Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By DAN KARELL
For one of the few times in the 2013 calendar year, everything went to plan for the San Jose Earthquakes.
The Earthquakes have struggled this season in MLS and had failed to score in their opening two CONCACAF Champions League games, both 1-0 defeats. However, on Wednesday evening, Mark Watson’s side suddenly had no problems scoring, defeating the Montreal Impact, 3-0, at Buck Shaw Stadium.
The win puts the Earthquakes in great position to win the group, needing to beat Heredia in their final match by more than two goals to finish with a greater goal differential.
After nearly breaking their goal duck in the seven minute from a Steven Lenhart header that was saved by Impact goalkeeper Evan Bush, the Earthquakes opened up their goal scoring account with a close-range finish by Chris Wondolowski in the 21st minute.
In the 33rd minute, Bingham came up big for the hosts when he made a diving save on a Patrice Bernier free kick, preserving the lead. Five minutes later, the Impact nearly tied it once more but forward Daniele Paponi couldn’t keep his shot inside the box on target, as an unlucky bounce made him bash it wide and high of goal.
The Earthquakes’ Marvin Chavez, who nearly set up Lenhart early in the first half, scored on an absolute blast in the 57th minute to put the hosts up 2-0. Bernier failed to clear properly a long throw in by the Earthquakes, and Chavez arrived on the scene to volley home.
Five minutes from time, second half substitute Shea Salinas finished the game off for the Earthquakes, getting past his marker Jeb Brovsky and scoring from a tight angle.
At the Estadio Azteca in Mexico City, Raul Jimenez delighted the sparse crowd with a brace as Club America took down Sporting San Miguelito of Panama.
Both teams traded chances in the first half but five minutes before the break, Jimenez made the right run and scored into the roof of the net to give America the lead. The Mexican National Team member could have added his second just minutes later if not for a terrific double save from Sporting goalkeeper Alex Rodriguez on Jimenez and Christian Bermudez.
Sporting began to attack more in the second half and forced America goalkeeper Huge Gonzalez to make two reflex saves, which he executed very well. As the visitors began to tire, America put the game away on the counter attack as Jimenez finally scored his second into an open net.
America added a third goal four minutes later, as Andres Andrade spun around and scored his second goal since joining the club this summer.