Vako’s scoring touch has carried over from the U.S. Open Cup to MLS play as the Georgian international struck for a brace to lead the San Jose Earthquakes to a 2-0 win over the Houston Dynamo Wednesday night at Avaya Stadium.
Vako, who has five goals in his last three games in all competitions, put the Earthquakes in front in the 22nd minute on a clever flick over goalkeeper Joe Willis, culminating an intricate corner kick set play. Cristian Espinoza played the corner short to Magnus Eriksson, who delivered a near-post cross inside the six-yard box. Vako took care of the rest, meeting the ball with a deft chip over Willis for his second goal of the season.
San Jose probed for the insurance goal and came close in the 62nd minute on a terrific sequence. The play ended with MLS all-time leading scorer Chris Wondolowski heading a Vako service on frame, but Willis came up with a stunning save to push it away.
Vako then put the game away in the 75th minute with a fine solo effort, firing past Willis from just inside the 18-yard box.
With the result, the Quakes moved into the Western Conference playoff zone in 6th place with 22 points, on the heels of the 5th-placed Dynamo who have 24 points with a game in hand.
- THE BIG PICTURE: The Quakes are now unbeaten in their last five matches, the last six at Avaya Stadium and they moved above the playoff line into sixth place the West. That sets up for a juicy California Clasico Saturday in San Jose. The Dynamo, meanwhile, have lost three of their last four games and have been outscored 8-1 in that stretch.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Every set piece taken by the Quakes had a little panache, some training ground flair and that was certainly true of the game’s first goal, a well-worked and rehearsed corner capped with a touch of Vako magic.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: It’s all about Vako. At times criticized for his work rate, it was all there and then some Wednesday night. If not for a quality save from Willis, he would have had a hat trick. He also had 26 successful passes in the Dynamo half, including two key passes.