[MLS] Invisible for the first 80 minutes, MLS scoring champion Chris Wondolowski scored the winning goal that gave the visiting San Jose Earthquakes a 3-1 win over the New York Red Bulls that sent them through to Eastern Conference final with a 3-2 aggregate win.
The star, though, was Bobby Convey with the first two Quakes goals and the
assist on the Wondo winner. Despite finishing the game with three Designated Players on the field, Red Bulls coach Hans Backe admitted, "We weren't good
Convey picked up a loose ball to score the equalizer in the 6th minute, and the Quakes spent the rest of the first half holding off the Red Bull charge.
Convey, moved to left back after Ramiro Corrales came off injured late in the first half, put San Jose ahead on aggregate when he won a ball in midfield and combined with Ryan Johnson and Arturo Alvarez before eluding New York rookie sensation Tim Ream and blasting the ball past a flailing Bouna Coundoul in the New York goal.
Juan Agudelo, 17, again started in place of the injured Thierry Henry and was rewarded for his enterprise all evening when he lifted a ball across the San Jose to Juan Pablo Angel, who scored what will probably be his last goal for New York on an open header at the far post two minutes later.
But the Quakes came back with the third goal in five minutes when Convey lofted a long ball from the left side to Wondolowski at the far post for the deciding goal.
"It was a rough second half," said Backe. "We controlled it. But at the decisive moments, we weren't good enough. We had a lot of chances, but they scored when they needed to."
Backe threw on Henry and Jeremy Hall and Salou Ibrahim for the last six minutes, and the Frenchman missed an open header that would have sent the series to overtime.
Henry ($5.6 million annual salary) and Rafael Marquez ($5.54 million) joined the Red Bulls in mid-season when they were already on their way toward turning themselves around after a last-place season in 2009.
But Henry, who had not played since Oct. 12, and Angel (the third DP), who put several free kicks well over the bar, couldn't connect when it counted, and Marquez had a rough game in midfield against the Earthquakes.
San Jose will face the winner of the Columbus-Colorado series next week.
Nov. 4 in Harrison, N.J.
New York 1 San Jose 3. Goals: Convey 1 (Sealy 1, Johnson 1) 6, Convey 2 (Alvarez 1) 76, Wondolowski 1 (Convey 1) 81; Angel 1 (Agudelo 1) 78.
New York -- Coundoul, Albright (Hall, 84), Mendes (Ibrahim, 84), Ream, Miller, Richards, Lindpere, Marquez, Ballouchy, Agudelo (Henry, 84), Angel.
San Jose -- Busch, Ward, Hernandez, McDonald, Corrales (Eduardo, 46), Wondolowski, Cronin, Sealy, Convey, Geovanni (Alvarez, 75), Johnson.
Yellow Cards: San Jose -- Corrales 32, Busch 81.
Referee: Mark Geiger.
(San Jose wins 3-2 on aggregate.)