There were two long home winning streaks going into Wednesday night clashes for the San Jose Earthquakes and the New York Red Bulls.
Neither team had lost an MLS game at their home stadium this season. (San Jose lost one home game this season, but it took place at AT&T Park in San Francisco). In fact, San Jose’s home winning streak at Buck Shaw stadium goes as far back as August of 2011.
Portland at San Jose
For a good portion of the game Wednesday in Santa Clara, after Portland took a 2-0 lead in the 62nd minute, it looked like one other streak would be coming to an end, as well. Portland was hoping to get their first win on the road for the 2012 season; the Timbers had not won on the road in 13 games before the match.
But, right about the same time as Portland was scoring their second goal, the MLS leading goal-scorer made his entrance as a substitute and refused to let his team lose. Chris Wondolowski took over the game with an incredible amount of energy and fight.
He played like a player who was battling with more on the line; he was constantly angry with the Portland dives and efforts to delay the game, and he rallied his team. Eventually, he took advantage of two key opportunities and tied the game with his 20th and 21st goals of the season.
It was a tie to save the home unbeaten streak and it was also the kind of tie at home that felt like a win. Down two goals late, and the Quakes did what few teams can do.
Sporting KC at New York
The same story happened for a while at Red Bull stadium in Harrison, New Jersey. Unfortunately, for the Red Bulls, they had no comeback in them after falling down 2-0 early to Sporting KC.
They ended up losing their first home game of the season. The Red Bulls looked overmatched. Sporting KC came in, took the lead, and hung on for the win, while the Red Bulls struggled to mount any serious shots on goal.
First place was on the line in the Eastern Conference, but Sporting showed they are the obvious class of the conference. The two electric forwards, Sapong and Kamara, each scored in fine fashion, while Sporting KC’s defense held strong and didn’t give New York any chances.
It was a definitive season-marking win on the road for KC, and the game broke an undefeated home streak of 13 for the Red Bulls in 2012.
Howard Alperin is Managing Editor of AmericanizeSoccer.com