One game can change the trajectory of this season. Despite some concerning signs, the San Jose Earthquakes will be hoping that is the case after Saturday’s last-gasp draw with Toronto FC.
In the build-up for the 2010 World Cup, ESPN created a series of team profiles with the slogan ‘One Game Changes Everything’. And that may just be the case for the San Jose Earthquakes.
On Saturday afternoon, the lasting impression from the San Jose Earthquakes’ home opener against Toronto FC was Oswaldo Alanis’ show-stopping freekick to tie the game up at 2-2. The hope is that one game can change the trajectory of this season.
For much of the match, it felt like more of the same for San Jose, from going 2-0 down to the only brief flashes of brilliance proving to be little consolation for lapses in the final third. The result was encouraging, especially the manner of it, but the performance rose some concerns.
Toronto FC were largely the superior team. They scored the opening goal through Alejandro Pozuelo from the penalty spot after controlling the first half and looked relatively comfortable for large portions, including snatching a second immediately after half-time. But the San Jose Earthquakes were plucky, improved as the match progressed, and by the end of it, may well have deserved the point they got.
San Jose registered more shots (11 vs 10) and shots on goal (5 vs 4), though they did concede more corner kicks and fouls, illustrating the pressure they were put under by the Reds at times. Nevertheless, despite this even-matched toing and froing, in the end, it was a moment of quality from Alannis that provided that crucial stat: the equalizing goal.
Alanis took the last-gasp chance for the Earthquakes to snatch a result brilliantly, beating Quentin Westberg to send Avaya Stadium into raptures. It may be odd to celebrate a draw that much, but when you come back from 2-0 down, sometimes a draw can feel like a win. The table will still display just one point, but there is much more to be said within the dressing room.
More from MLS Multiplex
- Javier Milei Elected in Argentina: Potential Impacts on MLS and Signings of Argentine Players
- Orlando City and New York City FC in the Battle for Matías Arezo; Grêmio Enters Negotiations! Who Will Come Out on Top?
- USA, Honduras, Panama, and Canada Close in on a Spot in the 2024 Copa America
- De Gea Turns Down Al-Nassr’s Lucrative Offer: Speculation Points to Possible Reunion with Messi at Inter Miami
- Messi’s Magnetic Impact in the United States
The wild celebrations from the San Jose bench proved how significant Alannis’ late goal was. Their jumping for joy illustrates a togetherness in the squad and a reason to hope for the remainder of the future. Building momentum, comradery and support is important, especially early in the season. This is precisely what San Jose did here. Goonies never say die, and San Jose is once again embodying that spirit.
During the offseason, there was a healthy balance of skepticism and optimism surrounding San Jose. Hope for the year ahead but some questions regarding their recruitment. If anything, this game reinforced that balance.
On the one hand, San Jose earned a point against a club that reached three of the last four MLS Cups and come away feeling like they won the match. On the other, it was a last-gasp moment to prevent an opening day defeat at home, one that might well have been deserved. Goonie magic is all well and good, but requiring such late-game heroics is not a sustainable way to build long-term success. In the end, moral victories don’t provide points. They can lead to more encouraging performances and thus victories, but they are unreliable.
After their season opener, the San Jose Earthquakes, then, live in this tension of celebration and concern. But as we all know, one game changes everything, and for the Earthquakes, that might just be true.