In perhaps the wildest match of the MLS is Back Tournament thus far, the San Jose Earthquakes beat the Vancouver Whitecaps 4-3 in Group B play of the MLS is Back Tournament on Wednesday, after Shea Salinas scored the game-winner deep into second-half stoppage time.
Ali Adnan and Cristian Dajome each netted for Vancouver, who also benefitted from a first-half own goal, while Andres Rios, Chris Wondolowski and Oswaldo Alanis found the scoresheet for San Jose before Salinas' late go-ahead tally.
Vancouver grabbed the early lead seven minutes after kickoff, when Adnan collected a ball down the left flank, charged into the box and ripped a perfectly placed curling strike to the far post and into the net.
That lead then doubled on a bizarre own goal in the 22nd minute, on a wild sequence that started after San Jose lost possession following a corner kick and didn't have numbers back, allowing Vancouver forward Yordy Reyna to escape all the way back to the other end of the field into a wide-open breakaway against Quakes goalkeeper Daniel Vega. Instead of taking the shot, Reyna attempted to lay the ball off to Dajome, giving two San Jose defenders enough time to close the space. But the pass wound up deflecting off Judson and rolling into the net, improbably putting the 'Caps up 2-0.
San Jose would cap off the chaotic first half by pulling one back after Rios stuck his leg out and cheekily redirected a corner kick past Whitecaps 'keeper Maxime Crepeau, cutting the deficit to 2-1 just before the halftime whistle. Vancouver got its third, though, in the 59th minute after an ill-advised pass in his own penalty box from Vega was picked off by David Milinkovic, who dished off to Dajome for an easy finish into an open net.
Wondolowski pulled the Quakes within 3-2 in the 72nd minute in vintage fashion, nodding home a close-range header off a deflection that popped high into the air in front goal, before Alanis cashed home an 81st-minute headed finish off a corner kick from Magnus Eriksson to make it 3-3.
Salinas found the winner with a stellar individual effort, making a charging run from close to midfield and sliding home his shot from inside the area past Crepeau, allowing San Jose to snatch all three points.
- 7' - VAN - Ali Adnan | WATCH
- 22' - VAN - Judson (OG) | WATCH
- 45' (+2) - SJ - Andres Rios | WATCH
- 59' - VAN - Cristian Dajome | WATCH
- 72' - SJ - Chris Wondolowski | WATCH
- 81' - SJ - Oswaldo Alanis | WATCH
- 90' (+8) - SJ - Shea Salinas | WATCH
Man of the Match presented by Heineken
It would have been a disappointing draw for San Jose, but Salinas' winner gave them all three points on a night where it really could have gone either way. The veteran gets the honors for this one.
- THE BIG PICTURE: Wow. That match had a little bit of everything, and while San Jose did well to grab the win, they'll also likely be frustrated with the mental lapses that led to two of Vancouver's three goals. Credit to the 'Caps, though. Coming into the tournament shorthanded, many probably looked at them as a layup in Group B, but they didn't back down from the Quakes and were in great position to get the victory deep into the second half, even if they'll certainly be disappointed with how it all ended. Either way, the goals might not have been the prettiest you'll ever see, but you can't knock this match for entertainment value.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: It has to be Salinas going Lionel Messi to get the Quakes all three points.
- YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: If there's any stat that illustrates how bizarre this match was, it might be the one below. Also, San Jose took an incredible 22 corner kicks in the match — a new MLS record.
17 - @SJEarthquakes attempted 17 shots in the first half against @WhitecapsFC, the most by any team in the first half of an @MLS match since the Quakes took 25 first-half shots against Vancouver on August 5, 2019. Redux.#MLSisBack— OptaJack⚽️ (@OptaJack) July 16, 2020