FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - The New England Revolution were unable to stop their skid at home Saturday night as they fell 2-1 to the San Jose Earthquakes at Gillette Stadium. Both teams had been previously eliminated from playoff contention and were competing for naught but pride and jobs.
San Jose opened the scoring through Chris Wondolowski in the first half. Benny Feilhaber's daring effort in the second stanza canceled that led, but it would be Wondo's 14th goal of the season that decided the affair late in the match. Benny's goal was the first he's scored at home this season, while Wondolowski's put him in a three-way tie for the lead in the MLS Golden Boot race, joining Thierry Henry and Dwayne De Rosario.
New England nearly leaped out to an early lead in the second minute. Monsef Zerka sent in a dangerous cross from the left that found the head of Chris Tierney, still advanced from a previous corner, but the fullback's header sailed wide.
San Jose then showed the Revs how to take the early advantage. David Bingham's 8th-minute long ball found Chris Wondolowski flying behind the defense, having left Ryan Cochrane for dead. Wondo settled the ball and then ripped a shot to the far post, beating Bobby Shuttleworth and granting the Earthquakes the lead.
Two minutes later, Ramiro Corrales nearly doubled the lead, but his near-post header was caught easily by Shuttleworth. A minute later, Zerka tried a left-footed half-volley from about 22 yards that bounced into the turf before being scooped up by Bingham. Zerka tried something similar in the 15th when he collected an accidental layoff from Milton Caraglio, but his volley buzzed over the crossbar.
Some enterprising play from Diego Fagundez nearly created a Revolution equalizer in the 17th minute. The youngster dribbled inside and cut across the box before laying a great floor pass to a wide-open Zerka on the left. The Moroccan dwelt too long on the ball, though, and when he eventually took the shot it was blocked in the box.
The immediate San Jose counter to that move found the head of Khari Stephenson, who lays it back to Wondolowski. The golden boot candidate touched forward and then ripped a low shot that skimmed just wide of the right post. Another end-to-end sequence played out in the 24th minute, when an attempted bicycle kick from Zerka scuffed wide and was immediately followed by a Corrales shot that soared over the bar.
Caraglio had a golden chance to score in the 26th minute when a Ryan Guy cross set up a tantalizing chance, but his header went way, way wide. In the 29th minute, a Darrius Barnes long throw soared into the middle of the area, where Fagundez tried an overhead effort of his own that went wide.
Feilhaber had a low shot miss narrowly wide in the 36th minute, and then Stephenson had the last chance of the half in the 43rd with a low shot of his own that buzzed wide of the near post.
Milton Caraglio made sure the Revs had the first chance of the second half, too, when he juggled a ball up to himself and tried a bicycle kick - the third such attempt of the night for a New England player - that went well wide. It was, however, collected by Fagundez, who whipped in a left-footed cross to the unmarked head of Shalrie Joseph, but the captain's effort was high and wide.
This time, though, San Jose did not respond with a goal; rather, New England celebrated their first strike of the match in the 55th minute after a zany sequence. Chris Tierney struck a low free kick that trickled under the wall to Zerka, who dribbled out and laid the ball off to Guy outside the box. The diminutive winger blasted an absolute laser on goal, and although Bingham managed to get a hand to it the ball did not fall very far out. Caraglio headed it back toward goal, where it bounded off the crossbar and into the path of Benny Feilhaber, who went lateral with an acrobatic scissor-kick to bury it from inside the six.
The Revs followed that up with two quick chances that almost granted them the lead. In the 61st minute, Ryan Guy delivered an excellent cross to the head of Caraglio, who kept his effort on frame but had it caught by Bingham. Then, a minute later, Fagundez took the Quakes' defense on and dribbled to the edge of the area before unleashing a low drive that was deflected wide of the goal.
Simon Dawkins showed some nice footwork in the 69th minute to dribble in on goal but Shuttleworth had the angle covered and smothered his effort. Caraglio then beat a man to take the ball in on the left at the other end but dragged his shot wide of the near post. The 77th minute saw Dawkins test Shuttleworth again, this time from 20 yards, but once again the young backup keeper had it well-handled. He was forced to stay sharp in the 81st minute when Rafael Baca played a good little sequence with Stephenson that resulted in a powerful shot, but once again Shuttleworth was equal to the task.
He would not be able to bail the Revs out again in the 82nd minute. Simon Dawkins played in Sam Cronin down the right side, where he knocked an excellent far-post cross to Wondolowski. The former Chico State star had only to touch his head to it and slip it inside the post from point-blank range, and he was never going to miss from there.
Wondo nearly completed his hat-trick in the 85th minute after turning Alston, but his volley attempt rolled weakly to a relieved Shuttleworth instead of bulging the net. In stoppage time, the Revs had a final chance at an equalizer when Fagundez played in Feilhaber on the right with a great diagonal ball. Benny played a great cross that had Caraglio standing at the open goalmouth from about two yards, but he somehow managed to push it wide of the far post when it was easier to score.