The San Jose Earthquakes hyped up their home opener, the first to welcome fans in the stands in over a year, and it was a game worth the occasion, as the Earthquakes beat FC Dallas 3-1 at PayPal Park on Saturday.
The win was San Jose’s first of the season, and after a shaky opening few minutes of the game, seemed to play themselves into the game more and more, before taking control over the proceedings. The great thing about the result was that it was a full team effort to make the game what it was for the Earthquakes.
Matias Almeyda made one change to his XI for San Jose, starting Paul Marie at left back in place of the injured Marcos Lopez. Tommy Thompson, who suffered a shoulder injury early in the season opener, was fit and started the game at right back.
JT Marcinkowski had a nervy moment in the opening seconds, as Franco Jara nearly stole the ball from him in the 6-yard box, but Jader Obrian’s subsequent attempt for Dallas sailed wide.
The Quakes had a header saved off the goal line in the 8th minute, San Jose knocking on the door off a corner kick.
San Jose got some traction in the 18th minute, when Cristian Espinoza dribbled into the box and Obrian caught him with a trip, the referee showing for a penalty right away.
PEN!!!! pic.twitter.com/xS5n5Q5l58— San Jose Earthquakes (@SJEarthquakes) April 24, 2021
But Espinoza’s penalty was saved by FC Dallas goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer, keeping the Quakes off the board.
Just after the half-hour mark, an early ball from Cade Cowell led to a block from Tanner Tessman that was handled in the box. VAR stopped the game, and the referee gave a second penalty. On review, it was a clear call.
Oswaldo Alanís stepped up for the second spot kick of the game for the Quakes, and he buried it to make it 1-0 in the 34th minute.
.@os_alanis buries it! @SJEarthquakes strikes first. #SJvDAL pic.twitter.com/3IgSPSDhZw— Major League Soccer (@MLS) April 24, 2021
It looked like Dallas were on the board a few minutes later but a shot from Ryan Hollingshead was tipped by Marcinkowski and saved off the line by Carlos Fierro, what a play.
So crazy, you need to see it again. pic.twitter.com/bMx4UIq8bU— Major League Soccer (@MLS) April 24, 2021
The Quakes needed to pick up their intensity in the 2nd half, and they did just that, as Espinoza took a channel-splitting ball from Cowell and calmly chipped Maurer to make it 2-0 in the 49th minute.
The ball from @Cc4Official— Major League Soccer (@MLS) April 24, 2021
The chip from @CriisEspinoza7 pic.twitter.com/NOJOs3snr4
It got better, as Cowell got his first goal of the season just before the hour mark, taking a speculative feed from Fierro, deking two defenders in the box and hitting it pure to make it 3-0.
.@Cc4Official is only 17 years old! pic.twitter.com/DXQ6pjkSb0— Major League Soccer (@MLS) April 24, 2021
After the third goal, Maurer was forced out of the game with an injury, and was replaced by Phelipe.
Almeyda made three substitutes in the 72 minute, bringing on Chris Wondolowski, Shea Salinas and Andy Rios for Fierro, Thompson and Chofís Lopez, respectively.
Dallas pulled a goal back in the 79th minute, as Ricardo Pepi had a tap-in after Andres Ricaurte’s attempt was saved by Marcinkowski, but the rebound trickled over to the youngster.
Shortly after that, Judson made his season debut off the bench in the 81st minute for Marie. A few minutes later, Siad Haji made his first appearance of the season, replacing Cowell, who had a goal and an assist on the day.
Wondo was sent off in the 89th minute, as he got a straight red card after catching Jose Martinez deep in Dallas’ third with a rake on the ankle and Achilles. I think it was a complete accident, and Wondo immediately apologized, but he got his marching orders after the referee reviewed the play on VAR, presumably because it was a dangerous play.
It wasn’t a perfect Quakes performance, but they were absolutely the better team on the day and deserved the victory. I think after last week’s lackluster opening game of the season, they were able to find more control of the game this time around and gave the fortunate Earthquakes fans in attendance a good show.
San Jose are back in action next Saturday against the new-look D.C. United, who seem to want to play a lot like the Earthquakes this year. Will it end 6-5? Maybe! We’ll see.