Most Earthquake despair of late has come from an inability to hit the back of the net. Back amongst the goals, however, the anguish came at the other end against Vancouver.
That was the case with the San Jose Earthquakes on Wednesday night. Despite holding two leads against the visiting Vancouver Whitecaps thanks to Chris Wondolowski, the Earthquakes dropped two points against a team at the bottom of the Western Conference table.
“We’re back on the scoring charts, but [it was] just a real frustrating night,” lamented Earthquakes head coach Frank Yallop.
Steven Lenhart was particularly guilty of causing Yallop and his charge's frustration, missing two one-on-one chances in each half. Add to that two chances for the Earthquakes that came back off the woodwork, and an additional glaring miss from Chris Wondolowski, and it’s a simple formula for despair.
The Earthquakes had pulled ahead twice through Wondolowski, once at the beginning of each half. Each time, though, they found themselves pegged back by the work of Shea Salinas, a former Earthquake, who set up both equalizers for Eric Hassli.
Wondolowski’s goals gave the Earthquakes an important morale-booster. For Wondolowski, the goals were also a much-needed boost for a striker who hadn’t scored since a 3-0 victory over the Columbus Crew on May 14, a six-game scoreless streak.
“It’s just nice for anyone to put the ball in the back of the net, to be honest. We’ve been struggling with that,” Wondolowski explained. “It feels good, it’s just one of those things, especially with myself, as I’ve known that I’m kind of a streaky scorer.”
In spite of those two important goals, defensive lapses cost the Earthquakes a win that could have been vital to reigniting their playoff push.
“[I’m] disappointed. We should all be disappointed. Their team’s bottom of the league, to tie at home’s not good enough,” new Earthquakes signing Jacob Peterson said. “We created some decent chances that second half, but overall as a game, we weren’t sharp enough.”
The flurry of unconverted chances with the scoreline at 2-2 proved particularly frustrating.
First, Wondolowski rattled the crossbar in the 63rd from a Jacob Peterson free kick, almost a mirror image of the goal the two had combined for just 12 minutes earlier.
With the clock ticking down, a poor defensive header sent Steven Lenhart free on goal, only for him to put his shot wide right.
Finally, Wondolowski found himself through just a minute later, but couldn’t get a shot off thanks to a last-ditch tackle from Whitecaps defender Greg Janicki.
“I don’t fault the guys for effort. They kept going, they make sure that we had chances late. We didn’t sit back and not try to create anything late. We had chances to score,” Yallop said. “If you look at [Lenhart’s] chance and it’s a good chance for him to seal the game.”
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