“It doesn’t matter about their record, it doesn’t matter that they probably won’t make the playoffs,” said Earthquakes keeper Jon Busch. “Unfortunately, we were a little casual tonight … hopefully it’s a wake-up call.”
San Jose's offense didn't get a whole lot going. Forward Ryan Johnson gave his thoughts after the match.
“This is lesson learned for us, because there were a lot of things that went wrong, and this will be a learning experience for us," said Johnson. "We can take positives out of this, and it is better that this happens now, rather than later, or maybe even in the playoffs. We just need to learn from it and move on.”
Goals: Steven Kinney (Chi, 39th); Freddie Ljungberg (Chi, 72nd); Patrick Nyarko (Chi., 90+)
Cautions: Krzysztof Krol (Chi, 50th); Geovanni (SJ, 75th)
San Jose came out with the fire -- no pun -- to begin this game. It only took just over a minute and they were inside Chicago's defensive third putting pressure on Sean Johnson in net.
A switch of the field got Chris Wondolowski open on the right flank. The Quakes leading scorer sent a cross into Ryan Johnson and the Fire defense knocked it out for a corner. Geovanni got the ball just outside the box from the corner and took a shot, but it went wide of the target.
Johnson had another chance at goal when Chris Leitch lofted in a ball into the box in the eighth minute. Johnson headed it toward the target, but it just missed over the upper 90.
San Jose lost a little bit of its steam after the opening aggression but picked it up in the 16th minute. Geovanni took a hit from 30 yards out that Johnson had to dive to push out. On the corner, Khari Stephenson won the 50-50 ball, but his header just whistled wide.
Wondolowski had the Quakes best chance in the 23rd minute, getting behind a Bobby Convey cross to the back post. His header appeared to be hit down with a hand, but was not called. Two subsequent corners proved unsuccessful.
Since Wondolowski couldn't score from close, he tried from distance. In the 28th minute, he nearly scored from 40 yards out, beating Johnson to the far post, but just missing wide.
San Jose made a quick counter in the 36th minute, and Convey hit a cross to the back post from the right flank. Ryan Johnson was on the other end of it, diving to head it for the far post, beating Sean Johnson, but missing just wide.
After all the Quakes chances, it was the Fire who got on the board first.
Freddie Ljungberg found Steven Kinney in the middle of the San Jose area on the second of consecutive corners in the 39th minute. Quakes keeper Jon Busch saved the first corner, but on Kinney's header, he was just a step too slow, getting a hand on it, but it continued into the goal.
Kinney's tally was Chicago's first goal in 402 minutes and the first goal San Jose allowed at home in five matches. Chicago took that 1-0 lead into the locker room at halftime.
San Jose came out of the locker rooms -- after watching the induction of Ronald Cerritos to the Earthquakes Hall of Fame -- and came out with some passion.
Wondolowski created a couple chances for the Quakes in the 47th minute, but the Fire defense was packed in the area and kept it from reaching Johnson's goal.
It was Wondolowski again in the 51st minute, getting into the Fire area and targeting the near post, but missed wide for a goal kick. San Jose's pressure began to tilt the field in their favor.
Chicago had a quality chance in the 52nd minute with John Thorrington sprinting behind the Quakes defense. Busch raced off his line and the two collided with Busch making the stop on Thorrington's chip shot. After lying on the ground for a minute, both got up, and continued to play.
Ryan Johnson and Wondolowski teamed up in the 57th minute, coming close to getting the equalizer. Johnson streaked down the left flank and sent in a cross to the back post for Wondolowski who hit it first time, but Sean Johnson batted it out to keep San Jose scoreless.
Chicago had a couple chances in the 67th minute to double its lead, but the Quakes defense stepped up to the task. First, Calen Carr took a shot from distance that Busch pushed out. On the corner, San Jose's defense forced a difficult shot that the Fire hit wide.
Kinney came up from his defensive position in the run of play in the 70th minute and tried to tally a brace, but his shot for the far post was snagged by Busch, who laid out to grab it.
Two minutes after Kinney's rush up field, the Fire made another counter attack, but this time the ball was at the feet of a goal scorer.
Patrick Nyarko was running up the left flank and sent a square ball to Ljungberg who split two defenders to get free in the Quakes area. With Busch sprinting off his line, Ljungberg calmly slotted the ball past the onrushing keeper and into the net for a two-goal lead.
San Jose, despite their rushes down the field on a number of occasions, was unable to create any threatening chance on Johnson's goal for the duration of the match.
Meanwhile, in stoppage time, Nyarko -- a second-half sub -- added to his nice night, scoring a goal under the outstretched arms of Busch, assisted by Ljungberg.