In the first of three MLS preseason Desert Friendlies over the next week, the San Jose Earthquakes dropped a close match to the Houston Dynamo 3-2 at the Kino Sports Complex in Tucson, Arizona. Third-year forward Adam Jahn scored both goals for the Earthquakes. The Dynamo collected goals from Rob Lovejoy, Giles Barnes, and David Horst.
The game marked the debut of the team's newest Designated Player signing, forward Innocent Emeghara. The speedy Swiss striker stared the match for San Jose and was substituted off at halftime. The match was also the first meeting between new head coach Dominic Kinnear and his former club, the Dynamo. The Quakes will face Houston three times in the upcoming 2015 MLS regular season.
Houston got on the scoreboard first, as a giveaway in the center of the park allowed Barnes to spring Lovejoy behind the Earthquakes defense in the 13th minute. The second-year forward collected the through ball and calmly slotted a shot past goalkeeper David Bingham.
The Quakes battled back and almost tied the game in the 24th minute when Emeghara dribbled from the center line deep into Houston territory. The 25-year-old turned his defender and got off a shot on goal, but it was comfortably saved by goalkeeper Tyler Deric.
On the ascendancy, San Jose found the equalizer through Jahn in the 28th minute. A darting run from Shea Salinas down the left sideline gave the midfielder just enough room to pass the ball toward the near post and an awaiting Jahn. From a tight angle, the Stanford product redirected the cross into the net to make the score 1-1.
A foul just outside the Quakes area gave the Dynamo a dangerous free kick in the 40th minute. Barnes, after taking a touch from Will Bruin, buried his shot past Bingham to restore the Houston lead.
The score remained at 2-1 going into halftime, and the Earthquakes made a host of changes to the line-up, including one of the team's other three Designated Players, midfielder Matias Perez Garcia. Chris Wondolowski, the third of the DP trio, is still with the U.S. men's national team as it prepares for an international friendly this Sunday against Panama at the StubHub Center.
The new-look second half Quakes quickly fell behind 3-1 when Houston capitalized on a corner kick. Dynamo defender Horst was able to out leap his marker and send a power header past Bingham for goal number three.
But the Earthquakes claimed a goal back when Jahn netted his second of the morning. U.S. U-20 star Tommy Thompson expertly guided a pass through the Dynamo back line to free his sometimes 2014 Sacramento Republic FC teammate for the shot. Jahn delivered to cut the Houston lead to 3-2, but the Quakes hopes of securing a draw out of the match went unfulfilled.
The Earthquakes preseason record dropped to 2-1-0 with the loss to Houston. Kinnear's men will face the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday and the Portland Timbers on Tuesday in Tucson before returning to San Jose in midweek. Both of the remaining two Desert Friendly matches are expected to be live streamed online.
San Jose Earthquakes (2) vs. Houston Dynamo (3)
February 4, Kino Sports Complex, Tucson, Arizona
First half line-up: David Bingham, Pablo Pintos, Ty Harden, Trialist #1, Shaun Francis, JJ Koval, Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi, Cordell Cato, Shea Salinas, Innocent Emeghara, Adam Jahn.
Second half line-up: David Bingham, Marvell Wynne, Victor Bernardez, Trialist #2, Brandon Barklage, JJ Koval (Kris Tyrpak 67), Matias Perez Garcia, Tommy Thompson, Leandro Barrera, Mike Fucito, Adam Jahn (Chimdum Mez 67).