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San Jose Earthquakes draw blood late, tie Chivas USA at home

It was much like previous San Jose Earthquakes games in the 2012 season, but the finishing wasn’t there. That said, a late Alan Gordon goal earned the Quakes a point at Buck Shaw Stadium on Sunday evening against Chivas USA in a 1-1 draw.

“Despite all the possession in the second half, I didn’t think for a while that we were going to get that goal,” said Quakes head coach Frank Yallop after the match. “But I am very happy that we got a point out of the game. It shows that we always have fight in us and we aren’t going to quit. We didn’t play our game today, but it’s a good sign that we fought to get a point, especially in against a team from the Western Conference.”

“We showed some resiliency today,” the goal scorer, Gordon, agreed. “We are gaining something out of every match it seems. As long as we aren’t losing too many of these close games, you will see us improve each and every week. These are games at home in which you need to come away with points. We didn’t get the win, but to come back like that late and go home with a point can build momentum for us moving forward.”

Things didn’t start off well for the home town team. After just four minutes, the Los Angeles-based club found the back of the net when Jose Correa slipped one past Jon Busch. Correa received a cross from the right flank courtesy of James Riley and got a toe on it, finding the far post side netting for a 1-0 lead.

Center Line Soccer's complete coverage of the match includes a photo gallery by Joe Nuxoll

But once Chivas took the one-goal lead, the Earthquakes showed its mettle. For minutes five through 90, San Jose controlled the flow of play.

Simon Dawkins had the first real chance for the Earthquakes at Chivas USA keeper Dan Kennedy. Dawkins had the ball at the top of the box in the center of the pitch but he hit the ball wide of the target.

It was just the beginning of the pressure.

San Jose maintained possession of the ball for the duration of the first half, playing much of it in the final third, although none of the play resulted in a serious threat at the target. In the second half, the Quakes really pressed the issue.

In the 47th minute, the combo of Steven Beitashour and Chris Wondolowski hooked up and nearly pulled even. Beitashour, per usual, lofted a cross targeting Wondolowski. They connected, with Wondolowski winning the 50-50 ball, heading toward the net, but missed just high.

Two minutes later, a cross slipped out to Tressor Moreno at the top of the box. His shot, set up when Wondolowski poked the ball to him after a cross landed in the box, was drilled wide. Less than 10 minutes later, Steven Lenhart got into the action when he lined up a Rafael Baca cross and dove to head the ball toward the target.

Earthquakes rookie Sam Garza attempted to pull his club even in the 68th minute. But after Gordon settled the ball down into Garza’s wheelhouse with a chest trap, the rookie’s shot was pulled wide of the target. Less than five minutes later, San Jose scurried for the loose ball in the box, taking several whacks at goal. Lenhart had the best opportunity, taking a sliding shot at goal, but Kennedy was able to thwart that chance.

Ryan Smith of Chivas had the club’s best opportunity since its goal in the fourth minute with a shot from the right side of the box in the 81st minute. It sailed high over Busch’s net, however.

Two of Earthquakes coach Frank Yallop’s subs played a factor in the Earthquakes goal in the 88th minute. Garza got the ball down the left flank and sent a liner cross to the edge of the six yard box where Gordon buried a header past Kennedy for the equalizer. It was the Quakes fifth goal in the final 15 minutes of play in 2012 and proved to be the equalizer.

“It was a great ball by (Sam) Garza,” Gordon said. “He hit it so well that it made my finish that much easier. I ran near post and the ball seemed to find my head for the goal. Us forwards have been getting great service all year long and that’s a tribute to how talented of a roster we have. Despite the injuries, we still have playmakers all over the field.”

It was the first career point for Garza, who has shown well in limited minutes thus far in his rookie season, and he was clearly delighted to help earn a point for his team. “We were down to the final minute, and throughout the match it seemed like we were a play away from getting back into it. We needed a little spark and I’m happy coach had confidence to put me on when we needed to generate an attack. I was able to get by my man into open space, aimed near post and (Alan) Gordon finished it off. It was a clutch score and I’m glad I was a part of it. It was a great feeling.”

After 11 games played, the Quakes stand at 7-2-2, 23 points, just three points behind Real Salt Lake (8-3-2, 26 points) with a couple games in hand. Chivas USA (3-6-1, 10 points) remains one up from the bottom of the Western Conference. Next up for San Jose is a May 19 home match vs. Columbus. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m.

Chivas USA (3-6-1) at San Jose Earthquakes (7-2-2)
May 13, 2012 – Buck Shaw Stadium

Attendance: 9,619

Scoring Summary: CHV – Jose Correa (James Riley, Miller Bolanos) 4; SJ – Alan Gordon (Sam Garza) 89.

Misconduct Summary: CHV – Nick LaBrocca (caution) 36; SJ – Khari Stephenson (caution) 39; SJ – Ramiro Corrales (caution) 56; CHV – James Riley (caution) 74; SJ – Sam Garza (caution) 90+1.

San Jose Earthquakes – Jon Busch, Steven Beitashour, Jason Hernandez, Justin Morrow, Ramiro Corrales, Rafael Baca (Sam Garza 60), Khari Stephenson, Tressor Moreno (Alan Gordon 57), Simon Dawkins, Chris Wondolowski, Steven Lenhart (Sercan Guvenisik 75).

TOTAL SHOTS: 24; SHOTS ON GOAL: 6; SAVES: 0; FOULS: 11; OFFSIDES: 1; CORNER KICKS: 15.

Chivas USA – Dan Kennedy, James Riley, Heath Pearce, John Valencia, Ante Jazic, Nick LaBrocca, Miller Bolanos (Ryan Smith 68), Peter Vagenas (Blair Vagenas 75), Laurent Courtois (Michael Lahoud 46), Jose Correa, Alejandro Moreno.

TOTAL SHOTS: 5; SHOTS ON GOAL: 1; SAVES: 5; FOULS: 11; OFFSIDES: 1; CORNER KICKS: 1.