SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- A sun-baked crowd filled the lower bowl at Levi's Stadium on Sunday to watch the San Jose Earthquakes earn a 1-1 draw against 10-man Orlando City SC.
A straight red card to Lions midfielder Brek Shea in the 51st minute put the Quakes in the driver's seat, but it was Orlando City that took the lead when Kaka scored via a penalty kick in the 64th minute. San Jose striker Chris Wondolowski equalized from the spot four minutes later, the 100th goal of his MLS career, but the Earthquakes could not find a winner over the last 20 minutes of the match.
With the draw, the Quakes run their unbeaten streak to five games and move another point up the Western Conference table, tied for fourth with Sporting Kansas City. San Jose next plays at Toronto FC to close out a run of three straight games against the Eastern Conference foes.
Head coach Dominic Kinnear employed the same starting eleven against Orlando that he did against Columbus a week earlier -- the first time this season he has made use of the same line-up in consecutive matches. However, the cohesiveness seen by the squad against the Crew was nowhere to be found early in Sunday's game.
Little of consequence occurred for either side in the first half, as neither team developed any rhythm on the ball. Possession was squarely in Orlando's favor in that span, 56.5% to 43.5%, but San Jose's defense cut out every opportunity the Lions had in the attacking third. On offense, the Quakes relied on Shea Salinas to make marauding runs on the left wing, and he accounted for the only two shots that seemed to trouble goalkeeper Tally Hall.
The tepid appetizer that was the first half did little to whet the appetite of the 36,224 in attendance at Levi's Stadium, but then a sampler of a tasty main course was delivered when Brek Shea was shown a straight red card in the 51st minute for a studs-up tackle on Sanna Nyassi. For the second straight week, the Earthquakes would get to play with a man advantage.
The ejection of Shea brought life to the proceedings, as the Quakes poured forward with numbers, looking to break the deadlock. Instead, it was Orlando City that scored first when goalkeeper David Bingham was called for a penalty after crashing into forward Cyle Larin on a loose ball in the box. Kaka calmly stepped up to the spot and slammed home the game's opening goal in the 64th minute.
The Earthquakes did not hang their heads, and three minutes later earned a penalty kick of their own when Jordan Stewart was bundled over in the area by midfielder Darwin Ceren. None other than Wondolowski stepped up to take the penalty kick, and the Earthquakes MVP directed the ball past Hall for the equalizer and the 100th goal of his MLS career.
San Jose didn't look through, and in the 72nd minute had Matias Perez Garcia open in the box for a shot attempt. However, his curling effort, destined to tuck inside the far post, was parried away by Hall, and Stewart skied the follow-up deep into the endzone seats.
Orlando City piled their entire squad behind the ball for the last 20 minutes of the match, and every effort by the Quakes to find a game winning goal went wanting. Substitute Khari Stephenson, who entered for Fatai Alashe, and Cordell Cato, who replaced Nyassi, brought new life to the Earthquakes attack, but it was the Lions that remained resolute and took a share of the spoils on the afternoon.
The Earthquakes will play at Toronto next Saturday at the newly renovated BMO Field before returning to the Bay Area for a showdown with Western Conference leaders FC Dallas on June 6 at Avaya Stadium.