Earthquakes' Kinnear laments close calls, crushed hopes in Colorado loss

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – The San Jose Earthquakes' postseason hopes died on Thursday night with a 2-1 road defeat to the Colorado Rapids, a disappointing result for a side which had gone unbeaten in 14 consecutive matches with Colorado dating back to 2011.

“You’ve got to win it and we didn’t win it,” Earthquakes head coach Dominic Kinnear said. “We’re officially eliminated, so that hurts, and yes, we wanted to win the game.”

Amid a cagey first half, the Quakes found themselves on the wrong end of a 1-0 scoreline heading into the break after conceding a spectacular 38th-minute header to Rapids’ forward Kevin Doyle.

With their Audi MLS Cup Playoffs lives on the line, Kinnear implored his players to refocus and regroup at the half.

“We had a talk at halftime and said ‘Look, we’ve got to get something out of this game,’” he said. “So we had to search for more goals without getting desperate.”

The second half indeed turned in San Jose’s favor, with the Earthquakes threatening on Colorado’s doorstep in the 49th minute. Chris Wondolowski tested Tim Howard with a knuckling free kick the Rapids goalkeeper spilled into a dangerous spot, but teammate Henok Goitom skied his follow-up effort well over the crossbar.

“We had more guys in the attack [in the second half],” Kinnear explained. “The first half, we were just passing it around. In the second half we had more guys forward and passed the ball better.”

The Quakes got an injection of life in the 56th minute when Wondolowski earned a penalty-kick call upon contact with Rapids defender Eric Miller. San Jose’s skipper buried the ensuing PK to level the score at 1-1. It was a controversial call by head referee Robert Sibiga, and Kinnear actually agreed with the home fans at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.

“It was just two guys going for the ball, and he called it a penalty,” Kinnear said of the play. “I think after that, he was maybe looking for something.”

A quarter of an hour later, Sibiga awarded another PK, this time in the Rapids' favor as Fatai Alashe and Dillon Powers tangled in the box on a Colorado corner. Doyle buried his effort and bagged his brace to seal the Rapids’ win.

“Alashe just fell on the ground, and he called it a penalty,” Kinnear said. “Both penalties weren’t penalties.”

With the loss, San Jose’s offseason looms. But Kinnear emphasized that his side will remain focused with two games remaining, starting with Sunday afternoon’s home match against Vancouver (5 pm ET; TSN in Canada, MLS LIVE in US).

“We have a tough turnaround because it’s Thursday and we play Sunday,” he said. “We want to get rest, because you want to finish the season off good. You don’t want to say, ‘Well, we’re done, so we’re going to play like we’re done.’ We’re not going to do that.”

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