SANTA CLARA, Calif. — The Vancouver Whitecaps broke the all-time mark for the longest start to an MLS season without scoring a goal — until Chris Wondolowski & Co. got going.
Behind a brace from their star, the San Jose Earthquakes scored three unanswered goals to rally for a 3-1 victory over the previously unbeaten 'Caps at a sold-out Buck Shaw Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Wondolowski's goals came 10 minutes apart in the second half, bringing his count this season to six. Alan Gordon bagged the Quakes’ third, negating Sébastien Le Toux's 49th-minute opener.
Both teams' defenses were the story heading into this match, and the first half was a testament to that, with limited chances.
The closest either team came to scoring was in the 40th minute, when Whitecaps midfielder John Thorrington lured Earthquakes ‘keeper Jon Busch off his line and attempted a chip, but found the crossbar. Davide Chiumiento lined up the rebound, but his shot was blocked by San Jose defender Víctor Bernárdez before Busch pulled the ball down.
But the second half was another story. Four minutes after the break, Eric Hassli posted up inside the box played a pass back to fellow Frenchman Le Toux off a throw-in, and Le Toux went far post for the game's opening goal.
Shortly after the taking the lead, the ‘Caps broke the MLS record for most minutes to start a season without conceding a goal, overtaking New York's mark of 421 set in 2007. But it took San Jose five minutes to bring a quick end to that streak and kept pouring it on with a stunning offensive onslaught.
First, Wondolowski leveled in the 68th minute. The 2010 Golden Boot winner got behind the Vancouver defense, muscled off defender Jay DeMerit, then ran onto a throw in from left back Ramiro Corrales and chipped 'Caps goalkeeper Cannon to tally his fifth goal of the season.
Then, in the 72nd minute, Corrales dialed a cross into the box, and second-half sub Gordon answered with a diving header to give San Jose the 2-1 lead.
Wondolowski hammered the final nail into the coffin in the 78th minute. Tressor Moreno found the striker at the back post with a cross from a free kick, and Wondolowski simply put a boot on it to redirect it into the net.
With the win, San Jose improve to 4-1-0. They next travel to take on the red-hot New York Red Bulls on April 14.
Vancouver, meanwhile, drop to 2-1-2 after their first defeat, despite their clean-sheet record of 427 minutes to start a season. They get a bye next weekend and next host Sporting Kansas City on April 18.