For weeks now, the San Jose Earthquakes have flirted with completely falling out of MLS Cup playoff contention only to have the other teams they’re jousting with give them a little hope.
But after Thursday’s 2-1 loss to Colorado, the Quakes may have sealed their 2016 fate.
Two goals by Kevin Doyle, the latter a second half penalty kick, was enough offense to hand the Quakes their 14th loss of the season. The loss, coupled with a Sporting Kansas City win or draw on Sunday against Real Salt Lake, will eliminate San Jose from the 2016 Major League Soccer playoffs. Currently, the Quakes sit six points behind the red playoff line.
San Jose’s 14th loss is also one more than they had all of last season.
Doyle opened the scoring with a beautiful diving header in the 38th minute courtesy of a Marc Burch cross that sliced its way into the San Jose box from the left side.
But the Quakes had a legitimate chance to believe when Chris Wondolowski converted from the penalty spot to equalize the match in the 57th minute. The forward was knocked down in the box and minutes later, he beat Colorado’s Tim Howard to the keeper's right.
However, 15 minutes after the penalty gave, it took away when Doyle stepped up and executed from 12 yards out, beating David Bingham right down the middle of his goal.
Colorado was awarded the penalty when Fatai Alashe pulled Dillion Powers down in the box on a corner kick.
Streak snapped: The Earthquakes entered the match riding a 14-game unbeaten streak against the Colorado Rapids and hadn’t lost a game in the series since Aug. 13, 2011. The Quakes held a 7-0-7 overall record against the Rapids over that timespan.
Turning point: Unfortunately for San Jose, Alashe's foul in the box happened right in front of the head referee. Replays show Powers embellished the tug, but from the referee's vantage point, it was enough to blow the whistle and point to the spot. With the Quakes' offensive struggles and only 17 minutes left to score two goals, the mountain was too high for them to climb.
Supporters' Shield: The win for the Rapids propelled them into first place in the Western Conference -- a point ahead of FC Dallas for the Supporters' Shield.
Up the scoring chart: Wondolowski's goal was the 11th of his career against the Rapids. That's the most goals the forward has scored against any team in MLS -- moving him one past Seattle, Vancouver and the now debunked Chivas USA.
Up Next: The Quakes return to Avaya Stadium on Sunday to face the Vancouver Whitecaps on Fan Appreciation Day. Kick off is scheduled for 2 p.m.