Earthquakes fall to Toluca in penalty kicks

Jon Busch

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The San Jose Earthquakes looked primed to be demolished on Wednesday night, missing eight starters and facing a dangerous Toluca side in Mexico with a patch-work defense. The Earthquakes figured to be blown out of the water.

It didn’t quite work out that way, but in the end San Jose still went home eliminated from the CONCACAF Champions League.

Toluca clinched their place in the Champions League semifinals after edging the Earthquakes in penalty kicks, 5-4, with San Jose being eliminated after Shea Salinas sent his PK attempt off the woodwork.

The missed penalty put a painful cap on an otherwise inspired performance from the Earthquakes, who pushed Toluca to the brink despite beginning the match without several starters, including Chris Wondolowski, Victor Bernardez, Clarence Goodson and Alan Gordon.

The teams traded missed penalties in the first round, including a Wondolowski miss, but then both teams combined for nine straight penalty conversions before Salinas sent his right-footed shot off the goal frame.

The Earthquakes had Toluca on the ropes briefly, scoring a surprise goal to take a brief lead on Toluca, but the Mexican side rallied and used a stunning strike from San Jose native Isaac Brizuela, who delivered a 69th-minute equalizer from long range.

The Earthquakes opened the scoring in surprising fashion when defender Ty Harden headed home a Salinas cross in the 56th minute for his first career goal as a pro.

That goal seemed to wake up Toluca, who hadn’t played with much urgency before that. Brizuela’s stunner looked as though it might spark a rout, but the Earthquakes held on, and gave the Mexican side all it could handle, pushing the match into extra time, and eventually penalty kicks.

This entry was posted in CONCACAF Champions League, Featured, Mexican Soccer, MLS- San Jose Earthquakes, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

50 Responses to Earthquakes fall to Toluca in penalty kicks

  1. ben says:

    thats really too bad. it really is sort of depressing watching the Mexican teams go triple elimination on us. 2 of the match ups were pretty close but it still doesnt matter

    • Stan says:

      Headline should read “Earthquakes Fall to Linesman on Bad Offside Call”.

      • Chupacabra says:

        How about Fox commentators fail to understand FIFA’s rules of the game? Gordon was leaning forward and his head was in an offside position. The offside rule applies to any part of the body that can be used to score a goal, Brian Dunseth be damned.

        • QuakerOtis says:

          We understand the rules. To my eye, he was completely onside. It was very close, so I can’t be too mad at the ref. We also had other chances to win, which we failed to take/save. But Gordon was onside.

      • chg says:

        Egregiously poor report. You can’t cover that game without even mentioning the controversially disallowed goal.

  2. ben says:

    I sort of wonder. I dont want a Mexican team to win again, but wouldnt it kinda suck if a panamanian or costar rican team was the one to do it?

    • AMPhibian says:

      It would definitely suck, but I don’t see it happening. If it does happen, I have no doubt it would spur MLS leadership into adrenaline filled actions next offseason, to give our league a better shot at the CCL title. We don’t want to be the third or fourth best league on our continent, because interest tends to decline exponentially, when it comes to losers. Even to the objective observer, these loses hurt our standing as a league that is trying to attract high quality players.

    • Maykol says:

      If you dont want a central american club to win, then i dont think you have much to worry about. Cruz azul looks too strong to not win

      • Helium-3 says:

        Yeah they got too many weapons. Even Chaco Gimenez is still good. I remember him from 5-4 game (Dynamo – Pachua) when he single handedly beat Houston in that match.

        There is a reason why Villareal and Farfan are not even seeing time on the field there.

  3. El paso tx says:

    God MLS and garber, should have watched these games because MLS need to raise their salary cap no matter what in order to compete with mexico teams and grow MLS.
    Basically MLS will compete against mexico ligamx forever, besides competing versus nfl,nba,mlb.
    In reality, MLS will have to steal ligaMx top talent and get most if their top talent and if they have to be DPs then do it.
    Hopefully garber opens his eyes and realizes, that besides competing with nfl,nba,mlb, that MLS fans want to compete at the global stage.

    • NASL to El Paso tx says:

      I also think mls can compete in copa libertadores, besides MLS, champions and open cup but they need to raise the cap. Another thing, if MLS changes their schedule in 5 years or less, with a winter break, they would kill ligaMX because ligaMX is owned by TV contracts and underground promoters and those promoters and tv stations hate the FIFA schedule and love the split schedule due to money.
      Also, players love long seasons and MLS has that, besides safety, guaranteed contracts, a growing league, good connections.
      It’s just a matter of time, MLS kills ligaMX and these two leagues go at it just like a Europe.

      • Maykol says:

        I would hate to see what Brazilian, Chilean, and Argentinian teams would do to MLS teams especially after Cruz Azul destroyed our champions. Another thing I do not like about MLS in Libertadores is that the travel involved would be enormous.

        • Helium-3 says:

          The difference is the Mexican teams have more top level quality players (DP level) than MLS teams, .e.g. for Cruz Azul : Pavone, Formica, Fabian, Gimenez

          For SKC, who is a top level player other than Zusi and Feilhaber? Bieler is useless.

          Outside of those guys listed, MLS and Mexican teams are pretty even on a talent level. I would love to see a team like Toronto play there with the talent they have.

        • Vic says:

          Except that Mexican teams have done fairly well against Brazilian, Chilean and Argentine teams. Mexican teams have been in quarterfinals, semifinals and finals of Copa Liberadatores. Brazilian and Argentinian leagues are a little better overall than Mexican League. However, Mexican league has a lot more depth then the rest of the South American Leagues. Also remember in many leagues the top teams pull the best players from other teams. MLS teams can’t do that.

  4. kyle says:

    Need to raise salary cap yes but the timing of these games are also a huge issue these mex teams are rounding or already r rounded into form while the mls guys r still trying to find their legs. Change the timing up the cap by 1 to 2 mil and well compete

    • JayAre says:

      We need to do what the Liga MX and a lot of fringe Euro leagues do. Agree to a certain salary and when it comes time to pony up we just call financial crisis or we can become like the NFL and make our contracts really lucrative and incentive based so that way the salary cap will just be a mirage. Something!! Anything!!!… No offense to any Mexicans but when it comes to $$ Mexico isn’t usually where you go to get more that you would get in the US

      • dan says:

        Mexico is not a poor country. Most Mexicans are. The income inequality in the states is a joke compared to Mexico’s. See Carlos Slim

        • Chapo Guzman says:

          Educate yourself… the wireless connection in this jail is terrible and my driver is late again.

        • Patrick2 says:

          +1000…I tell folks this all the time. If Mexico didn’t have such a screwed up Gini coefficient it would be in great shape…of course the US doesn’t score great on the Gini either, but the pie is much bigger.

        • JayAre says:

          I’m hope you can read and comprehend. I said “Mexico isn’t usually where you go to get more that you would get in the US” meaning you will get paid more or usually get paid more for performing a certain task in the US. I did not say Mexico is poor.

  5. Griff says:

    Busch had a solid game at GK but will probably be haunted by a couple of those PKs.

    SJ definitely punched above their weight and were a joy to watch. Shame they couldn’t move on.

  6. Maykol says:

    Toluca coach Jose Cardozo after San Jose game: “They say here that football in the US has grown a lot. I honestly don’t know in what way.”

    • dan says:

      “They launched a thousand long balls …”

    • Troy in his apartment says:

      Except the offside that wasnt offside that cost san jose the match. but hey who is counting

    • Ali Dia says:

      He’s right. Even with a last gasp penalty attempt, we still can’t do better than 2-0 when our best take on theirs.

      Enjoy the table scraps you have left old man… we’re taking them, too.

    • KJ says:

      Grumpy man. His team was almost beaten by an average MLS team.

    • Cosmosfan says:

      He is right, look at the match stats…it was like watching Barcelona take on Luton town. SJ almost stole this match, credit to them for fighting but you will almost never win matches like that. The quality of the teams in MLS are simply not up to par….I’d only given them even money against a CRC team in the knock out rounds.

      • RobsterCraw says:

        you mean the quality of MLS teams that are missing 8 starters and playing with a 8000’+ elevation handicap?

        The possession stats might make you think the game was incredibly one sided, but Toluca, for all their possession and for all their coaches whining about long balls, basically did very little in the final third but whip in crosses from the wings. Especially towards the latter half of the second half and onward, SJ spent long stretches of the match looking more dangerous that Toluca, but SJ attacked more quickly when they had the ball.

      • Quit whining about soccer in the US says:

        Robster Craw

        Don’t forget a team that didn’t make the playoffs last year…and doubtful they do this year too.

  7. Bean says:


  8. Chris says:

    I really wish that our MLS teams could play MX teams a lot more. Seeing the SJ – Toluca match in person @ Buck Shaw was quite an eye-opener; man, it was a packed house, a huge Toluca fan base cheering non-stop, and on the field a hard-fought, competitive match. Yeah, it was rough, sometimes ugly, but there was an undeniably passionate vibe. The Quakes wanted to win, Toluca was confident…and as the match wore on, both sides competed as if it were being contested for “pinks.” It felt way different from every other MLS league match we’ve been to. It was awesome.

    • Quit whining about soccer in the US says:

      Amen Chris

      It was awesome.

      ps. come to Seattle, I will show you a bigger crowd and more passion. Go to Portland, wash your hands afterward, you will see way more passion.

    • Patrick2 says:

      CCL may not be a “big” tournament, but it is GOOD for MLS. These games are getting spicier every year.

  9. Travis (S.) says:

    I am surprised more people (including the writer of this article) are not talking about Gordon’s goal called off wrongly for offsides

    • Weston John says:

      That was absolutely heartbreaking. I watched that play over and over again. Almost broke out a yard stick to line up the Toluca player on the bottom of the screen with Gordon.

      Imagine the different narrative we’d be discussing today if that goal was (rightfully) allowed.

  10. Jeff Engelhardt says:

    Absolutely heartbreaking. I really think MLS is handling their growth pretty well though. Raising the salary cap drastically to compete with MX teams in the Champions League would help some teams in MLS and give a representative from the league a better chance of winning that title.

    BUT, some markets still need to grow and keeping a tighter cap keeps the parity alive, which is a good from a domestic standpoint. I don’t know if you want a Bundesliga situation where there are the same contenders year in and year out. It’s about balancing international competitiveness, which a salary cap hinders, and domestic interest, which a salary cap helps.

    • Patrick2 says:

      Well thought out comment.

    • Vic says:

      Valid points. However, some of these Mexican teams spend 10-15 million on salaries and the games are very close against MLS teams. Also, the poorer MLS teams would benefit from attendance if wealthier teams could sign better players. Maybe there could be a luxury tax on wealthier clubs that MLS could spread amongst poorer clubs.

  11. CSD says:

    My compliments to the SJ coaching staff for putting together an excellent game plan over both legs. Compliments to the players also, many of which had limited experience for sticking to the game plan. It seemed to me that SJ played smart and kept their shape but didn’t play negative. Well done and I hope other MLS teams take note of the tactics.

    • QuakerOtis says:

      Second that. Some guy on the feed was critisizing Watson most of the game… short sighted. Watson’s strategy required some lucl (Quakes style does) but that was necessary for us to even come close in the first place. In the end, we played well, and luck was not onside… though Gordon was.

  12. slyboy says:

    Hey Ives, the wrongly called back goal should really be mentioned in your writeup.

  13. RBNY says:

    Wondo really let them down with the PK miss. Thats his job.

  14. Birgit Calhoun says:

    The bad offside call by the linesman sunk them. The Earthquakes played great. They should have won. Klinsmann needs to speak up regarding refereeing. Who else is supposed make sure that the refs know what they are doing?