SANTA CLARA CA - SEPTEMBER 15: Bobby Convey #11 congratulates Chris Wondolowski #8 of the San Jose Earthquakes after winning a game against the Philadelphia Union on September 15 2010 at Buck Shaw Stadium in Santa Clara California. Wondolowksi scored the only goal in the Earthquakes' 1-0 win. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

Wondolowski Hat Trick Is Enough For Earthquakes

Catch the Earthquakes at 1:00 pm PST on MLS Direct Kick and KDOW 1220 radio

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8 Total Updates since September 25, 2010
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San Jose Survives Frenetic Finish For 3-2 Win In Toronto

It took lots of desperate defending and Chris Wondolowski’s first career hat trick, but San Jose earned three critical road points and, at least momentarily moved into 4th place in the Western Conference, just four points behind FC Dallas. They also moved six points clear of Kansas City, the first team out of the playoffs based on current standings.

Wondolowski’s three goals moves him into 3rd amongst all MLS goal scorers on the season, and his hat trick is just the 3rd in San Jose’s franchise history.

The Quakes return home to play Chicago in another chance to climb higher in the playoff race.

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Quakes Must Sweat Out Last 10 Minutes: Toronto Goal Cuts Lead to 3-2

Maicon Santos has scored for Toronto and San Jose must now hold on if they want to escape Toronto with 3 points. Despite two 2nd half goals from Chris Wondolowski Toronto has increasingly controlled the ball and created chances, and they’ve clawed their way back into a game that San Jose will feel should have been over by now.

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Wondolowski Scores Hat Trick To Immediately Respond To De Rosario Goal: 3-1 San Jose!

Dwayne De Rosario scored on a one timed shot high over Jon Busch for his 12th goal of the season, but Chris Wondolowski responded almost immediately to record on of the few hat tricks in San Jose franchise history. Toronto had been threatening the goal and momentarily San Jose’s chances for a win seemed in danger, but clearly Wondolowski is not to be denied today.

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Chris Wondolowski Scores Again For 2nd Half 2-0 Lead

San Jose has perhaps sealed the game after Chris Wondolowski earned a brace with his second goal. The Quakes broke on the counter and surprise starter Ryan Johnson successfully got the ball to Wondolowski on a cross to score from the left side past the post.

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Quakes Take 1-0 Lead Into Halftime

Chris Wondolowski’s 3rd minute goal has stood up thus far and San Jose is 45 minute away from another important victory against a playoff race opponent. Scoring chances have been few and far between since the early spot kick, though San Jose has put the most shots on goal and Geovanni came quite close to scoring late in the half.

On a side note: Trying to describe a soccer game you are following on the radio is one of the single most frustratingly difficult things someone can attempt to do.

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San Jose Looks To Move Up The Table Against Toronto

The Earthquakes are finding themselves in foreign territory as the season moves closer to its conclusion:  playoff contenders and perhaps away favorites. But they will almost certainly face a tough task against Toronto FC today. If San Jose earns the away win Toronto's playoff chances would be crippled - they would fall eight points back with just six games left. But a win and Toronto's playoff deficit would be just two. So this is a huge swing game for both teams and a win will leave San Jose feeling very secure in their postseason ambitions.

Toronto does not come in to this game in good form. A 2-1 win over Colorado stands as their only win in any competition since mid August. That 2-1 win is also the only game in that span in which Toronto has scored multiple goals. Jon Busch and the San Jose defense will like their chances to hold onto a clean sheet at home today.

For San Jose a major question will be the health of Khari Stephenson, who struggled in San Jose's last game with an ankle sprain. He has had a full 10 days to recover, but if he's not ready to go it will be interesting to see how Frank Yallop structures the San Jose attack and who will play at forward and attacking midfield.

Players to Watch:

Dwayne De Rosario: Toronto's captain and first choice striker has been the driving force in their attack all season, continuing his long career of MLS success. With 11 league goals he has accounted for almost half of their production on the season.This won't come as any surprise to Frank Yallop, who coached De Rosario for a number of years earlier this decade in San Jose. If Yallop and the Quake defense control him it's unlikely Toronto will find another source for goals.

Stefan Frei: Rarely can we say that a Swiss international player is also a local boy, but as a Cal and De La Salle student and potential Swiss goalkeeper of the future Frei indeed maintains both labels. Frei captured the starting goalkeeper position in Toronto very quickly out of college and is generally considered one of the better keepers in the MLS.

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Wondolowski Buries Penalty Kick For Early Quake Lead

Chris Wondolowski has added to his team leading goal tally by taking advantage of a penalty drawn by Bobby Convey on Toronto defender Dan Gargan. He now has ten goals on the season after sending the spot kick into the upper left corner past Stefan Frei. Convey drew the penalty by reaching a loose ball in the box first, though apparently there was some controversy to the call.

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Starting Lineups Announced

Here are San Jose’s starting 11:

Goalkeeper: Jon Busch
Defenders: Tim Ward, Jason Hernandez, Brandon McDonald, Chris Leitch
Midfielders: Bobby Convey, Sam Cronin, Khari Stephenson, Geovanni
Forwards: Ryan Johnson, Chris Wondolowski

MLS gametracker has Geovanni listed as a forward and Wondolowski listed as a midfielder – I would be surprised if Chris plays in that position on the field. Perhaps Frank Yallop has opted for an ultra-aggressive three striker formation, but I would guess that Geovanni will be playing as a wing midfielder on the right side.

And for the visiting team from Toronto:

Goalkeeper: Stefan Frei
Defenders: Ty Harden, Adrian Cann, Raivis Hscanovics, Nick Garcia
Midfielders: Dwayne De Rosarios, Dan Gargan, Julian de Guzman, Jacob Peterson
Forwards: Maicon dos Santos, Chad Barrett

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