Short­handed Quakes win with a little help

SANTA CLARA — The San Jose Earthquakes have had trouble winning with 11 men all season. But Saturday night, they only needed 10.

Photos by Godofredo Vasquez/SFBay

The shorthanded San Jose Earthquakes beat FC Dallas 2-1 at a sold-out Buck Shaw Stadium Saturday night, led by gutsy defensive effort and a man of the match performance by goalkeeper Jon Busch.

Busch’s incredible goal line clearing save in the 57th minute came at a crucial time when the Quakes were scrambling to keep a 1-0 advantage.

After a first-half goal from Cordell Cato, San Jose was dealt a huge blow right before the half when Shea Salinas was issued a straight red card for a high, studs-up challenge.

Despite a Dallas onslaught in the second half that saw them attempt 17 shots, a courageous defensive effort and a Dallas own goal helped San Jose hold on for their second win of the season.

Coach Mark Watson praised his club’s fight after the match:

“The second half was just about sticking together, defending and seeing if we could see the game out. It was a long hard fought night and I’m really proud of our guys to see the effort and commitment under extreme pressure to get the points.”

A series of corners led to the Quakes first goal, though indirectly. A Jon Busch lob found the head of defender Clarence Goodson, who was in an attacking area after coming forward for two Salinas corners.

Goodson’s perfectly weighted header put Cordell Cato through, giving the winger a one-on-one with Dallas keeper Raul Fernandez that he easily put home in the 25th minute for a 1-0 Quakes lead.

While his defensive efforts will be remembered, Busch was surprised learning that he was credited with an assist on the goal:

“They gave me my assist?! (laughing)….Luck was on my side I guess tonight. We needed this one badly and I can’t be prouder of the boys. They just battled and fought through a lot of adversity. … They were tremendous.”

The Quakes somehow couldn’t capitalize on another Salinas corner later in the half, after Gordon’s initial effort was saved brilliantly by a diving Fernandez, only to bounce back to Gordon who was thwarted again by a goal line clearance.

Just when it looked like San Jose was finally getting their swagger back, Salinas saw red on a high challenge on Zach Lloyd. Salinas had been the player of the game up to that point, giving Lloyd fits down the left flank and putting in dangerous crosses that led to multiple goal scoring opportunities.

J.J. Koval replaced Alan Gordon in the 56th minute after the striker appeared to suffer a right leg injury. Gordon called it “minor” after the match.

The Dallas onslaught began shortly after, but two huge Jon Busch saves kept the Quakes alive.

In what will likely be save of the week, Busch found himself out of position after a Dallas strike ricocheted off the post, finding the feet of Blas Perez on the opposite side of goal.

It looked like the Panamanian had an empty net, but Busch dove across goal just barely saving the ball of the goal line, post and then into the air. Busch gave credit to his coach when asked about the reaction save:

“We gotta credit (goalkeeping coach Jason Batty). We do drills like that in training where you make a first save and you get up across your goal. That’s just a situation where I was fortunate enough. … I was able to make a play on the second one.”

Was the ball over the goal line? Busch answered directly:

“I don’t think it was over the line. I haven’t seen it yet, I mean it was tight but I don’t think it was over the line. We don’t have to call Toronto like in the NHL.”

Busch was forced to come up big again in the 61st minute, parrying a heat-seeking point-blank strike from Dallas striker Fabian Castillo, keeping the shorthanded Quakes in the drivers seat.

Recently recalled from Sacramento Republic FC, Michael Fucito made his first appearance for the Earthquakes this season, entering in the 60th minute for Kari Stephenson.

Busch’s efforts bore fruit in the 73rd minute, when an own goal by Dallas substitute David Texeira somehow put the Quakes up 2-0 against the run of play.

The jubilation was short-lived however, when a Michel free kick made the score 2-1 in the 76th minute. A foul right outside the penalty area led to a blast from the Brazilian into Busch’s left corner.

It seemed inevitable that FC Dallas would even the score in the second half, and a near miss by Matt Hedges in the 79th just outside Busch’s far post only intensified things. A similar chance in the 89th minute by Perez left the Quakes feeling fortunate to still be up.

Ty Harden came on for Cato in the 85th as San Jose attempted to park the bus and play a back five. Despite six minutes of added time, San Jose’s resilience prevailed giving the Quakes an unlikely and well-deserved three points.

San Jose (2-3-4, 10 pts.) will be without Salinas when they face MLS leaders Seattle Sounders (7-2-1, 22 pts.) at CenturyLink Field next Saturday.


Follow @SFBay and @DaDudeDatDoDat on Twitter and at SFBay.ca for full coverage of the San Jose Earthquakes.