SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The San Jose Earthquakes finally solved their Real Salt Lake season-opening hex.
Victor Bernardez scored twice, including a game-tying goal in the 95th minute, to secure a 3-3 tie for the Quakes against RSL on Saturday.
The Honduran international jumped on a loose clearance off a last-ditch cross from Shaun Francis. Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando went up against Quakes forward Alan Gordon to try and punch it clear, but the ball barely made it out of the visitors’ 6-yard box, allowing Bernardez to hammer it home. The final whistle sounded just after the ensuing kickoff.
Chris Wondolowski also tallied for the Quakes, who had lost their regular-season opener to RSL in three of the previous four seasons.
The draw extended San Jose’s unbeaten streak at Buck Shaw Stadium to 21 games in all competitions. The Quakes used another 95th-minute goal, this one from Gordon, to force a 1-1 tie with top-seeded Mexican side Toluca in the first leg of the teams’ CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal Tuesday.
Joao Plata scored his second goal in as many games for RSL, who were looking to improve to 2-0-0 under new coach Jeff Cassar. Kyle Beckerman and MLS rookie Luke Mulholland also scored first-half goals for the visitors.
Wondolowski scored in the sixth minute from point-blank range, using his right thigh to redirect Bernardez’s flick header off a long free kick by Shea Salinas.
Beckerman equalized for Real Salt Lake just five minutes later. Plata laid off a ball into space for Beckerman to strike with his left foot from 27 yards. The shot ricocheted in off San Jose goalkeeper Jon Busch’s right post.
Plata initiated and finished RSL’s second goal-scoring sequence in the 32nd minute, beating two defenders from the left wing, trading give-and-go passes with Luis Gil and deking Earthquakes center back Jason Hernandez before pulling a 12-yard strike just inside the near post.
Mulholland put RSL up 3-1 in first-half injury time, racing past a scrambled San Jose defense to pick up the rebound of Ned Grabavoy’s shot and slot it home from 8 yards.
Bernardez gave San Jose life in the 75th minute, connecting with a Salinas corner on a near-post run and skimming his header to the open back post.
It appeared the Quakes’ last-ditch pressing would go for naught when Wondolowski, Steven Lenhart and Cordell Cato all placed attempts just wide in the final 10 minutes, but Bernardez came through one last time.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Shea Salinas||Set up two goals on the night on set pieces, and put in consistently dangerous balls to power the comeback|
|2||Victor Bernardez||Can't be lauded for his defense when RSL scored three, but got in the right place at the right time to score -- twice|
|3||Joao Plata||Would have been one of the headliners again this week with a goal and assist, if only his teammates had closed the deal on the win|