San Jose 1 : 1 Toluca
Alan Gordon has scored exactly this kind of goal too
many times now for it to be called a fluke or a whim of the soccer gods. In the
95th minute, he headed San Jose's equalizing goal against Mexican
Under no illusions as to the task that faced them, the
MLS team, whose season hasn’t even started, came out strong against the high
flying Mexican team (currently lying in 2nd place in Liga MX 10
games into their season). Toluca held possession a lot of the time but they didn’t
seem to be in any hurry to do much with it.
During the entire first half they made
just a handful of moves into the San Jose penalty area and managed two shots on
goal. When they did have the ball, San Jose showed some close
passing understanding that would seem to bode well for them if built upon once
their season starts.
The Quakes were without defender Clarence Goodson who
was suspended for yellow card accumulation. The defense held a good shape for
the most part but there were times when Toluca players Carlos Esquivel and
Edgar Benitez were allowed to wander into so much space it was a good job
neither of them suffered from agoraphobia.
San Jose had definitely upped their pace for this game,
this was no MLS mid-season stroll around midfield. They 4 first half shots on
goal, with a Steven Lenhart header being scooped off the line closely followed
by massive shouts for handball that FIFA referee Walter Quesada ignored.
The half ended 0-0. Halftime entertainment was largely
provided by the sizable Toluca fan contingent and the San Jose Ultras chanting
and gesticulating their opinions of and towards each other. Wrestling masks, red forked
tails, and devil head masks were dotted here and there among the Mexican fans.
In the 67th minute a sliced clearance by
Jason Hernandez fell into the path of advancing Toluca striker Raul Nava who
took the shot on the volley to score with a truly world class finish. San Jose’s reaction to going a goal down at home pretty
much against the run of play was to not fold. Instead in the last 20 minutes
they dragged the energy from somewhere to launch multiple attacks on the Toluca
goal. There were goal mouth scrambles that left Quakes fan clutching their
heads, wondering how the ball didn’t end up in the net. Lenhart hit the
woodwork with a header. Cordelll Cato, who showed tireless running and clever
feet, played Wondolowski on right in front of Alfredo Talavera but the Toluca keeper
stood his ground perfectly positioned to deny the goal.
With 20 minutes to go Alan Gordon and JJ Koval came on
for Sam Cronin and Jason Hernandez. With the Utras chanting “we’re gonna win in
Toluca” San Jose managed a good deal of possession in the latter stages of the
game. Toluca pretty much sat back apparently secure in their one goal lead.
The 4th official indicated a minimum of 4
additional minutes, after a couple of the Toluca players had managed to have a
nice little lie down while practicing for their Oscar nominations.