In most situations, a last-minute equalizer on the road would be cause for celebration.
But that’s not the case when you’ve gone ten consecutive matches without a win, which is where the San Jose Earthquakes stand after a 1-1 draw against Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Saturday.
Second half substitute Atiba Harris fired a right-footed strike inside Joe Nasco’s left post in the 94th minute to salvage a point for the struggling Quakes. This comes just a day after coach Mark Watson said San Jose must win every match if they have any hope of a miraculous playoff push.
If you were looking for a clash of titans in Saturday’s fixture, you might be due for a CAT scan.
Both San Jose and Colorado entered the match looking for their first win in nine matches. Before Gabriel Torres’s go-ahead goal in the 84th minute, the teams played 264 minutes against one another this season without recording a goal.
Torres’ finish looked for certain to be the game’s deciding strike, and came on the heels of a second half where the Rapids dominated chances.
The Panamanian attacker made a great run into the box past Victor Bernardez to tap in an excellent cross from right-back Chris Klute. The goal was Torres’ third of the season.
Klute gave a man of the match performance for Colorado, leading the game with five tackles in addition to claiming his first assist of the season.
Colorado defender Shane O’Neill’s last ditch challenge and an awkward swat by Nasco thwarted a point blank chance for Matias Perez Garcia in the 11th minute -— an early goal that would’ve completely changed the contest for San Jose. Chris Wondolowski set the play up with a cheeky back heel.
The game marked Garcia’s first start since he suffered an injury in a 5-0 loss to FC Dallas August 17, and only his third start since being signed on July 31.
Garcia looked a step slow when he made his return as a substitute last weekend, but had his best all around match Saturday since joining San Jose, setting up the Harris goal with a clever touch on the edge of the box.
Colorado striker Deshorn Brown had no excuse not to put the Rapids ahead in the 77th minute, when he let himself drift offside during a two on one break away that nullified what would’ve been an easy goal.
San Jose returns home for the second to last game ever at Buck Shaw Stadium next weekend, facing Pacific coast rivals Portland who find themselves in a battle for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
That spot is all but out of reach for San Jose, who currently sit 11 points out with five matches remaining.