Photo by USA Today Sports Images
By TYLER GRAY
With one team fighting for their playoff lives, and the other looking to maintain their standing, the stage was set for a physical 90 minutes when Real Salt Lake visited Buck Shaw Stadium to take on the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday night.
The Western Conference sides played to a 1-1 draw, with Sam Cronin and Javier Morales trading goals on a night that saw a controversial penalty call award RSL the equalizing penalty kick.
With the Seattle Sounders starting to pull away at the top of the Western conference, RSL were in desperate need of points to keep pace in the Supporters’ Shield race. Things didn’t start out the way the visitors were hoping when an early miscue led to an easy opening goal.
RSL threw the ball in but were unable to secure it before San Jose forward Chris Wondolowski pounced and took it to the endline. The Earthquakes’ captain centered the ball to a wide-open Cronin in the box who took a small touch to cut back and get some space before firing a low shot into the back of the net.
RSL’s equalizer came from the spot after referee David Gantar ruled that Jason Hernandez fouled Olmes Garcia in the penalty area. Morales buried his attempt after his signature stutter-step fooled San Jose goalkeeper Jon Busch into diving the wrong way, making it 1-1.
RSL continued to press for the game winner with San Jose content to sit back and absorb pressure, striking quickly on the break. Homegrown product Tommy Thompson was particularly bright, displaying brilliant touch and good vision on a number of occasions, but the Quakes were unable to capitalize, leaving the scoreline 1-1.
Here are the highlights: