Shea Salinas came off the bench and scored the winner in the 98th minute, after the Quakes looked like they were cooked just before the hour mark in the match.
Almeyda picked the same starting XI for this second game of the MLS is Back Tournament, which made some sense I suppose with the team playing well together in the first game.
The Whitecaps opened the scoring in the 7th minute, with defender Ali Adnan dribbling in from the left flank and hitting a sharp angled shot to make it 1-0.
It got worse, as on a jailbreak from Yordy Reyna with miles of open space, Judson ended up conceding an own goal as a deflection bounced off him as he tried to get back to prevent the goal.
Most of the rest of the first half looked pretty dire for San Jose, as they shot at will but couldn’t find any purchase, and Vancouver continued to try and catch them on the counterattack. But Andy Rios gave the Earthquakes life in first-half stoppage time, with an audacious redirect on a corner kick to make it 2-1 at the break.
The first 15 minutes of the second half were even, but San Jose metaphorically shot themselves in the foot just before the hour mark, as goalkeeper Daniel Vega played a pass in his own box that was easily intercepted by Vancouver’s Inbeom Hwang, who then passed it to Cristian Dajome to easily score the goal into the open net.
It seemed like San Jose were buried after that, but credit to them, they didn’t give up. After Almeyda made a slew of substitutions, two of those subs, Danny Hoesen and Chris Wondolowski, linked up on a goal in the 72 minute, with a third sub, Carlos Fierro, whiffing on a shot but inadvertently helping usher it in the net, the goal being credited to Wondo. That made it 3-2 and gave the Quakes hope they could push for an equalizer.
And they did just that nine minutes later. Oswaldo Alanís scored a header off Magnus Eriksson’s corner kick to make it 3-3 and give them hope of even pushing for a winner.
And they got it, as San Jose pushed as hard as they could to find a winner and got it in the 98th minute, with Salinas dribbling through and scoring another dramatic winner in a career where he’s racked up quite a highlight reel of those.
It was certainly an uneven performance for the Quakes, but coming back to find a win is definitely better than a loss, and puts them in good shape to advance out of the group stage, albeit with one game yet to play.
But credit to Almeyda for making four substitutions at once, who helped turn the game completely, and credit to the club for not giving up when it looked like they were going to suffer a terrible loss on the night.
The Quakes are back in action Sunday, when they will play the Chicago Fire in their group-stage finale, just the Fire’s second game of the tournament. But Chicago beat the Seattle Sounders Tuesday, so they are likely to be a big test for the Earthquakes. Should be an interesting one.
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