Failing to press advantage, San Jose Earthquakes lament missed chances: "We let ourselves down"

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- San Jose Earthquakes head coach Dominic Kinnear has no need for a hairdryer -- whether you’re talking for his head or his players.

Sure, the Quakes might have blown a third straight home lead and allowed the Montreal Impact to steal away with a 1-1 draw at Avaya Stadium on Wednesday night, but Kinnear declined the opportunity to rant and rave in the locker room afterwards.

“I didn’t go in there and throw anything or point fingers and throw some f-bombs,” Kinnear said. “My point was, ‘Hey, we all have to want this together in a real bad way, and let’s get ready for Saturday.’”

The tie was another disappointing body blow to the playoff hopes of San Jose (11-11-7), who won three straight last month to put themselves back in the postseason hunt. Combined with a 2-1 loss to Philadelphia on Sept. 5 and a 1-1 tie against Seattle on Saturday, the Quakes only took two points out of nine on a critical three-game homestand.

It’s a problem exacerbated by San Jose outshooting Montreal 16-8 and holding 63.8 percent of the possession. Quantity of chances was not the problem Wednesday; quality of finishing -- something not as easily rectified on the fly -- was the culprit as the Impact simply sat back and soaked up all the pressure the Quakes’ offense could generate.

“It didn’t even look like they were trying to score a goal,” Quakes center back Clarence Goodson lamented. “The scoreline is obviously the ultimate indication of how the game went. A point is a point. 1-1 is what the game was. But we’ve been dominant, I think, the last two games. I think that we’ve been the better team, by far. . . . I think we have been good at home, but we haven’t got the results that would show that. And that’s unfortunate. In the end, it’s only two points. It doesn’t matter how well you’ve played.”

After Kyle Bekker’s surprising equalizer in the 65th for 10-man Montreal the Quakes forced two saves out of Eric Kronberg, but missed the target with five other attempts (one other try was blocked). Kinnear felt his club tried too hard to jam the ball through the Impact’s packed-in defense, rather than breaking it down deftly.

“We let ourselves down, let them off the hook by letting our fans touch the ball, instead of their goalkeeper or the net,” Kinnear said. “When you’re not hitting the target, you’re letting teams off the hook.”

The homestand undid a fair amount of the work San Jose had put in to get back within striking distance of Seattle, Sporting Kansas City, and Portland. Still, the lack of points hasn’t changed Kinnear’s opinion of his club.

“I’ve seen with my own eyes how good they can play,” Kinnear said “There’s fact out there that I should have confidence and belief in them. And I do.”

The Quakes, who are still riding a two-game road winning streak after beating SKC and D.C. United last month, don’t have time to linger on their physical aches or mental pains. Not with a trip to New York City FC looming on Saturday (7 pm ET, MLS LIVE).

“At 1-0 and [benefiting from] a red card, should we have killed the game off?” Kinnear asked reporters. “I think everyone in this [press] room would have said, ‘Yeah, you probably should have.’ It didn’t happen. The turnaround is too quick for us to look back and go, ‘Well, we should have done this.’ It’s like, ‘No, no, we have to do this now.’”