SAN JOSE, Calif. -- The Panamanian pair of Alberto Quintero and Anibal Godoy were no match for the Houston Dynamo on Wednesday night as the international teammates accounted for all three goals in the San Jose Earthquakes dominating 3-1 victory over the MLS Western Conference cellar-dwellers.
Chris Wondolowski added two assists on the night -- Quintero had one as well -- as a Ricardo Clark goal-of-the-week candidate was easily overcome by the home side. A late red card to Dynamo 'keeper Tyler Deric did not help the visitors, as the Quakes win moved them into fourth place in the West.
Injuries have wrecked havoc on the Quakes of late, and head coach Dominic Kinnear was forced to trot out his 11th starting line-up in 11 regular season games. With Quincy Amarikwa and Innocent injured, and Chad Barrett relegated back to the bench after starting last weekend in a 2-0 loss to the Seattle Sounders, the Earthquakes formation lacked a traditional target forward. Instead, Simon Dawkins and Wondolowski shared responsibilities along the front line.
The lack of a target forward didn't limit the Quakes early, however, as Dawkins provided all the play-making the team needed in taking an early 1-0 lead. After expertly collecting the ball in the middle of the Houston defense, the Jamaican Copa America call-up delivered a perfect pass to Wondolowski streaking down the right wing. His cross through the six-yard box was hooked home by a sliding Quintero, just out of the grasp of Dynamo goalkeeper Tyler Deric. For the Panamanian, it was his second goal for San Jose; it was Wondo's first assist of the 2016 MLS season.
Two shots, one each from Shaun Francis and Matias Perez Garcia, from tight angles came close to doubling the Quakes lead, but neither was on target. The moves were indicative of San Jose's early control of the match.
It appeared that the Quakes would be able to see out the half, but then Ricardo Clark happened. In the 43rd minute, after a fine effort to punch away Agus's shot inside the area, David Bingham was helpless as Clark hammered home a long distance blurred orb from 25 yards out. A perfect connection by the former U.S. international breathed life back into a flagging Houston offense, the equalizer stunned the Avaya Stadium crowd into silence.
So the teams returned for the second half all square, with the Earthquakes kicking off toward the San Jose Ultras end of the stadium. Perez Garcia and Quintero switched sides of the field -- it was suggested that Kinnear wanted to yell instructions to MPG for another 45 minutes -- but the rest of the Quakes line-up stayed the same.
And much like the start of the first half, San Jose dominated play for the opening minutes of the second stanza, with Quintero providing the service this time out, feeding fellow countryman Godoy on a perfect give-and-go in the 50th minute. It was the central midfielder's first goal of the 2016 season.
A fed-up Houston head coach Owen Coyle rolled the dice in the 58th minute, bringing in three substitutes at the same time, notably Mexico international Erick "Cubo" Torres on Mexican Heritage Night. The boost in energy was apparent right off the bat, and the Dynamo nearly leveled on the 60th minute from a corner kick. The Quakes countered with their own bundle of energy, as Shea Salinas spelled Perez Garcia in the 64th minute.
And then lightning struck twice at Avaya Stadium, as Wondolowski again found Quintero for San Jose's third goal of the game. Receiving the ball near the penalty spot, Wondo spied the Panamanian to his right and threaded a perfect ball into his path with only Deric to beat. Easy-peasy for the diminutive winger, and Quintero celebrated his first MLS brace, and the Earthquakes' first since Wondolowski and Cordell Cato scored twice in a 5-0 win at Sporting Kansas City last August. For Wondo, it marked only the second two-assist performance of his career.
For the Dynamo, it only went from bad to worse, as Deric was forced to trip up Dawkins in the open field after an ill-advised clearance. Having used all three of their subs, Houston defender Jalil Anibaba donned the green keeper jersey and comfortably saved Dawkins' free kick.
All that was left for the Quakes to do was run out the clock on another comfortable victory at Avaya Stadium, their fifth in six attempts so far this season, as the defeated Dynamo presented very little challenge to close out the game.