The playoff window for the San Jose Earthquakes keeps getting smaller and smaller.
Ten minutes away from reviving their playoff hopes, the Quakes surrendered a dead ball goal to the Seattle Sounders that equalized the game and striped them of two priceless points in the Western Conference standings. The game ended 1-1 with Seattle and San Jose still below the Major League Soccer playoff line with only seven games remaining on their schedules.
To make things infinitely worse for the Quakes, the two teams they’re chasing in the standings – Vancouver and Portland – both won over the weekend.
"It hurts," said Quakes head coach Dominic Kinnear. "To walk off the field with two points out of (the previous three home) games -- it hurts you in the standings and it hurts you because I think we should have had more."
The Quakes now sit in eighth place -- six points behind Portland for the sixth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. San Jose does have two games in hand.
The Earthquakes certainly created more chances than Seattle throughout the match and the volume of pressure was the difference in the first half.
San Jose outshot the Sounders 7-1 in the half with one of those chances resulting in a Chris Wondolowski goal. In the 30th minute, a streaking Jordan Stewart on the left side was gifted with a mistake by a slipping Tyrone Mears, who failed to clear a long diagonal cross by Marvell Wynne. With tons of real estate in front of him, Stewart hand placed a low cross to his captain for Wondowloski’s 10th goal of the season. But things slowed down for the Quakes from that point forward.
"I thought we had a really good first half -- best we've had in a while," Kinnear said. "We could have been good for another (goal). If we can play like that first 25 minutes for 90, we can be pretty darn special."
Seattle did knock on the equalizing door twice in the second half –- both times, an attempt near the San Jose six-yard box sailed over David Bingham’s crossbar.
But it was a foul in the Seattle offensive zone that led to a Nicolas Lodeiro bending cross that found its way, untouched, past the San Jose defense and into the net for the gut-punching equalizer.
San Jose did have a couple of chances in the final moments, most notably a Chad Barrett shot inside the penalty box that just missed the target.
"We started well and it was disappointing not to get the result," Stewart said. "To have them score a goal like that, it's more disappointing because they really didn't break us down. We have seven games left and it's coming to crunch time."
Man of the Match: Wondolowski made history on Saturday at Avaya Stadium, becoming the only player in MLS history to score double-digit goals in second consecutive seasons. The San Jose forward now has 119 goals in his careers as he continues his climb to up the all-time goal-scoring ranks.
Attendance: Saturday's reported attendance was 18,000.
Up Next: The Quakes will travel to Colorado on Sept. 24 for a make-or-break game against the Rapids. Colorado is second in the Western Conference with 46 points. Game time is scheduled for 6 p.m. Catch all the action on CSN Plus.