San Jose Earthquakes point to slow start in loss to Vancouver Whitecaps: "We got punished for it"

Before the San Jose Earthquakes could even break much of a sweat in their match Sunday evening against the Vancouver Whitecaps, they found themselves right where they knew they couldn’t be: trailing on the road against one of the best teams in the Western Conference.

And after conceding a goal five minutes in, Vancouver poured on two more to run away with a 3-1 victory at BC Place, leading San Jose to blame nobody but themselves following their fourth straight loss.

“We’re playing against good teams. Vancouver is a good team … the Western Conference is stacked pretty high, and we know that,” San Jose head coach Dominic Kinnear told media after the match. “We didn’t start the game very particularly well, and we got punished for it. We worked hard to get back in the game, but it was too late.”

San Jose did suffer a measure of bad luck on the first goal when center back Clarence Goodson cut out a run at goal by Vancouver attacker Kekuta Manneh. The ball, however, pinged right out to a waiting Mauro Rosales, who fired coolly past goalkeeper David Bingham.

Vancouver then struck on a 32nd-minute corner-kick header by Kendall Waston and a second-half penalty kick from Octavio Rivero when he was taken down in the box after getting behind the Quakes defense.

“It’s one of those things where it’s difficult sometimes, and one of those things where we’re not really getting the bounces,” San Jose captain Chris Wondolowski said. “… When you don’t in this league and you play against a good team and you’re not prepared, you lose 3-1.”

San Jose were also unable to benefit from the return of their captain Wondolowski, who missed three games while away with the US national team on Gold Cup duty. He started and played 70 minutes after joining the team in Vancouver following a 60-minute shift in the USMNT’s shootout loss against Panama in the Gold Cup’s third-place game Saturday in Philadelphia, waking up at 3:30 am ET to catch a flight.

“When you start the game slow on the road against a good team you’re asking for trouble,” Kinnear said. “It shouldn’t take going down a couple of goals to inspire us.”