San Jose Earthquakes' Francisco Calvo shines in resilient comeback against Columbus Crew

A classic “Goonies never say die!” moment was needed for the San Jose Earthquakes to earn their first point of the 2022 MLS season on Saturday.

It was an electrifying 3-3 draw at home against the Columbus Crew, with Francisco Calvo playing the hero as he scored two clinical headers off set pieces in the second half – including one in the 96th minute.

“This is just not about Francisco Calvo. This is about the San Jose Earthquakes,” said the 29-year-old Costa Rican defender postgame. “I'm happy for the two goals for sure and to help the team tie the game, but I need to talk about the effort of the team. Being down 3-1 and tying the game is amazing.”

It was a particularly impressive result for the Quakes, who played with 10 men from the 33rd minute after Jamiro Monteiro was sent off for a studs-up challenge on Darlington Nagbe.

"It was tough because we were almost 70 minutes with a man down. And it's tough, in a high level it's tough to play with 10 [men],” said Calvo, who was happy to escape with a point despite playing at PayPal Park.

“When we play at home, we always want to win here, but we tied against a really good team,” he said. “Remember that they just scored four goals in their last game. I don't think they overplayed us either."

Calvo’s late equalizer and the eventual winner both came off set pieces, something San Jose head coach Matias Almeyda credited to the new players he has at his disposal. Former Minnesota United FC midfielder Ján Gregus assisted on both goals.

“Our new arrivals have good service and are dangerous in the air. Fortunately, today they were able to execute both plays,” said Almeyda. “We still have to keep working on our finishing.”

Almeyda was forced to make changes after Monteiro’s dismissal, including asking his players to mark man-to-man after going down 3-1. The move paid off and the coach praised the way his players responded to the situation.

“We got our reward for the effort. With 10 players, we had two or three chances based off our build-up play,” he said. “I'm really happy for the players and fans who came out today, and for us as well because we dedicate a lot of time studying the opponent and the club as well."

For Calvo, his team’s performance can be described with only one word: Resilience.

“That’s a really good word,” he said. “And everything starts with [Almeyda] and his coaching staff. I think the spirit that he transmits, the will, the anger, the idea of never giving up, it all starts with him.”