The San Jose Earthquakes snatched a crucial away victory against Minnesota United on Saturday night, halting their six-match winless streak. A win is a win, a mantra fundamental to Dominic Kinnear’s coaching style, but his side’s waning form adds even more weight to their first road victory since August.
Florian Jungwirth’s second-half strike made the difference in a tight match, sealing a deserved result for the visitors.
Said coach Dominic Kinnear: “We’re playing well, we just haven’t been scoring goals. Playing from behind always is tough, three games on the road is tough for any team in this league. I thought we played well. I thought we deserved to win. I thought even in the second half, we were controlling the tempo of the game and creating some good chances. A bit of a scrappy goal, sometimes that’s what you need. Really happy for the guys.”
The Quakes made multiple changes to their starting eleven but maintained Kinnear’s traditional empty-bucket 4-4-2. Victor Bernardez reclaiming his starting spot over Fatai Alashe alongside Jungwirth at the back and Danny Hoesen dropped into a wide midfield role opposite of Jahmir Hyka, perhaps their most offensively oriented lineup of the season.
Cordell Cato also replaced Nick Lima at right-back, and his propensity to push forward down the wing gave the Quakes more width and offered Hyka license to roam in the middle. Cato rattled the woodwork with a gorgeous twenty-five-yard curler in the thirteenth minute, but the Quakes were otherwise limited to hopeful efforts from distance given Minnesota’s rigid defensive shape. Danny Hoesen tested Bobby Shuttleworth with multiple long-range strikes and Anibal Godoy also shot over.
Christian Ramirez came close in the forty-first minute, firing at Cato after the ball pinged through the box, but Minnesota were disappointingly blunt up top.
The Quakes’ pressure intensified in the second half, with Chris Wondolowski heading on target from Hyka’s cross in the fifty-second minute. The opener came shortly thereafter from another crossing situation as Wondo squared Hyka’s far-post corner back across goal for Jungwirth to bundle home.
Wondo came close from another header in the fifty-eighth minute and Ureña was also denied on the breakaway moments later.
Kofi Sarkodie cleared a corner off the line and Francisco Calvo headed onto the crossbar as Minnesota pushed forward for a last-gasp equalizer, but the Quakes held on to end a tough three-match road trip on a positive note.