San Jose Earthquakes playoff chances "pretty bleak" after loss to Montreal

MONTREAL – The San Jose Earthquakes had to like their chances of getting a much-needed road result Wednesday night when captain Chris Wondolowski stepped up to take a penalty kick for the potential tying goal late in the second half of a one-goal game.

Though Wondolowski had scored his 11th goal in the 62nd minute to draw San Jose within 2-1, he was unable to beat Montreal Impact goalkeeper Evan Bush from the spot as the Earthquakes fell short in their bid to overcome a two-goal deficit after the first half. 

"He doesn't miss a lot of those and it's just what it is, it's tough," said San Jose winger Cordell Cato, who appeared in his 100th MLS game when he came on for Marvell Wynne 69 minutes in.

It's all been tough of late for the Earthquakes, who have yet to defeat Montreal in five league games. San Jose, which saw its winless streak reach seven games, is in ninth place in the Western Conference with 34 points.

After Dominic Oduro and Ignacio Piatti scored to give Montreal a 2-0 lead in the first half, the Earthquakes made a game of it in the second half.

"I think the team responded really well," San Jose midfielder Tommy Thompson said. "We had our chances throughout the game, and after the PK was given I honestly thought we were going to get the three points, but sometimes the ball doesn't bounce your way."

Earthquakes coach Dominic Kinnear was asked what adjustments were made after the first half.

"We were passing the ball to our own team, that helps," he said. "They gave more energy getting forward. I thought we were a little bit slow getting out. That made it difficult for us to pass under pressure. But we made some boo-boos in the back and when you get some players like Piatti some good opportunities close to your goal he's not going to make a mess out of many of them, so shame on us."

Kinnear put San Jose's waning playoff hopes in perspective without waving a white flag. The Earthquakes are seven points behind sixth-place Portland, with Seattle and Vancouver between them.

"Hope is always there," Kinnear said. "It's pretty bleak with four games left, so we need to go on a great run and everybody else has to play terrible. So that's going to be a difficult one for us, but I was happy with the way our team responded in the second half. I thought we were excellent in the second half, gave a good response. Maybe Montreal with a 2-0 lead was sitting in the back, but our guys gave a tremendous effort and played well. And, yeah, when that penalty kick was saved, that was a real big downer for us, but there's always hope. There's a ray of hope out there and we'll be looking for it."