On Saturday, the joint-top team in the Eastern Conference, the Philadelphia Union, faced off against San Jose Earthquake. Before the match, the Union had a record of 4-0-3, and their 12 points had them tied with Montreal Impact for the top spot in the East. Montreal drew on Saturday, but the Union showed the same weaknesses of prior seasons and could not seal the deal to take first place outright.
It was a bit of a messy start to the match, with the Union getting slightly more action but unable to capitalise on their chances until midfielder Chris Pontius headed in a corner kick swung in towards the back post by ex-Schalke playmaker Tranquillo Barnetta. The Union dominated the next half-hour from then on, with in-form striker CJ Sapong missing a sitter in front of an empty net high off of a cross, similar to that miss from San Jose’s star man, Chris Wondolowski in the 2014 World Cup.
After about 60 minutes, things got extremely compelling. San Jose holding midfielder Anibal Godoy got sent off with a second yellow to put the visitors down to 10 men. Once that happened, it seemed as though the ‘Quakes got a wake-up call, and they finally started attacking. It took 23 minutes after the red card for Jamaica’s Simon Dawkins to carve up the Union defense for an unassisted goal to salvage a point for his team.
It was a lost opportunity for the hosts at Talen Energy Stadium, but San Jose did a very good job to get the draw. Dawkins stepped up for his team while USMNT vet Wondolowski seemed like he was not there, and the Jamaican got some bragging rights over national teammate and Union ‘keeper Andre Blake as a result for his skillful goal.