A trio of goals at the start of the second half spurred the San Jose Earthquakes to defeat Austin FC 4-0 on Wednesday night at PayPal Park.

Sebastián Driussi nearly gave the visitors an early lead when his ferocious full volley from the edge of the area stung the palms of Earthquakes goalkeeper JT Marcinkowski. The game remained scoreless until halftime in large part thanks to Brad Stuver, who did well in the 41st minute to close the angle on San Jose striker Jeremy Ebobisse and make the save in a one-on-one situation.

But Javier “Chofis” López immediately broke the deadlock to open the second half, capitalizing on a defensive error to fire San Jose in front from close range in the 47th minute. The Earthquakes would then double their lead six minutes later through a quick counterattack which Benjamin Kikanovic polished off.

Austin nearly pulled itself right back into the match after falling two goals behind, but Tanner Beason blocked Driussi’s deflected effort on the goal line. Chris Wondolowski then popped up to put the result beyond doubt in the 59th minute, and Carlos Fierro added a fourth goal for the hosts in the 85th minute to ensure the Earthquakes earned all three points on the night.

THREE THINGS

  • MORE MCKINZE: Forward and Austinite McKinze Gaines made his sixth consecutive appearance since his September 18 debut. Look for the new fan favorite to get more time as the inaugural season comes to a close.
  • SECOND HALF STRUGGLES: The Verde & Black have conceded nine goals in their last four matches, with seven of those nine conceded in second halves.
  • TEXAS FOR THE TAKING: Austin’s next two fixtures are both against its in-state rivals. Beating both Houston Dynamo FC this Sunday and FC Dallas next Saturday would see ATXFC earn the most points of any Texas team from intra-Texas matchups this season.

QUOTABLES

  • Head Coach Josh Wolff on the early second half goals: “It was a pretty solid, disciplined first half and we competed well and we certainly didn’t give up a lot. Like I said before, we should create more. But it’s difficult, you give up a goal and now you have to go chase it a little bit, you’re on the road against a team that can make it challenging in transition.”
  • Austin FC midfielder Diego Fagundez on the team’s performance: “It’s a hard one to take, but I don’t think anyone gave up. It was an off day for everybody, and it’s nothing that we can blame anybody for. I think we just have to look forward and keep going.”
  • Wolff on what’s ahead: “We’ve got to come out and focus on just winning the next game. Coming at home and obviously getting these guys into a place physically, seeing how many of them can turn around and do it again and be ready for Houston. We know it’s an intra-state game and it’s a nice rivalry game to wind our guys up for, it’s important to the players, it’s important to the fans.”