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Over the line: San Jose Earthquakes 3, Vancouver Whitecaps 0

Quakes outlast 9-man Whitecaps in latest win.

MLS: Vancouver Whitecaps FC at San Jose Earthquakes Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The San Jose Earthquakes won their third game in a row Wednesday, with a 3-0 dispatching of the Vancouver Whitecaps at Earthquakes Stadium.

The teams played an even game in the first half, but San Jose’s growing rhythm and Vancouver wilting in the second half meant the result was pretty straightforward for the Earthquakes, who looked to have basically given up on the season a mere two weeks ago. Now, they’re officially above the playoff line in the Western Conference, so their season remains very much alive.

Matias Almeyda only made one change to his starting XI, with Tommy Thompson replacing Marcos Lopez at left back, the Peruvian out on international duty just as he was hitting his stride with his club. Nick Lima did not switch over but stayed at his natural right back position.

JT Marcinkowski was tested in the 25th minute, as Andy Rose’s attempt off a corner at the near post forced a stop from the San Jose goalkeeper.

Vancouver dominated the run of play in the first half, but San Jose got some looks, including a chip attempt from Cristian Espinoza that was ultimately offside, and a rare foray up into the box by Judson on a counterattack, but the Brazilian dragged his shot wide of the goal.

Marcinkowski made a block on Fredy Montero’s free kick to end the first half and the teams ended the first 45 scoreless, with San Jose holding nearly 60 percent possession but the teams even on total shots.

The Earthquakes broke the deadlock in the 50th minute, as Cristian Espinoza received a pass, pirouetted around two defenders, then hit the right shot to beat Evan Bush in Vancouver’s goal to make it 1-0 for the home side.

Things got better a few minutes later, as Rose picked up his second yellow card of the game for Vancouver and was ejected, giving the Quakes a man advantage for most of the second half.

San Jose doubled their lead in the 66th minute, with Andy Rios scoring in the second straight game, this one from the run of play as he poked home a centering pass in the box from Carlos Fierro.

Vancouver went down another man in the 75th minute, as Erik Godoy stepped on Jackson Yueill as the players fought for positioning, with some indication the players had been low-key scuffling for some time prior to the last straw and received a straight red card from the referee.

Paul Marie came off the bench, and scored his first career MLS goal in second-half stoppage time, a nice bonus for the player and the team.

Obviously the two red cards helped make things easier for the Quakes, but it was a professional win for them on the night. The first half was a battle, but San Jose maintain their intensity and it paid off in the second half. Getting goals from Espinoza and Rios is also helpful, as both players need to be firing if the Earthquakes are going to continue to succeed this season. It’s three wins and we know things can turn quickly in either direction this season, but there was a lot to like about the performance once again for the Quakes.

The Quakes will get an extra day off before they play their next game, Sunday against the Portland Timbers in Portland. Obviously the Timbers smashed San Jose the last time they played, but this game will be a good litmus test for the Quakes to see if they are back on track, well and truly. Should be a good one.

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