SAN JOSE, Calif.—There’s keeping it simple, and then there’s the instructions San Jose Earthquakes coach Dominic Kinnear gave to Adam Jahn as the forward came on to the pitch Saturday night.
With the Quakes trailing D.C. United and less than 10 minutes remaining in regulation, Kinnear said simply: “Score a goal." After the game, Kinnear joked that " [Jahn]] listened tonight.”
The right-footed volley turned in Shea Salinas’ 88th-minute cross at the near post. The ball eluded the feet of United defender Bobby Boswell and hopped past the right hand of diving goalkeeper Travis Worra, giving San Jose a 1-1 tie and keeping the Quakes unbeaten at home in 2016.
“When you’re a sub, you want to come in and change the game,” said Jahn, who scored just his second MLS goal in four seasons. “It was a great opportunity to go in when we’re down and make something happen. That’s what Dom and the coaches said, ‘Just go in and try to score a goal.’”
Opportunities to score weren’t a problem for San Jose, who registered nearly 100 more passes than D.C., lumped in 23 open-play crosses, and put six shots on target for the evening. San Jose trailed at halftime after Patrick Nyarko struck for a counterpunch goal in the 34th minute; Kinnear said had his staff “kind of shaking our head as to how that happened.”
San Jose almost tied things up in the 79th minute when Chris Wondolowski had a clean look at goal after his marker, fellow U.S. international Steve Birnbaum, slipped inside D.C.’s 6-yard box. Sean Franklin made a sliding block and Nyarko cleared the danger.
That left it up to Jahn, who got an extra game last weekend on loan with USL side Sacramento Republic FC. He impressed the staff there – an assessment that eventually made its way to Kinnear.
“He deserved that goal, because I’ve seen him do it so many times in practice,” said Quakes midfielder Tommy Thompson, who also appeared for Sacramento last weekend. “I was ecstatic.”
Said Jahn: “We were so close. We had so many opportunities, and I knew it was just a matter of time. Towards the end of the game, guys are getting tired and not following runners as well, and that’s what happened; Shea put a near-post ball and I was able get some separation and get the goal.”