Despite the fact that the San Jose Earthquakes have been without a number of integral players thus far this season, leaving BBVA Compass Stadium Saturday night with a 2-0 defeat to the Houston Dynamo didn’t sit well with the reigning Supporters’ Shield winners.
“We feel confident no matter who is out there,” Earthquakes striker Chris Wondolowski said. “We feel that with any 11 guys we put out there, we’re going to win the game.”
The Quakes (2-2-1, 7 pts) have been without the likes of Alan Gordon – who made his first appearance of the season with 22 minutes off the bench on Saturday – Steven Lenhart, Steven Beitashour, Mehdi Ballouchy and Marvin Chávez, among others, but have stayed afloat thanks to the team’s depth.
“John [Doyle, GM] and Frank [Yallop, head coach] built this team for situations like this,” goalkeeper Jon Busch said. “We have enough depth to get points.”
Houston (3-1-0, 9 pts) came out with an intensity that wasn’t matched by the visitors. The Earthquakes found themselves on their heels and were punished in the 17th minute as Will Bruin got on the end of an Boniek García cross to give the Dynamo a 1-0 lead.
Then, three minute before halftime, Brad Davis whipped in a cross from the left flank that Giles Barnes headed past Busch for a 2-0 lead. Houston protected that advantage for the win, and an MLS record-tying 34-game home unbeaten streak, matching a mark held by Real Salt Lake.
“This has nothing to do with our preparation,” Yallop said. “We got punished for not playing well.”
With Gordon back, and many players set to return from injury soon, Yallop and the Earthquakes are hopeful about the season going forward.
“This has been a very good start with a lot of guys out,” Yallop said. “We knew [with all the players out] this was going to be a long-term season. We have to be around the .500 mark when the guys come back and we’ll be good.”
That said, the Quakes had a chance to at least leave the game with a draw, had reigning Golden Boot winner Wondolowski finished chances he typically puts in the back of the net.
WATCH: Wondo misses inviting chance
In the 68th minute, Wondolowski missed a tap-in attempt from inside the six-yard box that would have cut the Dynamo lead in half. Then in extra time, Wondolowski headed down a cross, but hit the woodwork to leave the Earthquakes goalless.
“Those are chances I know I should score,” Wondolowski said. “If I score, that changes the whole structure of the game. It’s going to keep me up at night tonight.”
San Jose will attempt to rebound from the loss with a home match against the Vancouver Whitecaps on April 6. According to Busch, there are no worries that Saturday’s tough result will snowball into next weekend.
“We’ll be fine,” Busch said. “We’ll get home, get some rest, and we’ll be good to go.”