It's been a familiar story for the San Jose Earthquakes this season. A quick lead taken away in the closing minutes, or a late goal sending them down to defeat.
The difference is this time the roles were changed. It was San Jose battling back to grab a valuable point on the road in their first visit to Salt Lake as the teams played to a 2-2 draw Saturday night at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
"In the first half I think we came out and played some pretty good stuff," said San Jose head coach Dominic Kinnear. "I give credit to Brad (Davis) and Brian Mullan for putting in dangerous crosses, and our forwards don't sit still in the box. It can cause problems."
And cause problems they did. In the 11th minute a precise through-ball from Dwayne De Rosario put Davis in great position to whip in one of those dangerous crosses to a sprinting Brian Ching. He headed home his fourth of the season to put the visitors on top.
"Every time Brad gets the ball out on the wing I look to get on the end of the cross," said Ching. "He puts it in a good spot and I just try to beat my defender there. It's been a good combination. "
At the intermission it looked to be the same old story for San Jose as the home side battled back producing two Jason Kreis goals.
"I thought we were very unlucky to be down 2-1," said Kinnear. "We had a couple mistakes and they took advantage of them like good players and good teams do."
As time wore down in the second half Kinnear changed things up to jump-start the San Jose offense. In the 64th minute he brought on Alejandro Moreno to replace forward Ronald Cerritos.
"As you get late into the game if you lose by one goal or three it doesn't matter you still losing," Kinnear said. "You always have to try and press and get that goal, and lucky for us tonight it happened when we made the change."
Moreno disappointed the Salt Lake fans in attendance by diving home a Brian Mullan cross in the 82nd minute. Moreno was happy his team was able to fight back and get the tie on the road.
"I felt that we created a lot of chances in the first half and didn't capitalize on them," said Moreno. "In the end we were able to scrap a point. This is a difficult place to play. The crowd is very much into it, the field isn't the very best surface in the world, so we're happy to get out of here with a point."
Scott McAllister is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.