March 12, 2017

Earthquakes 2-0 in 2017 after thrilling comeback versus Vancouver

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The San Jose Earthquakes have kicked off the 2017 campaign much like they did the previous year, only things seem much different on the surface.

When Nicolas Mezquida tapped the ball passed Earthquakes goaltender David Bingham in the 17th minute for Vancouver’s second goal of the night Saturday, fans in attendance at Avaya Stadium were hushed and left to wonder, was last week a blur in the minds of the players? Was this to be what can be expected from the re-tooled and re-invented San Jose Earthquakes squad?

Perhaps that’s a question that will be answered another time, down 2-0 in the first half, the Quakes displayed a sort of resilience and grit those same fans in attendance haven’t seen for some time.

San Jose roared back from the 2-0 deficit, striking back with three unanswered goals to remain undefeated in the current MLS campaign with a 3-2 victory over Vancouver Whitecaps FC in front of a sellout crowd of 18,000.

The fabric of the contest took a drastic turn in the 23rd minute when Vancouver goaltender David Ousted received a red card after bringing Quakes captain Chris Wondolowski to the ground while he was on a clear path to goal.

“That was a bit of a wake-up call for us,” Quakes manager Dominic Kinnear said. “It gave everyone a lift. It made us alert and we managed to man up pretty well.”

Their pace had trailed Vancouver’s for much of the beginning of the contest, but when the visitors were reduced to a lineup of 10 men, San Jose were determined to change the makeup of the game and make their mark.

Wondolowski would ultimately open San Jose’s scoring in the 32nd minute. Panamanian Anibal Godoy, who scored the lone goal in the Quakes’ Week 1 victory, was out in full force, again. He wowed those who were watching and in attendance with yet another highlight reel goal, this time from 30 yards out.

The strike equaled Godoy’s second game-winning goal in as many games, and the aforementioned Kinnear couldn’t be more satisfied from what he’s seen from the 27-year-old to this point. And why wouldn’t he be, Saturday marked just the third occasion the Quakes have scored at least three goals in a single game since Kinnear’s arrival.

“We’ve tried to encourage him to be more of a presence on our team,” Kinnear said. “Whether it be scoring goals or making plays.”

Rookie defender Nick Lima, who signed with San Jose as a homegrown player, scored the game’s tying goal, his first in Major League Soccer. Lima and defense partner Florian Jungwirth were caught on the wrong side of multiple plays in the first half, but the 22-year-old was satisfied to see his team claw their way back to the surface.

“The way we came out to start the game was inexcusable. We can’t do that every game,” Lima said. “Going on the road next week, we knew we had to get the maximum six points here at home so we could look back on the season later and say, ‘We took care of business and did what we had to do to get in the playoffs.”

Lima and company buckled down for the second half, Quakes goaltender David Bingham didn’t face a single shot after the half time whistle sounded.

“Our defense is top quality,” Bingham said. “If you ask any locker room across the MLS I think they’d tell you we have one of the best defenses in the league. It was an uncharacteristic start but we buttoned it up and at the end of the day, we left with three points.”

This year has started much like the last for San Jose, who kicked off their 2016 campaign with the same 2-0 record. The Quakes first real test will arrive this week when San Jose faces off against Sporting KC on March 18.

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