SANTA CLARA, Calif. – The Colorado Rapids probably wish MLS commissioner Don Garber hadn’t looked so favorably on the appeal of San Jose Earthquakes midfielder Marvin Chavez.
Chavez drilled a knuckling free kick from 30 yards out in the 78th minute to beat Colorado goalkeeper Clint Irwin as the Quakes pulled out a 1-1 tie with the Rapids on Saturday. The Honduran international was only available because Garber upheld an appeal of Chavez’s two-game suspension Wednesday.
Colorado played a man down from the 90th minute after defender Shane O’Neill brought Chris Wondolowski down just outside the penalty area, but San Jose couldn’t find a game-winning goal despite the presence of four forwards – Wondolowski, Alan Gordon, Adam Jahn and Steven Lenhart – on the field.
Nathan Sturgis put Colorado ahead in the 26th minute by neatly turning home a Martin Rivero corner kick at the near post. The shot squirted between San Jose midfielder Rafael Baca, who was manning the post, and goalkeeper Jon Busch.
San Jose (3-4-6) extended their unbeaten streak at Buck Shaw Stadium to seven straight matches, although that might be cold comfort as the Quakes play six of their next seven on the road.
The Rapids (4-4-4), who dropped all three matches against the Quakes last season, improved to four games without a loss to keep pace in the middle of the Western Conference pack.
Atiba Harris almost doubled the Rapids’ lead in first-half injury time when he fielded a long free kick in the Earthquakes’ penalty area, spun free of defender Justin Morrow and clanged a shot off the near post.
Colorado would be denied by the woodwork again in the latter stages, as Sturgis’ header from an 84th-minute corner bounced off the crossbar. Four minutes later, Busch came off his line to deflect Deshorn Brown’s breakaway attempt.
Quakes midfielder Walter Martinez seemed destined to find his first MLS goal in the 49th minute, ripping a half-volley from 27 yards, but Irwin climbed the ladder to push it over the crossbar, one of several spectacular saves from the youngster.
San Jose begin their road odyssey next Saturday at Western Conference leaders FC Dallas, while the Rapids return home to host struggling Chivas USA.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Nathan Sturgis||The goal makes him a solid choice, but he was a huge reason SJ had to give up building through central midfield. And once the Quakes went Route 1, Sturgis did serious work in the air.|
|2||Marvin Chavez||Dangerous every time he got on the ball - and now the Quakes really have to figure out how to get him on the ball more, and to make sure he misses as little time as possible.|
|3||Clint Irwin||Week after week after week he pulls out absolutely remarkable saves, controls his box and keeps the Rapids in every game. Beat soundly on the Chavez goal, but that just proves Irwin is mortal.|