 Minnesota United FC
Oct. 22, 2017 – Avaya Stadium in San Jose, Calif.
Scoring Summary: SJ – Danny Hoesen (Florian Jungwirth) 15; MIN – Jerome Thiesson (unassisted) 36; SJ – Chris Wondolowski (Danny Hoesen) 55; MIN – Francisco Calvo (Johan Venegas) 81; SJ – Marco Ureña (Chris Wondolowski) 90+3.
Misconduct Summary: MIN – Ibson (caution) 23; MIN – Colleen Warner (caution) 40; SJ – Anibal Godoy (caution) 68; MIN – Abu Danladi (caution) 76; SJ – Victor Bernardez (caution) 85.
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES: Andrew Tarbell; Shea Salinas, Florian Jungwirth, Victor Bernardez, Kofi Sarkodie (Marco Ureña 88); Anibal Godoy, Darwin Ceren; Jahmir Hyka (Tommy Thompson 62), Chris Wondolowski, Vako; Danny Hoesen (Quincy Amarikwa 80).
SHOTS: 22, SHOTS ON GOAL: 7; SAVES: 1; FOULS: 13; CORNER KICKS: 5, OFFSIDES: 6.
MINNESOTA UNITED FC: Bobby Shuttleworth; Michael Boxall, Francisco Calvo, Jerome Thiesson, Jermaine Taylor (Marc Burch 73); Sam Nicholson (Johan Venegas 67), Ibson, Collen Warner, Ethan Finley; Christian Ramirez; Kevin Molino (Abu Danladi 67).
SHOTS: 6; SHOTS ON GOAL: 3; SAVES: 4; FOULS: 16; CORNER KICKS: 3; OFFSIDES: 0.
EARTHQUAKES HEAD COACH CHRIS LEITCH
On his feelings at the final whistle:
“Yeah, there wasn't any emotion left that was stored inside. Everything kind of came out, I think with everyone. You saw that in the fans, as well. You saw that in these players. Pretty darn good celebration and pretty good feelings in the locker room right now with what was accomplished here tonight."
On forward Danny Hoesen's contributions to helping the team reach the playoffs:
“Yeah, I think Danny's done a really good job, but especially playing as the number 9, or as the target forward, to take his chances really well. Danny's a player that if he's given opportunities, he can bury them. He's a really good shot and really clinical around goal. So yeah, that's one of the keys, but I'd also say, look what happened with Marco [Ureña] coming off of the bench. I think the biggest key is just the competition for spots, knowing that we've got some guys that maybe don't start, but are starters in this league. What that does for the guys that do get called into the starting lineup, it lets them know that they've got to perform, that their place isn't too far off of the next guy."
On how the team will approach the playoffs:
“I think you approach it the same way we've been approaching these games, especially the last two, three weeks where each one of these games has been the kind of pressure that we felt tonight as far kind of having big implications in a playoff-type atmosphere because we've been in this situation where we needed results, we needed to win for the last two, three weeks. We've got to continue that mindset, and not only that, but we have to continue to have that confidence grow that we can deal with that kind of pressure and those kinds of expectations in a positive way knowing that those expectations and that pressure aren't going to decrease a little bit. I think it's good that we've been exposed to that a little bit. It's not good, but it's been positive that we've dealt with those things in a really positive way and look forward to building on that as we head into the playoffs against a really good Vancouver team."
EARTHQUAKES DEFENDER FLORIAN JUNGWIRTH
On his thoughts following Minnesota's equalizer in the 82nd minute:
“I didn't see it, but I think it was so lucky. I think I tried to save it. I think I touched it, hit off the crossbar. Very unlucky, but especially after the second lead, we played really better. When we scored the 1-0, we sat a bit too deep, but after the second goal, we controlled the game and I was sure we would win and we conceded a goal like this, that was awful for us. But how we came back was insane and I think that game today describes the whole season perfectly.”
On what changed in the team over the past month:
“I guess sometimes you need just good results and obviously the game against Portland we changed because three days before we lost really tough against Chicago here at home and then we played a really good game against Portland. We had a lot of meetings the days after and we knew what we had to do, especially in Vancouver, we did it so well again. And obviously, in that week if we have two good games in a row, our confidence is going up. Today, we knew every time that we can score, we believed until the end, so nice that we finished like that. Makes us very proud."
On the game-winning goal:
“Good save by the goalie and I think you have to say something about Wondo. In that situation, to pass the ball again, I've never seen that in my life. That was amazing. He was so calm, passed to Marco [Ureña]. Usually a guy tries to hit, which is also okay, but with his whole experience, he passed to Marco who scored a goal and the rest is history."
EARTHQUAKES FORWARD CHRIS WONDOLOWSKI
Overall thoughts on the game:
“This game was an epitome of the season for us in the sense where we’d had some ultimate highs and some lows where your reeling and gut checked. It’s a look in a mirror and see what you are made of and our guys showed up. We had legitimately three or four times a season where we’ve had our backs against the wall, backed in the corner, haven’t been happy we’ve been in those situations but loved the response every time of our guys. We showed it and couldn’t be prouder of these guys.”
On making the playoffs compared to personal accolades:
“Playoff appearances especially myself have been few and scarce for me, they exceed all records and accolades I’ve been able to obtain because that’s what you play for, you play to win, you play for playoff and you play to win championships. It’s not how you get to the dance, it’s what you do at the dance. It’s a new season, doesn’t matter minus 21 goal differential, that means absolutely nothing when comes Thursday. That’s all we are looking forward to right now.”
EARTHQUAKES FORWARD DANNY HOESEN
On final minutes of the game:
“Obviously very frustrating and when they equalized. You have to keep on believing, keep hoping and Victor came for us as well, who got one or two long balls, maybe a false right for us. It fits our season, up and down and I think that’s what happened. Everyone deserves this, especially the players in difficult times, we stayed together. This is what this club needs.”
On scoring the opening goal of the game:
“Most of the time these are the hard ones because you have a lot of time to think. I’m feeling confident and I’m feeling good. When I was in that position, I knew I had the confidence to stay calm and take another step. I saw the goalie with his legs open, had to get there and it went in.”
EARTHQUAKES FORWARD MARCO UREÑA
On the goal:
“They told me to get in and my first touch was a goal. It was amazing for me and the guys. The guys really deserved it. This season was really up and down. Whole season we really played well, a little bit unlucky at times but today we really deserved to win.”
On keeping his composure during the final minutes of the game:
“For me it’s not a problem, I’m a really experienced guy. I’ve played a lot of important games in my life. These games like today are really what I like to play and be a part of. We have a lot of experienced guys in the locker room and we can enjoy today and tomorrow we are really focused for Vancouver because we know we don’t have the time. We just enjoy today and then tomorrow we go to training. We have to prepare ourselves for Vancouver.”