Amongst the presence of legendary former players and 20-year-old film from the archives, the Quakes salvaged a late 1-1 draw against DC United in the 20th anniversary of Major League Soccer’s inaugural matchup.
San Jose was unable to recreate the 1-0 the victory that the then-San Jose Clash and first MLS-goal scorer Eric Wynalda, produced against United back in 1996. But they did recreate some of the excitement in a game filled with chances, and a late equalizer reminiscent of Wynalda’s closing strike.
Down 1-0 in the game, in the 89th minute, the Quakes might have been praying for some of the original team’s magic. The prayers were answered as Adam Jahn, just recently recalled from loan to Sacramento Republic FC, slid onto a cross to perfectly angle an equalizing goal.
Coach Dom Kinnear said jokingly:
“[The message was] to score a goal. He listened tonight.”
“I didn’t have too much time to react. I just redirected the ball towards the goal.”
Jahn said the chance might have gone away had he spent the time to take a touch:
“I didn’t want to bring it down. If you hit it first time, the goalie’s not set and you can squeak it by him.”
The Earthquakes always looked the more dominant side, but before the goal hit the net, it seemed the Quakes were destined to miss every chance and fall on the wrong side of a 1-0 outcome.
The game’s first tally came off the head of seven-year former Chicago Fire winger Patrick Nyarko. Lamar Neagle created space on the left side of the box and put in curling cross right onto Nyarko’s awaiting forehead. Nyarko leapt in the air and finished clinically around the unsuspecting Bingham.
DC United coach Ben Olsen said:
“He’s probably been our best player and most consistent player. It’s good for him to get some reward with the goal.”
The goal came against the run of play as the Quakes had been controlling roughly 60 percent of the game’s possession at the time. By halftime, San Jose led the game in possession and shots, but trailed in the stat that mattered — the scoreline.
Kinnear said about trailing after the first half:
“I thought even at halftime, we were good for a couple goals and then we went one down. I wouldn’t say mind boggling but we were kind of shaking our head as to how that happened. But they took their chance well and we were letting them off the hook with our finishing.”
San Jose nearly scored on two occasions before that DC United strike. In the 16th minute, speedy Panamanian winger Alberto Quintero made a half-field run into the box where he was brought down from behind to no penalty call whistle.
Later on in the 25th minute, a splitting through ball opened up in form San Jose striker Quincy Amarikwa, who blasted a shot of the arms of DC keeper Travis Worra. The rebound came right back to Amarikwa but his volley attempt went high over the top right corner.
Amarikwa had another chance on goal later in the 36th minute. This time, off a redirected header, Amarikwa found the back of the net — but the game’s equalizer was whistled offside.
Four minutes into second half kick-off, Quintero created his second key chance of the match. He sprinted onto a ball he no business getting to, and after beating the defenders and creating a three-on-goalkeeper situation, he weakly crossed a ground ball into Worra’s arms.
Despite the miss, Quintero’s speed consistently stretched the back line of United, and looked their best weapon for most of the night.
The missed opportunity did however seem to momentarily kill San Jose’s momentum and ignite United’s.
In the 54th minute, United crossed a corner that the Quakes were fortunate not to concede. It curled passed the defensive line past three out-of-position DC attackers. Again in the 56th minute, DC created an opportunity with a 24-yard free kick attempt at the top of the box. Neagle coolly curled the ball to the top right which caromed off the crossbar and over.
Fan favorite, homegrown talent and USA youth international Tommy Thompson nearly sent the crowd into a frenzy in the 57th minute. The kid turned two defenders with a deft touch and his reaching, equalizer attempt was stopped by the keeper.
“We want to see Tommy get that goal. He works so hard and he puts himself in good positions. I know he wants it too.”
Thompson was making his first start of the young season, and was only recently recalled from loan after injury and suspension problems forced San Jose’s hand. Ordinarily the Quakes favored central midfield pairing would have been Simon Dawkins (suspended) and Anibal Godoy (injured on international duty).
Thompson attributed his versatility as a reason for the start:
“As a young guy, you want to be versatile. I think I’m prepared to be put anywhere. I put a lot of time in the gym and working on my crosses as well.”
Incumbent winger Shea Salinas came on for Quintero in the 71st minute, as Kinnear hoped fresh legs might ignite the Quakes dormant offense. Not to be outdone, DC brought on second year starlet, Miguel Aguilar, who attempted to near success a cheeky turn and flick move in the box, just moments after substituting.
Salinas stirred up some offense as per plan, putting in the game tying cross onto Adam Jahn’s foot.
With the draw, San Jose stays undefeated at home this season (2-1-0) and moves to 2-1-1 in total. They take the field again in Dallas next Saturday.