The San Jose Earthquakes rarely lose at home but perhaps tonight they deserved to in a drab 2-2 draw against the Philadelphia Union. Despite an inconsistent performance against the Eastern Conference strugglers, Chris Wondolowski’s last-gasp penalty saved a point for the Quakes in quintessential Avaya Stadium fashion.
The goal takes Wondolowski to double-digits for the eighth season in a row, an unprecedented feat in Major League Soccer. On this occasion, however, he would have been in a lurch without strike partner Vako Qazaishvili, who was a bright spot in an otherwise poor Quakes performance.
Vako wasted no time announcing himself to the Avaya Stadium faithful, netting within three minutes of his first league start at home. The attacking midfielder received the ball on the edge of the area, beat three men in a tight space, then drilled a low effort into the far corner. The Quakes have been laboring for all the goals they can get but Vako made it look easy.
Things began to go downhill for the Quakes when Florian Jungwirth was forced off with a shoulder injury in the seventeenth minute, to be replaced by Fatai Alashe in the back line. Fafa Picault fired over in the moments before the substitution could be made but the Quakes weathered Philly’s brief spell of pressure.
Vako shot wide on the half-hour mark, only for the home side’s hard work to be undone by a moment of sloppy defending shortly thereafter. The ball set up for Jack Elliot after a poorly cleared corner resulted in ping-pong in the box and the defender emphatically slammed it into the roof of the net.
The Quakes went right back the other way, however, as Vako was set up for a good strike from Wondolowski’s back-heel flick, which McCarthy parried. The Georgian continued to probe into the second half, firing a stinging effort towards the top corner in the forty-ninth minute, only for McCarthy to parry.
Although the Quakes had pinned Philly back, Jim Curtin’s men snatched a shock equalizer when Alberg volleyed into the bottom corner from the edge of the area. Vako was first to collect the ball and wait at the center circle to restart.
It took until stoppage time but the Quakes somehow pulled out the draw as Shea Salinas won a penalty in stoppage time. Wondo converted, of course.