Up a goal and a man at home, the San Jose Earthquakes had no excuse not to take all three points, even if they were playing Real Salt Lake. But despite being up a man, they allowed Salt Lake to score an equalizer. It looked like it would be even worse when they got to play the last 21 minutes against nine men after RSL was shown a second red card and the Quakes couldn't score. Once stoppage time began, though, San Jose finally found an answer, scoring twice to move atop the Western Conference with a 3-1 win.
The Quakes had chances in the early going. Jason Hernandez headed over the bar from close range and Khari Stephenson hit the bar another time, but when Fabian Espindola was sent off for a two-footed challenge in the 29th minute is when things really started to go the way of the home side.
Stephenson came close to scoring twice on free kicks, stinging the palms of Nick RImando on one occasion and forcing him to push the ball over the bar on another. Just before the half, the midfielder finally did beat Rimando, getting on the end of a cross. He nodded the ball down and when it bounced up, Rimando was able to get a hand to it, but not enough of one to keep it out of the goal.
At halftime, the most popular question was "how many will San Jose win by", not "will San Jose win." That looked like it might be foolish because Kyle Beckerman scored a brilliant goal just after the break to get the visitors even. A run from deep saw him going at the Quakes defense without support, but he danced past one defender who went to ground and cut past another to leave himself a simple finish. Salt Lake was even and San Jose was stunned.
Still up a man, San Jose kept the pressure on Salt Lake, but they just couldn't find a goal. Chris Wondolowski just missed the frame on one occasion and they looked unsure how to attack on others.
Salt Lak gave San Jose more hope in the 69th minute when Steven Lenhart got on the other side of Jamison Olave, forcing the defender to take Lenhart down. The referee ruled it to be a denial of a goalscoring opportunity and once he made that decision, he had to send Olave off.
As the 90th minute hit, the Quakes looked destined for a horribly disappointing draw, but in the 92nd minute, Steven Beitashour fed Simon Dawkins for the go-ahead goal. A minute late, Wondolowski scored for the league-leading eighth time this season to put a bow on things as San Jose avoided an awful draw and instead picked up a key win.