Quakes settle for 2-2 draw with Dallas
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Needing a win to continue their assault on the top of the Western Conference standings, the San Jose Earthquakes instead settled for a 2-2 draw against FC Dallas in a match that featured three red card ejections.

After jumping out to a two goal lead in the opening 16 minutes of the game through Alan Gordon and Steven Beitashour, the Quakes (9-10-7, 34 points) surrendered a goal to Blas Perez and a penalty kick to Michel to allow FCD (9-7-10, 37 points) a share of the spoils.

The match turned on a controversial play from referee Baldomero Toledo to award Dallas a penalty kick on an apparent dive from Perez leading to Michel’s equalizer. Straight red cards to San Jose’s Justin Morrow and Victor Bernardez, tempered somewhat by the dismissal of FCD’s Kenny Cooper, could not be overcome, and the Earthquakes hung on for the draw.

In 12 previous road games this season, the Quakes have scored two goals on only three occasions. Against Dallas, they matched that total in the game’s first 16 minutes as they wrested early control of the match.

Gordon, making the 100th start of his MLS career, slammed home a shot from the top of the area after some nifty work by midfielder Cordell Cato. Receiving a contested pass along the left touchline, Cato emerged with the ball and drove to the byline before cutting a pass back to Gordon for the eighth minute goal.

Double the time later, the Quakes doubled their lead through unlikely goalscorer Beitashour. Known more for providing assists in the attacking third, the fullback made a late overlapping run into the area and was picked out by Rafael Baca with a perfectly floated pass over the defense. With the same cultured foot that he delivered the assist on Chris Wondolowski’s game winning goal a week ago, Beitashour volley the ball past a diving Raul Fernandez to take the San Jose lead to 2-0.

The home side Hoops rebounded quickly as Panamanian international Perez toe-poked a shot past Jon Busch in the 19th minute to cut the deficit to 2-1. The Quakes defenders, pulled forward to the edge of the area on a free kick delivery by Michel, allowed Je-Vaughn Watson to head a ball into space that Perez reached just ahead of Busch.

Playing with renewed confidence, FCD twice came close to earning an equalizer, but Busch was able to preserve the Earthquakes advantage. In the 24th minute, the ‘keeper blocked away a powerful uncontested shot by David Ferreira inside the area that looked destined to hit the back of the net. Two minutes later, Busch correctly read a cross to the far post intended for Erick and punched the ball away from danger.

As the clock approached halftime, the Earthquakes felt they had a shout for a penalty, but referee Toledo waved off what appeared to be foul on Wondolowski and let play continue. An angry Wondolowski was shown yellow for dissent as he argued his case to an unconvinced Toledo, and San Jose had to settle for a 2-1 lead at intermission.

A cagey start to the second half for the Quakes led to little in the way of offensive chances for Dallas as the visitors stayed solid in the back. Content to control possession when they could and clear the ball when necessary, San Jose’s defense frustrated FCD at every turn. And even when it was breached, Busch was there to clean up any loose balls.

Unfortunately for the Quakes, Toledo, who earlier denied San Jose a penalty call, gifted Dallas a spot kick in the 69th minute. After taking a poor first touch on a pass into the area, Perez collapsed to the ground very easily on a challenge from Earthquakes captain Bernardez and was awarded a penalty. Brazilian set piece specialist Michel stepped up to the spot and chipped a perfect kick inside the left post as Busch guessed right, and FCD completed its comeback from a two goal deficit to draw level at 2-2.

The Earthquakes fell on the wrong side of another Toledo decision in the 82nd minute when second half substitute Morrow was red carded for a tackle from behind on Ramon Nunez. And not content to let the players on the field decide the game, Toledo showed red cards to both Bernardez and Cooper three minutes later after an altercation between the two bruising players.

Even a man down, the Earthquakes took their chances on offense in an effort to reacquire the lead. Instead, following 4 minutes of stoppage time, San Jose had to settle for a point on the night against a team it desperately hoped with a win to overtake in the Western Conference playoff chase.

The Quakes will travel directly from Dallas to Guatemala to face Heredia in a CONCACAF Champions League match in midweek before returning to Southern California for their next league match against chief rival LA Galaxy next Saturday.