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San Jose Earthquakes rescue point at Colorado Rapids with late Atiba Harris goal

MPG's moment of brilliance -- "He can do things other players can't" -- set up Harris for the game tying goal in second half stoppage time.

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Both teams entered the game burdened with nine-game winless streaks. And after playing to a 1-1 draw, both teams left the pitch carrying 10-game winless streaks.

The San Jose Earthquakes tallied a stoppage time goal by Atiba Harris to earn a share of the spoils against the Colorado Rapids in front of 15,634 at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce, CO.

"We're trying to push for a playoff spot," said Harris after the game. "Not getting maximum points is always disappointing. That's how the game goes sometimes. We've just got to keep our heads up."

The Quakes and Rapids played to a third straight this season -- the first two were scoreless affairs -- as the extent of each sides summer slide has left them well out of the playoff hunt in the Western Conference. San Jose has collected only six points during its 10-game languish, and looks set to miss the postseason for the second straight season.

"We've had too many mistakes," said a frustrated Chris Wondolowski. "We've done this too many times to ourselves. We end up shooting ourselves in the foot and dig ourselves in a hole we can't get out of. It's happened all year and it's still not good enough."

One bright spot for the Earthquakes was Matias Perez Garcia, the team's summer signing Designated Player, who last made a start on August 16. Looking fully recovered from knee surgery to repair a meniscus injury, Perez Garcia provided the assist on Harris' game tying goal with a clever flick into space at the top of the box.

"It was a fantastic job by Matías to set me up on that one," said Harris. "He's a special player and can do things other players can't."

Following a spirited first half performance, the Quakes were stunned in the 84th minute when Gabriel Torres redirected a Chris Klute crossing pass at the near post to score the first goal of the season series between the two MLS original clubs. Goalkeeper Jon Busch made a stab at the ball, but it was bulging the back of the net before he could sufficiently react.

But the Quakes did not capitulate, and after coming close a pair of times before the game entered stoppage time, the visitors finally found a goal. A long ball from Victor Bernardez was expertly trapped by Perez Garcia, and with defenders collapsing on him 18 yards from goal, the Argentine slipped the ball into space for Harris. The former Rapids forward stroked the ball into the goal for his fourth of the season, rescuing a point for San Jose. Harris will get the reward, but the goal was very much due to the superb play of MPG.

"I think it's clear to see he's a quality player," said head coach Mark Watson. "He makes us better when he's on the field. I thought he had a lot of good moments. We weren't sure how many minutes he was going to play, but he felt strong until he cramped up late in injury time. It was nice to have him back. He's a very, very good player."

The Earthquakes return to Buck Shaw Stadium this Saturday to face sixth place Portland Timbers FC.


MLS Regular Season

San Jose Earthquakes (6-12-11, 29 pts.) 1:1 Colorado Rapids (8-14-8, 32 pts.)

September 27, 2014 - Dick's Sporting Goods Park

Attendance: 15,634

Scoring Summary: COL - Gabriel Torres (Chris Klute) 84, SJ - Atiba Harris (Matias Perez Garcia) 90+4.

Misconduct Summary: COL - Shane O'Neill (caution) 11; SJ - Pablo Pintos (caution) 22; COL - Marvell Wynne (caution) 74; SJ - Atiba Harris (caution) 90+1.

San Jose Earthquakes: Jon Busch, Pablo Pintos, Victor Bernardez, Jason Hernandez, Shaun Francis, Cordell Cato, Sam Cronin, Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi (Atiba Harris 70), Shea Salinas (Tommy Thompson 79), Matias Perez Garcia, Chris Wondolowski.


Colorado Rapids: Joe Nasco, Chris Klute, Marvell Wynne, Shane O'Neill, Marc Burch, Dillon Serna, Nick LaBrocca, Jose Mari, Dillon Powers (Vicente Sanchez 64), Deshorn Brown, Gabriel Torres.