The Earthquakes have taken the lead only to squander points seven times in the last 12 matches. The latest came against Colorado.
It marked the seventh time in 12 games this season that the Earthquakes have scored the first goal of a game, only to end up relinquishing points.
“I think that the result was probably fair in the end but I felt for a good 55, 60 minutes that we should’ve scored more than one goal, so kind of disappointed we didn’t,” Earthquakes coach Frank Yallop said.
Though he gave Colorado credit for its spirited comeback, Yallop maintained that the team should have put the game away while in the ascendancy. The assertion looked like a sound one, considering Wondolowski had an excellent chance to extend the lead before the break and Khari Stephenson saw a shot skim the outside of Matt Pickens’ post.
"If it had been 2-0 I think it would have been a lot harder for Colorado to get back in the game, but you know, give credit to them," Yallop said. "They got their goal and then had some chances at the end. But I still think that the game all hinged on our inability to scored the second goal."
Wondolowski’s goal saw him tie Landon Donovan for second on the franchise’s all-time scoring list with 32 goals. The 2010 MLS Golden Boot winner admitted it wasn't quite as sweet with the team only getting a draw.
“It’s right now a little bittersweet,” Wondolowski said. “It’s a true honor. He’s a great player and I know how much it means to the fans and the club, but I really wish I could’ve gotten another one or taken that win.”
Earthquakes defender Steven Beitashour took a different point of view, asserting that the team should have shut up shop after the first goal.
“It’s tough. You want to go in there and score the early goal. It should be enough - just get the shutout and win 1-0,” said the second year defender, enjoying an extended run in the first team in 2011. “So, it’s disappointing. I felt like they had a couple back-to-back-to-back corners and just - bounce, bounce - and they got in, so it’s disappointing.”
With the Earthquakes having dropped 17 points in games in which they have taken the lead this season, the playoffs were always going to be a long shot for the 2010 Eastern Conference finalists. Now, with just four games remaining on their schedule, the Earthquakes are only mathematically alive, meaning they will have to hold four straight leads and hope for a little bit of luck.
“Another night they go in, or another season I would say,” Yallop said. "I don’t know what it is, but something this season, we’re not getting any breaks.”
Still, with performances improving, even if results aren’t, there could be some light ahead for the Earthquakes and their fans, even if they have to wait until 2012.
Yallop summed up: “What I like about the team and players is that they’ve really, really tried hard and stuck together and not lost focus of, ‘Don’t look at the table, look at the performances,’ and that’s what were trying to do.
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