Toronto FC closed out their second MLS season by having their four-game unbeaten streak snapped, as two second-half goals lifted the San Jose Earthquakes to a 2-0 win Saturday night before a sellout crowd at Buck Shaw Stadium.
Though they failed to make the playoffs, Toronto's 9-13-8 record, good for 35 points, was a 10-point improvement from their inaugural year in the league. Ryan Cochrane and Shea Salinas scored for expansion San Jose, who finished their maiden MLS season with an 8-13-9 mark and 33 points.
With Marvell Wynne out with a concussion suffered in the last match against Chicago, coach John Carver shuffled his starting XI a bit, bringing Johann Smith into midfield and moving Hunter Freeman to the backline.
In the opening 10 minutes, Amado Guevara and Chad Barrett teamed up on a pair of Toronto attacks, only to be stopped by San Jose goalkeeper Joe Cannon. In the sixth minute, a Guevara long ball out of the back sent Chad Barrett down the left wing, but his shot from 20 yards was no problem for the Earthquakes 'keeper.
In the 10th minute, Guevara stole the ball deep in his own end and pushed forward before finding Barrett with room to run on the right wing. But again, his shot was saved by Joe Cannon.
Toronto goalkeeper Greg Sutton faced some tougher tests in the opening period, but he was also up to the challenge. In the 13th minute, Sutton pushed Ramiro Corrales' 25-yard effort over the crossbar.
In the 19th minute, Darren Huckerby broke in from the left wing and fed Ned Grabavoy at the top of the box, but Sutton punched away his 20-yard blast.
On the ensuing corner kick, Huckerby's chip to a soaring Ryan Johnson was headed over the crossbar from close range.
One minute later, it was Sutton again to the rescue, diving into traffic to push away another Huckerby cross.
In the 29th minute, Eric Denton found Ryan Johnson open at the top of the box, but Sutton was able to deny his left-footed shot.
To start the second half, Toronto looked to breathe some life into their offense, bringing on Carlos Ruiz to replace Danny Dichio up top, and trading Smiths in midfield, subbing in Jarrod Smith for Johann Smith.
But it was San Jose that got on the scoreboard in the 49th minute. Ronnie O'Brien chipped a corner kick into a crowd 10 yards from goal, and Ryan Cochrane rose above the others to head it past Sutton.
Toronto almost found an equalizer in the 54th minute when Jim Brennan was left alone near the top of the box, but his shot from 20 yards rolled inches wide of the right post.
San Jose had most of the possession the rest of the way, and narrowly missed doubling their lead on several occasions. In the 56th minute, Ryan Johnson broke in from the right side for an open shot, but his stab at goal missed wide left.
In the 57th minute, Sutton was tested again, this time by a Ronnie O'Brien bullet from 20 yards, but he was able to make the save.
Then in the 61st minute, Arturo Alvarez beat Sutton to a loose ball in front of goal, but his turning shot from six yards hit the crossbar.
In the 70th minute, Sutton had to get down to block a Shea Salinas blast from the left wing, and seven minutes later, Sutton had to parry away another O'Brien shot from 15 yards out.
Abdus Ibrahim came on for Carlos Ruiz in the 81st minute, and the Guatemalan international showed his frustration by tipping over a large tub of Gatorade on his way to the bench. His teammates were equally frustrated, as they were unable to mount much of an attack on the San Jose goal.
Instead, it was Sutton having to come up big again in goal, smothering another Arturo Alvarez effort as he dribbled in on goal from the right wing.
Then, in the final minute, Kevin Harmse took down Shea Salinas inside the box, and referee Michael Kennedy immediately pointed to the penalty spot. Salinas buried the penalty kick in the upper right hand corner to finish off San Jose's 2-0 win.
Pete Ratajczak is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.