SAN JOSE, Calif. – (ABC4 Sports) – Real Salt Lake had a chance to move back above the playoff line with a victory over the team directly above them in the MLS Western Conference standings.
But RSL could not take advantage of that opportunity.
MLS all-time leading goal scorer Chris Wondolowski scored two goals, as San Jose put a major dent in RSL’s playoff hopes with a 2-0 victory.
RSL stays below the playoff line, two points behind Vancouver with two games remaining.
“We all, as players, have to look at ourselves in the mirror and say, ‘This was far from good and this was far from a performance that you have to do to get into the playoffs,” midfielder Albert Rusnak said. “Maybe there’s some mathematical chance that we can still get in. We just lost it tonight, and we made it difficult.”
San Jose jumped on top in the 16th minute, when Cristian Espinoza’s shot deflected off the post right to the feet of Wondolowksi, who easily tapped in his 164th career goal to give the Earthquakes a 1-0 lead at the half.
It stayed that way until the 73rd minute, when Shea Salinas centered a ball that took a deflection off of Real Salt Lake defender Justen Glad, and fell right to a wide open Wondolowski, who buried his second goal of the night. The brace gave him 165 career MLS goals.
“It took us until the closing ten minutes of the first half to really start playing,” said head coach Freddy Juarez. “We started playing with a little bit of confidence and being more aggressive in moments and trying to get forward. In the second half, we started well, but the goals were too easy. You don’t give yourself a chance when you give up goals like that.”
RSL, coming off a 24-shot, zero-goal performance against FC Dallas, had nine shots against San Jose, but could not put any on frame.
Real Salt Lake (5-8-7) next plays at the L.A. Galaxy Sunday night at 8:30 p.m before wrapping up the season at home against Sporting Kansas City. RSL may need to win both games to have a shot at the playoffs.
“At this point we’ve got nothing to lose,” defender Aaron Herrera said. “Our only chance of getting into the playoffs is winning. This one hurts right now, it’s been a tough year all around and we’ve just got to do everything to get six points in these next two games. It doesn’t matter what system we play, or what our tactics are, we’ve just got to give everything we have these next two games. You never know what can happen.”