The San Jose Earthquakes hosted Real Salt Lake in a veritable “six-pointer” Wednesday night, both teams eager for points to bolster their playoff hopes, and San Jose emerged victorious, with a 2-0 win at Earthquakes Stadium.
Chris Wondolowski scored a brace to power the Quakes on the night, as San Jose improved their playoff prospects, moving up to 7th place, two points above the playoff line, with two games left to play this season.
Matias Almeyda only made one change to his lineup, welcoming Marcos Lopez back at left back in place of Tommy Thompson.
The Quakes took the lead in the 16th minute. Wondolowski had a dummy out wide, then followed up on Cristian Espinoza’s shot that bounced off the post with a poacher’s finish to make it 1-0 for the home side.
The Quakes had a couple more close looks in the first half, and then Jackson Yueill and JT Marcinkowski made critical stops on RSL chances just before halftime. The teams went into the break with the Earthquakes leading 1-0 but with RSL knocking on the door.
Both teams battled in the second half, and the breakthrough came once again in the 74th minute through Wondolowski, as he finished off a record-tying assist from Shea Salinas, joining Ronald Cerritos for joint-most assists in Earthquakes history on the play.
It was a strong performance for San Jose. While the game was fairly even and San Jose didn’t dominate proceedings like they’ve done at times, they went toe-to-toe with their opponent all night and got the goals they needed to get the win. This is exactly the kind of performance they needed. The work isn’t done, but they’re getting closer to their minimum goal.
San Jose are scheduled to host LAFC on Sunday in the penultimate game of the season. It’s a big one, no doubt about it, and we’ll see if the Quakes can beat LA once more this season.
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