When Dwayne De Rosario's second half stoppage time go-ahead goal was called back on a controversial offside call, it only added to the San Jose Earthquakes' frustrations in a 1-1 tie against Chivas USA at The Home Depot Center on Sunday.
In two matches against the struggling expansion side, the Earthquakes have been held to two draws, the first coming in a 3-3 home result on April 9.
"It's disappointing to draw twice with Chivas, especially with the way the games have gone," said Earthquakes coach Dominic Kinnear. "It was a good chance to open up some space but I can't fault the guys for effort or for creating chances. It's just that last little touch that we needed to be more deadly today."
Two minutes into second half injury time with the game seemingly destined for a draw, Alejandro Moreno took control of the ball deep in Chivas territory and sent a low cross just a few yards from the goalmouth. De Rosario got a foot on the ball and sent it past goalkeeper Brad Guzan but the play was ruled offside. Television replays, however, appeared to show that De Rosario was onside when the ball was played to him.
"I don't think it's fair to our guys to score in the 92nd minute and to have it called back because of a bad call," said Kinnear.
De Rosario was disappointed with the call but more disappointed with the result.
"I think we got robbed at the end, but having said that, there is no way we should have come out of here without three points," said the Canadian international. "It's very disappointing to draw against Chivas especially when we're up 1-0 and we have possession and we're outplaying them in the second half. If we would have converted more of our chances it could have easily been 4-1."
The Earthquakes were again plagued by an inability to convert on quality goal-scoring opportunities. Moreno's goal in the waning minutes of the first half was the team's first in three games.
"We created a lot of chances and that's important but obviously we'd like to finish more of those," said Moreno. "At times we put ourselves in great positions and then all of a sudden we couldn't put them away."
Hampered by a slew of injuries throughout the season, the Earthquakes have struggled to find any consistent offense. The absence of Brian Ching (hamstring strain) is particularly difficult on the offense because it robs them of a tall target man up top to team with the speedy Ronald Cerritos.
"I think there's added pressure on everyone with guys injured," said De Rosario, who assisted on the Earthquakes' lone goal in the 45th minute. "But when it comes down to chances, we have to finish them and when it comes to giving up goals, we have to stop giving up goals."
Moreno's goal was a glimpse at what the Earthquakes are still capable of despite the injuries. The goal came after the Earthquakes put heavy pressure on the Chivas midfield, forcing a turnover.
"We put pressure on them and created a turnover and Dwayne got the ball and I made a run in between their defenders and I was hoping that he would see that space and he did," said Moreno. "He played me a great ball and I really took my time, picked a good spot and put it away."
The Earthquakes inability to convert on their other scoring chances, however, came back to haunt them as they gave up the lead and had to settle for the tie.
"We can't keep tying," said De Rosario. "Tying helps keep us ahead of the teams lower than us but if we want to get up to where L.A. and Dallas are, we definitely need to start winning. With three home games coming up, it will be very important for us to get three points in each of those games so we can jump right back up."
Those three home matches - June 18 against Real Salt Lake, June 25 versus the Galaxy and June 29 against Colorado will be a critical test for the Earthquakes if they are to be serious Western Conference contenders.
Two draws against Chivas USA, however, doesn't put them any closer to those goals.
"It's difficult for us to take a point because we feel we did enough to win the game," said Moreno.
Danny Bueno is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.