It was a gutsy performance for the San Jose Earthquakes, but the task of going cross county to face a dangerous Atlanta United FC team on just two days rest proved to be too much.
Anton Walkes headed home the go-ahead goal for AUFC in the 81st minute to give Atlanta the 3-2 lead. Josef Martinez would add the no-doubter in the 89th minute for the 4-2 win.
San Jose played a man down from the 32nd minute onward when Kofi Sarkodie was shown a second yellow and forced the complexion of the game to change completely.
Tommy Thompson scored in the second minute and Chris Wondolowski equalized in the 65th after Atlanta had roared back to take a 2-1 lead.
The loss forces a two-way tie for fourth place in the Western Conference with the Quakes sharing that real estate with Portland.
Here are five things to know about an Independence Day loss to Atlanta United FC.
— Tommy Thompson has scored — finally. When Thompson signed the team’s first ever Homegrown contract back in 2014, the weight of San Jose fell on the then-18-year-old midfielder’s shoulders. And while he’s shown flashes of promise and has enjoyed the full confidence of Quakes fans, it must feel really nice for the Indiana native to get off the proverbial snide.
For those keeping track at home, it took Thompson 63 MLS appearances totaling 2,633 minutes and 51 shots before the demigods of scoring found him worthy.
— It didn’t take referee Jose Carlos Rivero very long to set the disciplinary tone in Tuesday’s match — 10 minutes in, and he had already booked Sarkodie. Rivero would reach into his pocket another six times in the first half alone, including flashing another yellow — then red — to Sarkodie to leave San Jose a man down with a little less than 60 minutes left in the match.
The effects were felt immediately, as Leitch reached for Cordell Cato to replace the offensive-minded Shea Salinas minutes later. And Atlanta wasted very time attacking Cato’s side — scoring twice going from left to right in the second half.
The Quakes finished the game with nine men when Rivero sent Victor Bernardez off with a straight red in the fourth minute of added time.
A team already short on defenders will be without two more for their next MLS match, July 19 on the road against the New York Red Bulls.
— It’s now two games in a row that Wondolowski scores in exquisite fashion. After Martinez scored on a brilliant header for Atlanta, less than two minutes later Nick Lima’s cross to the back post — going from left to right — landed beautifully on Wondolowski’s right foot for goal number eight of the season and 129th of his career.
— Tuesday’s match was San Jose’s sixth in 21 days. Come next Monday, when the Quakes take on LA Galaxy over at Avaya Stadium with a trip to the U.S. Open Cup semifinal on the line, it will be seven matches in 27 days. It’s a grueling stretch of soccer especially when you consider the injuries, suspensions, front office movement and international call-ups the Quakes have had to endure.
So far, the Quakes are 4-1-1 in those games.
— If you’re a North American soccer fan, you have to add a trip to Atlanta and Bobby Dodd Stadium to your list of places to catch a match. Tuesday saw almost 45,000 fans back the place and the environment they’ve built is already one of the best in Major League Soccer.