The San Jose Earthquakes advanced to the semifinals of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup for the first time in club history with a dramatic victory in a penalty kick shootout against the A-League's Minnesota Thunder on Wednesday night at James S. Griffin Stadium in St. Paul.
The two teams finished the match tied at 2, Brian Ching and Landon Donovan scoring for the Earthquakes and Melvin Tarley and Dustin Branan for the Thunder. After a half-hour of scoreless extra time, the Earthquakes won the penalty kick shootout 5-4 as Todd Dunivant provided the winning penalty kick for San Jose. The Quakes will now face the Kansas City Wizards in the semifinals on Aug. 24 in Kansas City.
The Thunder took an early 1-0 lead, Tarley scoring in the fourth minute. Tarley hammered home a shot from the middle of the Quakes six-yard box after Jay Alberts beat his defender on the left side and sent a low cross into the goalmouth.
The Earthquakes tied the game in the 24th minute on another goal from Ching. After Ching was taken down at the top of the penalty box on the right side of the field, Jeff Agoos curled a free kick into the middle of the Thunder box. The ball bounced first before Ching volleyed a shot past Minnesota goalkeeper Joe Warren.
San Jose goalkeeper Jon Conway made several tough saves to keep the score tied. First, Alberts attempted to get Minnesota's second goal with a hard shot from the left. Conway was then tested in the 40th minute coming off his line to punch away a corner, later blocking a Tarley header over the goal.
San Jose started off the second half on the offensive with the addition of Dwayne De Rosario to the lineup in place of Agoos, before taking the lead on a Donovan goal in the 64th minute.
Ramiro Corrales crossed a ball from the right side to Ching near midfield. Ching one-timed a pass to a streaking Donovan, who broke in alone against Warren. Warren made the initial save on Donovan, but the rebound bounced right back to the Quakes forward, who placed a shot into the open net.
But Minnesota managed to tie the match at 2-2 in the 77th minute when Branan headed a Jeff Matteo corner kick past Conway. The Thunder continued to pressure Conway as time wound down, with the Quakes goalkeeper making several incredible diving saves.
Both teams had several opportunities to score in overtime, and the Quakes suffered a blow in the 110th minute when Corrales received his second yellow card for a hard tackle and was ejected, leaving San Jose to finish the game with 10 men.
With the match still deadlocked, San Jose needed penalty kicks to pull out the victory. The Quakes made all five of their penalty kicks, with Donovan, Ching, Richard Mulrooney and De Rosario burying the first four shots. The Thunder made four shots as well, except Conway forced the Thunder's second shooter, Jay Alberts, to loft his shot over the crossbar. Dunivant then placed the winning penalty kick low and to the right of a diving Warren.
EARTHQUAKES POST-MATCH COMMENTS
Earthquakes head coach Dominic Kinnear, on game: "It was a good cup tie. With them scoring first and the guys battling back, Brian Ching got a nice goal and I felt like we were on top of the game for a bit, but give them credit, they battled back and got a nice goal off a corner kick. After that, it was kind of a shoot-out."
On overtime: "With Ramiro [Corrales] getting red carded it gave the advantage to them, but we weathered the storm and Jon [Conway] played well tonight. I am happy to get the win. This is a tough place to play, Minnesota has a good team and it feels good to get that win."
On the team: "I give full credit to the guys that played today. They never got their heads down and I think it sends a message to the rest of the league that we are starting to play better. We are pleased, but we don't want to get too high, it is just one win."
Forward Brian Ching, on game: "It was a battle. They have a good team and at the beginning they kind of took us to it and they got their goal, but then we got our legs under us. Unfortunatley it took another goal against us to get our legs under us. I thought we did well to battle back and score two. We are just happy to come away with the win."
Defender Todd Dunivant, on winning penalty kick: "I felt good about it. We felt like we should put them away, and everyone in front of me did it and all the guys buried them, so I knew that I had to step up."
Goalkeeper Jon Conway, on game: "I felt good out there. The guys played really well in front of me and I was comfortable out there. When I knew it was going to penalty kicks, I knew what I had to do. I just had to force them to miss one shot and I knew that we would win."
U.S. Open Cup Quarterfinal Summary
San Jose Earthquakes 2, Minnesota Thunder 2 (SJ wins 5-4 on penalty kicks)
Griffin Stadium; St. Paul, Minn
MIN -- Melvin Tarley (Jay Alberts) 4
SJ -- Brian Ching (Jeff Agoos) 24
SJ -- Landon Donovan 63
MIN -- Dustin Branan (Jeff Matteo) 77
Penalty Kick Summary:
MIN - Menyongar (G); Alberts (M); Matteo (G); Branan (G); Ferruzzi (G)
SJ - Donovan (G); Ching (G); Mulrooney (G); De Rosario (G); Dunivant (G)
Minnesota Thunder -- Joe Warren, Dustin Brunt, Brent Jacquette, Dustin Branan, Freddy Juarez, Jeff Matteo, Kevin Friedland, Jay Alberts, Godfrey Tenoff (Marco Feruzzi, 76), Melvin Tarley, David Castellanos (Johnny Menyongar, 73)
TOTAL SHOTS: 17 FOULS: 27; OFFSIDE: 6; CORNER KICKS: 11; SAVES: Warren 4
San Jose Earthquakes -- Jon Conway, Jeff Agoos (Dwayne De Rosario, 45), Craig Waibel, Todd Dunivant, Ryan Cochrane, Ramiro Corrales, Ronnie Ekelund (Tighe Dombrowski, 90), Richard Mulrooney, Brian Mullan (Ian Russell, 100), Landon Donovan, Brian Ching
TOTAL SHOTS: 14; FOULS: 29; OFFSIDE: 1; CORNER KICKS: 5; SAVES: Conway 7
SJ -- Ramiro Corrales 44 (caution)
SJ -- Brian Mullan 63 (caution)
SJ -- Ryan Cochrane 80 (caution)
SJ -- Ramiro Corrales 109 (second caution; ejection)
Referee: Richard Heron
Referee's Assistants: Jose Corro, Troy Cohrs
4th Official: Fotis Bazakos