ATLANTA – Four seasons. Sixty-four matches. Twenty-nine starts. Two thousand, six hundred and thirty-three minutes. No matter how you calculate it, it took a long time for San Jose Earthquakes midfielder Tommy Thompson to score his first MLS goal.
But it only took him two minutes to score against Atlanta United in the Quakes’ 4-2 loss on Tuesday at Bobby Dodd Stadium. San Jose pressed Atlanta’s Hector Villalba into a turnover, and Thompson slammed the ball home off a deflected pass.
“It feels great,” Thompson said. “I would have hoped to get my first one in a game that our team won, but to get the monkey off my back feels good and I’m looking forward to our next game.”
In his fourth MLS season despite being only 21 years old, Thompson is the Quakes’ first Homegrown Player. For comparison’s sake, it’s interesting to note his first goal came on the same night Quakes veteran Chris Wondolowski scored his 129th, and first against Atlanta. Wondo also tied Landon Donovan for the most away goals scored all-time in MLS with 63 and scored against his 22nd MLS team -- only Minnesota United FC remains (next chance? Decision Day).
Quakes manager Chris Leitch was happy for Thompson, despite the loss.
“[Tommy] took that goal really well,” Leitch said. “In the last couple of games, he had a couple shots that he didn’t keep on frame. This one he kept on frame and that’s what happens.”
Added Leitch: “He’s been close in his career, but for him to do it tonight, hopefully that breaks it open a little bit and he can go off and score a lot more. I know he’s capable of it for sure.”
Leitch also praised Thompson for the “unbelievable” work he puts in on the training ground, especially over the past two weeks.
“When you think the kid is done and he can’t go anymore, he keeps on going,” said Leitch.
Despite the loss, Thompson came away impressed by the resilience of his team, who played a man down for much of the match.
“To get the game-tying goal down a man shows what type of character this team has,” he said. “I think it’s a testament to the character of this squad. I think we have a really good group this year and we’ll bounce back from this.”