SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Chris Wondolowski’s pair of second-half goals, including one in the 92nd minute, gave the San Jose Earthquakes a 2-2 tie against the Portland Timbers on Wednesday at Buck Shaw Stadium.
Wondolowski, who came on in the 58th minute, scored his 20th and 21st goals – extending his franchise single-season record, career-high and league-leading total – to help the Quakes salvage a result in stoppage time yet again.
Portland, who got a pair of goals from Danny Mwanga, blew a golden opportunity for their first road victory of 2012. Instead, the Timbers remained winless in a 16th straight road match and are in line to be just the fifth MLS side to go a full season without a road victory.
Mwanga used his strength to create his own goal-scoring chance in the 45th minute, staying upright despite a hard challenge from Víctor Bernárdez. The big Honduran defender's attempted dispossession of Mwanga fed straight to Rodney Wallace in the middle of a stretched-out San Jose defense.
The midfielder calmly slid a through ball right back to Mwanga, who took one dribble to avoid converging Quakes defenders and charging goalkeeper Jon Busch and found the empty net.
Mwanga, acquired from Philadelphia in June, completed his first Timbers brace with a crackling 25-yard blast across the face of goal to the upper corner of the far post on the other side of halftime. The play was set up by a 40-yard run through the midfield by Franck Songo’o, who easily swiveled around Bernárdez before feeding the forward, who had plenty of time to line up his shot before ripping it past Busch for the 2-0 lead.
San Jose brought on Wondolowski and Alan Gordon – initially rested in the midst of a three-games-in-eight-days stretch – in search of what looked like an unlikely comeback. But as has been the story all season at Buck Shaw, it was only a matter of time.
In the 73rd minute, Gordon flicked on a long lead pass from Bernárdez, and Steven Lenhart got a sliding touch on it to free Wondolowski, who converted with his left foot from 16 yards. It was Wondolowski’s first goal in the run of play since July 14, making it 2-1.
The furious rally continued, with the Quakes throwing numbers forward and tempers from both teams starting to flare. It made for an emotional home crowd, and an emotional Wondolowski when he rescued the point with an open header at the back post after an attempted flick clearance by Portland defender Hanyer Mosquera fell to him.
It was Portland that almost snatched a shocking winner, though, coming close in the 95th minute as Songo'o made another end-to-end charge before feeding Bright Dike. But Dike's shot from the spot -- as Busch and Lenhart collapsed on him -- shaved just wide, and the Timbers' cries for a penalty were unheeded.
San Jose (17-6-6, 57 points) extended their unbeaten streak at Buck Shaw Stadium to 16 straight matches – the Quakes are 11-0-5 there since Aug. 13, 2011 – and remained three points ahead of Sporting Kansas City in the Supporters’ Shield race. They travel to Seattle to face the Sounders on Saturday.
Portland (7-14-8, 29 points) sit eighth in the West, one point ahead of Chivas USA. They’ll travel to Real Salt Lake on Saturday.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Chris Wondolowski||That's how you bust out of a slump. Get the feeling that if it had gone a couple minutes longer, he'd have found a third.|
|2||Danny Mwanga||Showed all that potential that's been dormant for the past two years. Footwork on the first was slick, while the second is a Goal of the Week nominee.|
|3||Franck Songo'o||Shredded the San Jose defense any and every time he got moving, and probably should have had a game-winning assist for his efforts.|