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Dawkins goal gives Earthquakes a tie with Toronto, 1-1

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Simon Dawkins

Simon Dawkins scored his second for the San Jose Earthquakes in their 1-1 draw with Toronto. Photo: Joe Nuxoll, centerlinesoccer.com

Center Line Soccer's complete coverage of San Jose's 1-1 draw with Toronto FC includes a photo gallery and the Aftershocks post-game podcast featuring interviews with players and coaches from both sides.

(Santa Clara) Sometimes a team looks at a tie game as a well earned point, but the San Jose Earthquakes 1-1 draw with Toronto Saturday night was more like two points lost by the boys in black and blue. Simon Dawkins answered Alan Gordon’s goal in the first half, but despite several good chances the Earthquakes couldn’t find the decisive goal, and had to settle for a tie.

“Frustrating night,” San Jose coach Frank Yallop said, “but (I saw) good signs in the play. We’re unbeaten in three (matches) which is always good, but we’re obviously trying to win games.”

Earthquakes goalkeeper Jon Busch shared his coach’s frustration, if not his positive spin on the situation. “The bottom line is accountability, to finish your chances,” Busch said. “Plain and simple. I’m not going to sugar coat it anymore: We’re creating too many quality chances to score one goal. Somebody needs to step up and bury the ball. We’re creating chances. We’re playing great soccer, but at the end of the day, we got a point tonight, and we got a point last weekend. We didn’t get any points against Salt Lake. And we out shot all three of those teams. That’s the facts of the game. We’re leaving points on the table that we rightfully should have.”

The Earthquakes have not only yet to win at home this season, they have yet to hold a lead in their first three matches at Buck Shaw Stadium, managing two draws and one loss.

“Three games in a row, I don’t think you call us unlucky anymore,” Busch said. “Somebody’s got to step up and bury chances.”

Coach Yallop found room in his starting eleven for both of last Saturday’s goal scorers, staying  with a 4-1-4-1 formation with Khari Stephenson and Simon Dawkins lining up in midfield. Ike Opara also got his first start of the season on the back line, as Jason Hernandez moved to right back and Chris Leitch moved to the bench. Up front, Ryan Johnson, Bobby Convey and Chris Wondolowski rotated spots, with Wondo playing up top while Johnson started on the left wing and Convey on the right.

San Jose out shot Toronto 11-3 in the first half, but went into intermission tied 1-1.

San Jose gifted Toronto the game’s first goal. Just before the half hour mark. Alen Stevanovic, with room on the left wing, played it along the end line for Danleigh Borman. Borman’s centering pass deflected off a defender, and it looked like an easy catch for goalkeeper Jon Busch. Instead, Sam Cronin cut in front of Busch and played an ill-advised and poorly taken header, which fell to Toronto’s Alan Gordon for an easy tap in.

“It was just one of those plays,” Busch said. “A deflected cross that I called for, and Sam didn’t hear me early enough, and when he does, he tries to pull out but unfortunately he flicks it over me and right to Alan. It’s just one of those things that happen occasionally. At the end of the night we kept battling, we got our goal back, and we should have got a bunch more.”

The Earthquakes found the equalizer eleven minutes later. Off a throw in, Simon Dawkins attacked the Toronto defense from the left wing, working a nice give and go with Chris Wondolowski before slotting home his second goal in as many games, rolling a 15 yarder inside the far post.

Four minutes before half time, San Jose almost struck again. A Bobby Convey free kick curled nicely in front of goal, with Wondolowski racing to get on the end of it. But Wondo didn’t get much on his shot that trickled wide left.

The half-time break didn’t slow San Jose’s momentum, and the Earthquakes had a golden opportunity to take the lead in the 51st minute. A Bobby Convey pass found Khari Stephenson near the top of the arc, and Stephenson laid it off nicely to Wondolowski charging in from the right side. 1-on-1 against goalkeeper Stefan Frei, Wondo hit a 15 yarder that forced Frei to get down to make a quality save. Wondo chased down the rebound for another shot, but hit defender Ty Harden with his second effort.

“I think the one chance for Wondo, usually he scores, and that changes the game,” Yallop said.

Just before the hour mark, the Earthquakes looked dangerous when Brandon McDonald rolled a nicely weighted pass for Ryan Johnson. Stephan Frei came out to challenge Johnson near the top of the penalty area, and while Johnson touched it around the goalkeeper, he couldn’t keep his feet and Toronto was able to clear the ball away.

Toronto had a decent chance of their own on a counter attack in the 73rd minute. On the break out, Javier Martina came flying down the right side, but his 15 yarder sailed wide right.

San Jose continued to press forward, and brought on Matt Luzunaris for his first MLS action with ten minutes left on the clock. But aside from a Ryan Johnson header that sailed high at the end of regulation time, they didn’t do much in the game’s dying moments.

With the draw, both San Jose and Toronto stand at 1-1-2.

“We can’t be disappointed in our defensive effort,” Jon Busch said. “I thought the whole team played well defensively. We were just unfortunate on the goal. All we can do is keep working.”

“I’m going to stay positive with it,” Yallop said. “If we (continue to) play like that, we’ll beat teams.”

San Jose now travels to New Jersey to play the Red Bulls next Saturday, while Toronto host the LA Galaxy on Wednesday.

• • •

San Jose Earthquakes (1-1-2) at Toronto FC (1-1-2)
April 9, 2011 – Buck Shaw Stadium
Attendance: 8,928

Scoring Summary: TFC – Alan Gordon (unassisted) 27; SJ – Simon Dawkins (Chris Wondolowski) 38.

Misconduct Summary: TFC – Tony Tchani (caution) 35; SJ – Sam Cronin (caution) 36; TFC – Nana Attakora (caution) 41; SJ – Ike Opara (caution) 55; TFC – Julian de Guzman (caution) 79; SJ – Ramiro Corrales (caution) 84; SJ – Chris Wondolowski (caution) 87; TFC – Jacob Peterson (caution) 93+.

San Jose Earthquakes – Jon Busch, Jason Hernandez, Ike Opara, Brandon McDonald, Ramiro Corrales (Joey Gjertsen 85), Bobby Convey, Sam Cronin, Simon Dawkins, Khari Stephenson (Matt Luzunaris 80), Ryan Johnson, Chris Wondolowski.

Statistics: Shots: 16; Shots on Goal: 7; Saves: 2; Fouls: 12; Offsides: 3; Corners: 2.

Toronto FC – Stefan Frei, Ty Harden, Nana Attakora (Julian de Guzman 46), Adrian Cann, Danleigh Borman, Tony Tchani, Jacob Peterson, Alen Stevanovic (Gianluca Zavarise 63), Maicon Santos (Joao Plata 65), Alan Gordon, Javier Martina.

Statistics: Shots: 9; Shots on Goal: 4; Saves: 5; Fouls: 16; Offsides: 2; Corners: 4.