San Jose Earthquakes 2, Toronto FC 1 | 2016 MLS Match Recap
The San Jose Earthquakes won one of the most unlikely games of the year, as a nine-man group rallied in the second half to beat Toronto FC 2-1 at Avaya Stadium on Saturday.
Simon Dawkins was the man who clinched the three points for the hosts, as the Quakes defended well for more than a half hour down two men and the English Designated Player scored the shorthanded gamewinner.
San Jose's first goal came 30 minutes in, as Fatai Alashe came downfield with the ball on the left flank and sent a pinpoint low cross to Quincy Amarikwa, who hit a nice redirect off the cross to score his second goal of the season.
TFC received a boost in the 43rd minute, as San Jose midfielder Anibal Godoy was shown a straight red card for a late challenge on Tsubasa Endoh. About a minute later, Toronto tied up the game, as Justin Morrow was in the right place in the right time to tap in a cross right in front of net.
A second red card was issued to the Earthquakes in the 53rd minute, as Alberto Quintero was sent off for a studs-up challenge on Endoh, leaving the home side down to nine men with more than 35 minutes left to play.
And the Quakes took an unlikely lead in the 70th minute, as Dawkins, outmatched on the counterattack, cut inside with the ball near the top of the box and unleashed a shot that beat TFC 'keeper Alex Bono.
- 30' - SJ - Quincy Amarikwa (Fatai Alashe)
- 44' - TOR - Justin Morrow (Jordan Hamilton, Steven Beitashour)
- 70' - SJ - Simon Dawkins (Cordell Cato)
- Full box score
- EXPECT CONSIDERABLE DEBATE ON RED CARDS: Considering how unusual it is for a referee to issue multiple red cards to the same team when there hasn't been a fight of some kind, the red cards to Godoy and Quintero are sure to be talking points in the days ahead. Although it is likely coincidence both red-card fouls were committed against TFC rookie Endoh, there is probably going to be differing opinions around the league concerning the validity of the fouls that led to the ejections.
- NINE MEN? NO PROBLEM: But those two red cards and San Jose's subsequent victory will put this game in the lore of both teams. For the Earthquakes, it is an example of not giving up in the face of considerable adversity and defending well, especially through an intense second half. For TFC, however, this game will be added to the ignominy that looked to be in the club's past, of new, interesting and unwanted ways to lose games. Some say it's harder sometimes to play against 10 players than 11. In this case, it seemed even harder for Toronto to play against nine.
- A NIGHT FOR LEADERS: TFC have been impressive in recent games with a young core grabbing results. But the ongoing absences of Michael Bradley, Will Johnson and Clint Irwin clearly hurt them in an unusual environment at Avaya Stadium, and Toronto coach Greg Vanney opted not to bring Jozy Altidore off the bench for his first appearance since suffering a hamstring injury in May. Given the injuries, lack of depth, and inexperience of many players featuring for the visitors, something had to give and they couldn't get a result that seemed to be in their control.