Danny Hoesen netted a brace, scoring his 8th and 9th goals of the season while throwing his name into the race for the MLS Golden Boot and earning San Jose an important 2-2 tie against the New England Revolution Wednesday night.
The tie, however, extends the Earthquakes (2-4-9) winless streak to 6 games, along with only ten points this season.
Hoesen summed up the Quakes mindset after the game when he said:
“It’s tough, we are in a tough situation, the confidence is not there where we want it to be. I don’t believe its going to keep going like this the whole season, we must stick together and be positive.”
Head Coach Mikael Stahre made just two changes from the team that lost in heartbreaking fashion just three days ago to LAFC. Fullback Francois Affolter played in place of Kevin Partida, who picked up a red at the end of the match. And midfielder Tommy Thompson made his first start of the year, in place for Jackson Yueill.
“We came out well again, we scored the first goal, then from my perspective, we conceded two really easy goals. One from a transition from a set piece. We can’t concede goals like this. I think we were better than the opponents but its still just a tie but a step in the right direction.”
Hoesen opened up the scoring for the Quakes in the 18th minute after both teams squandered early chances and failed to land the first blow. Hoesen made a run with the ball deep into the New England box with fellow forward Chris Wondolowski open and begging for the pass to his left. The Dutch forward opted to apply the finish himself for the 1-0 lead.
Just seconds later, San Jose won the ball back, only to make another costly mistake deep in their half. New England attacker Diego Fagundez intercepted an errant pass and tried a cheeky chip over goalkeeper Andrew Tarbell. Tarbell ran off his line but stayed on his feet, and got a hand on the ball to stop a sure goal.
Fagundez would extract his revenge and net his 6th goal of the season in the 31st minute after Krisztian Nemeth won a free kick outside the Quakes box. The Uruguayan stepped up and stunned the crown when he buried an exquisite free into the left side of the net past a diving Tarbell to the game at 1-1.
New England had plenty of chances before San Jose took the lead, but wasted them, opting for an extra pass that led to a weak shot instead of taking chances quickly and powerfully.
Right before the half, San Jose earned a corner after a near-perfect pass from Wondolowski to Hoesen was sent out of play. Revolution keeper Matt Turner located and caught the ball before launching an outlet pass to his defender, unleashing a fast strike counter-attack. After two passes, winger Cristian Penilla went one-on-one with his defender in the box and rifled a shot to the top right corner to grab a 2-1 lead.
On what is wrong defensively, Wondolowski said:
“Mental mistakes, when we are organized it’s hard to break us down, but when we decide to make mental mistakes and not track runners, try to be too passive we get punished more.”
Defender Nick Lima said:
“You break down for a second on a counter and you give up a goal, it’s things like that we need to fix as a bunch. It’s those small things that have been our Achilles heel, we’ve lost games because of it, and today we tied.”
Part of the problem defensively is an apparent lack of chemistry due to the constant shuffling in the back line. Suspensions, injuries, and a World Cup have kept San Jose from a set of starters on defense. Lima would not let that be an excuse:
“Its difficult but its not an excuse, we go out there and train as a unit, we have experience under our belts in training. Each pairing should be used to each other to a certain level because of the training.”
There would need to be an answer in the second half. San Jose’s home form has been downright horrendous and they could not sit back and wait for the game down a goal. Their reply would come in the form of a goal early in the last half.
Hoesen clinched his all-important brace in the 51st minute with an in-traffic header from a perfect cross sent in by Lima, who found space and the ball after making his run down the right flank.
On the offense, Wondolowski said:
“I think we are starting to find our rhythm. We need to continue to try to get quality crosses, not crosses that hit our first guy and get cleared out. I thought the second goal Nick did a great job of picking out Danny and we need a little more of that.”
The next game for the Quakes isn’t until next Saturday June 23, when they visit Rio Tinto Stadium to face Real Salt Lake (7-1-7), who find themselves in the thick of a playoff race. San Jose really needs to gain momentum after the point gained Wednesday if they hope to catch Salt Lake, who sit tied for fifth in the Western Conference playoff race.