The San Jose Earthquakes returned to MLS action last night against the Houston Dynamo after a couple of weeks off, and they didn’t miss a step. The Quakes now sit in sixth place in the Western Conference just above Minnesota FC for the final playoff spot.
Houston came into the game shorthanded, missing key players including their second and third leading scorers in Alberth Elis and Memo Rodriguez, and in the middle of a brutal week that started in Portland and ends on Saturday in New England. Probably, for this reason, manager Wilmer Cabrera decided to sit the teams leading scorer Mauro Manotas leaving the Dynamo severely short on offensive capability. The plan, it seemed, was for Houston to hang out on their half of the pitch and let the Earthquakes get frustrated trying to find gaps in an orange wall of players.
The plan worked for about 20-minutes before Quakes DP Vako took the easy way through a wall, he went over it. It all started with a corner from Cristian Espinoza that went directly to Magnus Eriksson who was positioned at the edge of the 18 while Vako made a run straight at Dynamo goalkeeper Joe Willis who did all he could to make himself as big as possible. No worries for Vako who flicked it over Willis’s head for his fourth goal in the Quakes last three matches including the U.S. Open Cup.
Vako made it five goals in the last three matches in two for the night in the 75th minute when he shot a rocket passed four Houston defenders and a helpless Willis who made a diving effort but probably never saw where the shot came from. Daniel Vega was only called into action once but did his job, and he now has four clean sheets on the season, tied for fourth in the league. The win also keeps the Quakes in the playoff race right at the seasons midway point. With news coming out that the Quakes will sign 24-year-old Mexican winger Carlos Fierro at the start of the summer transfer window it looks like the team is committed to improving the depth of the roster which already, somehow, looks deep enough to compete with most teams in MLS. It’s looking like this summer will be the most entertaining in San Jose since 2012.
Now that the midweek game is over their is only one thought going through San Jose: Beat LA.