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Hard to handle: San Jose Earthquakes 2, Minnesota United 5

Quakes drop first game of the season as Loons work them.

MLS: Minnesota United FC at San Jose Earthquakes Chris Brown-USA TODAY Sports

The San Jose Earthquakes set out to notch their first win of the 2020 season, but instead suffered their first loss of the campaign, as Minnesota United pasted them by a 5-2 scoreline, with defender Ike Opara leading the way with a brace for the winning side.

Somewhat surprisingly, Matias Almeyda opted for the same Quakes starting XI as last week, with no room for Judson and Danny Hoesen again starting in the attacking line, with Chris Wondolowski on the bench.

Opara put Minnesota ahead in the 13th minute with a bullet header off Jan Gregus’ corner kick, with Daniel Vega a bit in no-man’s land on the play.

A few minutes later, Chase Gasper brought down Tommy Thompson just inside Minnesota’s box, and after referee Baldomero Toledo initially waived off a foul at all, VAR recommended a check, and Toledo changed course to call a PK. Magnus Eriksson tied the game in the 19th minute from the spot.

But Gregus put the visitors ahead again in the 26th minute, as Luis Amarilla sent a quick pass over to the midfielder and he buried it in on the near post side, with Daniel Vega honestly looking like he could have done better on the shot.

In first-half stoppage time, Guram Kashia pulled down Opara on a corner kick, and Toledo called a penalty for Minnesota. Amarilla’s attempt was blocked by Vega, but Robin Lod scored on the follow-up to make it 4-1.

Matias Almeyda made two changes at halftime, bringing in Shea Salinas for Nick Lima at left back and Cade Cowell (his debut in MLS) for Danny Hoesen.

The Quakes got a lifeline in the 53rd minute, as Vako scored his first goal of the season, his shot in the box deflecting off a Minnesota defender on its way into the net to make it 4-2.

But that joy did not spark a full-fledged comeback, as Opara scored his second goal of the night int he 71st with another header off another Gregus corner kick, putting the game well out of San Jose’s reach on the night.

All in all, it was a tough night for the Quakes, no doubt about it. They conceded two goals off corners, a third off a diagonal cross from the run of play, another right off a saved penalty, and the fifth a blast from distance. Even though Eriksson and Vako tallied their first goals of the season, and more often than not the home team scoring two goals should lead to a result of some sort, woeful defending and subpar goalkeeping from Vega bit San Jose, hard, and this loss is a tough one to swallow.

The Quakes are back at it next Saturday for their first road game of the season, against the Philadelphia Union.

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