In what’s supposed to be a season of change, Saturday’s MLS opener was more of the same for Dominic Kinnear and the San Jose Earthquakes, losing to FC Dallas 1-0 on a stoppage time goal.
Dallas forward Blas Perez used his head to score the winner, redirecting a scuffed shot from teammate Moises Hernandez in the second minute of extra time.
Making his first start following the exit of stalwart Jon Busch, Earthquakes’ goalkeeper David Bingham made a costly error on the goal, botching an attempted punched clearance and leaving an open net behind him. Defender Victor Bernardez looked in position to clear the ball before Bingham arrived.
The Quakes are now winless in their last 16 competitive matches dating back to last season.
The gaffe ruined an otherwise solid debut for Bingham, despite some miscommunication with his defenders in the first half. The Earthquakes back line is going to have to get used to the aggressiveness of the 25-year-old, who comes off his line far more often than Busch used to. Bingham will need to do a better job picking his spots.
Making his debut for the Earthquakes, Paulo Renato (Trialist No. 1) saved a goal with a crucial last-ditch clearance in the 22nd minute. The move started with Dallas’ Fabian Castillo, who beat two San Jose defenders down the right side of the box and put in a low cross that fell to Perez. Perez fired a shot that beat Bingham, but deflected off the feet of Renato just inside the right post.
First half chances
The second-half goal was one of only two shots on target in the half, but the first 45 got off to an exciting start, with scoring chances for each team in the first 20 minutes.
After a wayward clearance from FC Dallas defender Matt Hedges in the 10th minute, Chris Wondolowski fired a shot destined for the inside of the far post, forcing a diving save from Dallas keeper Chris Seitz.
Ten minutes later, Dallas nearly scored after catching San Jose sleeping on a set piece right outside the box. Mauro Diaz passed the ball to an unmarked Perez, putting the Panamanian right one-on-one with Bingham. Perez could not take the chance, smashing the shot right at the young keeper.
Newcomers Marvell Wynne (RB), Sanna Nyassi (RM) and Paulo Renato (CB) all made their starting XI debuts Saturday. 2014 SuperDraft pick Fatai Alashe (CM) and recently-signed designated player Innocent Emeghara (ST) also debuted as second half substitutes. Emeghara is still recovering from a left shoulder sprain.
Men of the match
FC Dallas: Blas Perez (ST)
In addition his quick reaction on the game winning goal, Perez was effective using his size to hold up play for the Dallas attack. He also led the team with five shots.
San Jose: Paulo Renato (CB)
Renato impressed filling in for the injured Clarence Goodson. He made a goal-saving clearance in the first half and exercised good decision making, attacking the Dallas forwards first touch with great success.
The Earthquakes head to Seattle to finish off their two-game road trip against the Western Conference runners-up on Saturday, March 14. Seattle opens their season tomorrow, hosting MLS Cup runners-up New England Revolution.