For the last couple of games, the talk around San Jose Earthquakes head coach Dominic Kinnear has revolved around his Designated Players and their apparent lack of offensive production in 2016. Down a man on Saturday against the Philadelphia Union, one of his DPs, Simon Dawkins, answered the call when the team needed it most to salvage a point on the road in a 1-1 draw.
The test was already a tough one for San Jose coming into the match. Aside from being on the road against a solid Philadelphia team, the Quakes found themselves with an even thinner back line following the midweek suspension of center back Andres Imperiale. That, coupled with Clarence Goodson’s injury forced right back Marvell Wynne into the middle with Kofi Sarkodie earning his first start for the Quakes.
The absence of a true center back to complement Victor Bernardez was felt. Philadelphia attacked San Jose on the right side and during a four-minute stretch midway through the first half, the Union made the Quakes pay.
After a near miss on a cross in minute 26, Philadelphia earned a corner kick. An unmarked Chris Pontius beat Sarkodie to the Tranquillo Barnetta cross and delivered a powerful header for the game’s first goal.
San Jose lacked any real dangerous opportunities at the Philadelphia goal thereafter and trying to equalize in the second half became exponentially tougher when Anibal Godoy was booked for a second time in the 59th minute, sending him to an early shower. Shaun Francis botched San Jose’s best opportunity during that stretch when in the 77th minute a Matias Perez Garcia corner fell on his left foot only to have it sail high over the Philadelphia crossbar. Francis came close again two minutes later when a pretty pass from Shea Salinas found him on an overlapping run into the penalty box he just couldn’t get down.
But San Jose kept coming and in the 83rd minute, some great individual skill by Dawkins saved the day for the Quakes. After turning to face the goal some 25 yards out, Dawkins juked passed two Philadelphia defenders to set up his left foot and strike the ball past a diving Andre Blake for the equalizer. The goal was Dawkins’ first of the season and 15th of his career.
Chris Wondolowski recorded his 200th career start in MLS. Innocent made the Quakes starting XI for the first time this season.
MAN OF THE MATCH:
It’s been a mixed bag of 2016 reviews for Dawkins, a Designated Player and San Jose favorite. But Saturday, Dawkins was arguably San Jose’s best player. He connected passes on the majority of San Jose’s best offensive charges and his goal in the 83rd minute equalized the match and earned San Jose a critical road point against a good Philadelphia team.
Without a doubt, Dawkins’ goal was the turning point of the match. Up until then, an argument could have been made for the 59th minute and Godoy’s send off. Luckily for San Jose, Dawkins showed some great skill on the ball to set up a truly exquisite strike from just inside the box.
Reported attendance in Philadelphia’s Talen Energy Stadium was 16,079.
San Jose: Fatai Alashe (yellow, 31’), Anibal Godoy, 2 (yellow, 35’) (red, 59’)
Fatai Alashe come out of the match in the 85th minute and he appeared to be walking gingerly. Quincy Amarikwa was not in the lineup after hurting himself in last week’s win over Kansas City.
It’s a two-game road swing for the Quakes who will travel to Seattle and face the Sounders next Saturday. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m. and you can catch the action on CSN Bay Area.