SAN JOSE, Calif. — The San Jose Earthquakes toppled the best team in MLS at sold-out Avaya Stadium Saturday night as Sanna Nyassi scored the lone goal in a comprehensive 1-0 victory.
Nyassi's first goal as an Earthquake was a just reward for San Jose (3-3-0) as the team parlayed a strong second half to their third victory of the season. In addition, the shutout marked the first clean sheet of 2015 for goalkeeper David Bingham, giving the 18,000 in attendance at Avaya Stadium something to celebrate.
The one game suspension handed down to Innocent required head coach Dominic Kinnear to make a change in his midfield, bringing in Shea Salinas on the left. The Quakes also welcomed back Marvell Wynne into the starting eleven, as the U.S. international resumed his place at right back after sitting out last weekend's 1-0 loss to Real Salt Lake.
A strong move from Matias Perez Garcia in the 9th minute to create space on the left side almost paid dividends when his pinpoint cross into the area found Adam Jahn. The forward expertly collected the pass and slotted it past David Ousted, but the assistant referee correctly had her flag raised up for offside.
The Quakes and Whitecaps played a game of shared possession in the midfield for much of the rest of the first half as neither Ousted or Bingham was required to make a save.
The minutes after intermission were all San Jose, as first Salinas and second Chris Wondolowski came close to breaking the deadlock. Keeping their passes simple in the midfield allowed the Quakes more sustained possession, and judicious pressure moving forward led to a series of corner kick opportunities.
In the 64th minute, Wondolowski pulled up lame, and after emphatically punching the ground, was substituted out in favor of JJ Koval. The Earthquakes captain retreated to the bench where trainers attended to his lower right leg.
A short corner in the 69th minute freed Salinas to whip a ball through the area, where it barely eluded the head of Jahn. Clarence Goodson stabbed at the ball near the far post, but his effort was not enough to trouble Ousted.
The Earthquakes persistence paid off in the 75th minute with a barrage of shots that finally resulted in a goal. A clever pass behind the defense from Perez Garcia freed Cordell Cato near the endline, and the overlapping defender rifled a shot that was deflected at the top of the six yard box. Salinas stepped to the loose ball and fired low to the left, but a sliding desperation move prevented it from making it to Ousted. The rebound provided Nyassi with an open look, and the Quakes winger rocketed the ball into the back of the net for a 1-0 lead.
A rough tackle in the 86th minute by Pedro Morales on Jahn resulted in both players retaliating against each other, and referee Edvin Jurisevic showed both men the red card.
The Western Conference foes played four minutes of stoppage time, without either side registering a solid scoring opportunity. The final whistle sounded, and with AC/DC pouring forth from the speakers, the Avaya Stadium ribbon board proclaimed in brilliant blue: "Quakes Win!"