Behind a shining performance from 17-year-old forward Cade Cowell, the San Jose Earthquakes overcame some early jitters to defeat FC Dallas 3-1 in their 2021 season home-opener.

San Jose first got on the scoresheet in the 34th minute through center back Oswaldo Alanis, who narrowly beat FC Dallas goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer from the penalty spot. The opportunity arose through Video Review, when it was deemed that Tanner Tessmann blocked an Eric Remedi shot with an outstretched hand narrowly inside the 18-yard box.

Cowell sparked to life in the second half, setting up Cristian Espinoza’s 2-0 strike in the 49th minute. The homegrown attacker hit a defense-splitting through ball with the outside of his right foot, allowing the Argentine winger to beat Maurer with a scooped finish.

Cowell then scored himself, giving San Jose a 3-0 advantage in the 59th minute. The teenager bagged his second career MLS goal after some dribbling, a drop of the shoulder and a left-footed finish to the far corner.

FC Dallas didn't go away quietly, though, as their own homegrown forward, Ricardo Pepi, clawed one back in the 79th minute to give his team hope at 3-1. The 18-year-old followed up an Andres Ricaurte shot that San Jose goalkeeper JT Marcinkowski kept out with a strong hand, but Pepi cleaned up the rebound.

Earlier, both sides had opportunities to open the scoring. Maurer, who was replaced in the 61st minute by backup goalkeeper Phelipe Megiolaro after suffering an injury, stopped a San Jose penalty kick in the 19th minute. He guessed correctly on Espinoza’s effort, offering relief to winger Jader Obrian after he tripped up the Designated Player.

FC Dallas nearly took a 1-0 lead 15 seconds into the match, with forward Franco Jara forcing a turnover after pressing Marcinkowski. The Designated Player's intervention bounced to Obrian, only for Marcinkowski's kick save to prevent an opening blunder.

After entering as a substitute in the 72nd minute, MLS goals king Chris Wondolowski was shown a red card in the 89th minute via Video Review. He was originally shown a yellow card for a dangerous challenge on FC Dallas center back Jose Antonio Martinez, but the call got upgraded to a straight dismissal.

Goals

  • 34' – SJ – Oswaldo Alanis (PK) | WATCH
  • 49' – SJ – Cristian Espinoza | WATCH
  • 59' – SJ – Cade Cowell | WATCH
  • 79' – DAL – Ricardo Pepi | WATCH

Three Things

  • THE BIG PICTURE: It's never quite clear which version of Matias Almeyda's San Jose Earthquakes will show up, an unpredictable nature that produces highly entertaining matches. Yet in their first home game of 2021, they came good to recover from a tough Week 1 loss at Houston Dynamo FC. On the flipside, FC Dallas are still searching for a win with two matchdays in the books. Head coach Luchi Gonzalez's team played in a 3-4-3 formation that didn't quite pay off.
  • MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Lost in the shuffle of things, Carlos Fierro produced a stunning goal-line clearance in the first half. The attacker tracked back to rob FC Dallas of a surefire goal.
  • MAN OF THE MATCH: Cade Cowell enjoyed arguably his best San Jose match to date, including a stunning goal in the 59th minute. More renowned for his 1-on-1 ability, the center forward also showed some incredible vision on Cristian Espinoza's second-half tally. He signed as a 15-year-old ahead of the 2019 season and seems poised for a breakout year.

Next Up

  • SJ: Saturday, May 1 vs. D.C. United | 11:00 pm ET (MLS LIVE on ESPN+)
  • DAL: Saturday, May 1 vs. Portland Timbers | 8:00 pm ET (MLS LIVE on ESPN+)