SANTA CLARA -- Earthquakes forward Alan Gordon said the team played great in his first start of the season, but a mental mistake by him may have cost them a victory against the Vancouver Whitecaps Saturday night.
The Quakes and Whitecaps battled to a 1-1 draw in front of a sellout crowd of 10,525 at Buck Shaw Stadium in the MLS Western Conference.
Vancouver (2-2-1) tied the feisty match in the 62nd minute on a goal by Corey Hertzog during a meltdown by the Quakes, who had only nine men on the field during the sequence.
Gordon had gone to the sideline before the goal to change his footwear after teammate Sam Cronin was fouled. Coincidentally, Quakes center back Victor Bernardez also went over to change his cleats. But the duo was not immediately allowed to re-enter the game by referee Fotis Bazakos.
Thus, they stood on the sideline and watched as the Whitecaps celebrated.
"I thought I was going to stay on the field and do a quick switch, so they kind of pushed us out and we got stuck," Gordon said. "I didn't expect that. Lesson learned."
A night that shaped up as a celebration of the reunion of Gordon and Steven Lenhart, who made his season debut after entering in the 69th minute, ended with dour expressions by the Quakes.
Chris Wondolowski's third goal of the season in the 18th minute off a double-assist from Gordon and Shea Salinas gave the Quakes a 1-0 lead.
Everything was making sense for San Jose (2-2-2) until about the 62nd minute. In the FIFA Laws of the Game, it states that any player required to leave the field of play to repair his equipment must not re-enter without the referee's permission.
Vancouver coach Martin Rennie expressed surprise that two Quakes players changed their footwear at the same time.
Gordon said he thought the Quakes' trainer would come out to attend to Cronin, thus giving him time to change his shoes. He'd already switched footwear once because "we were having problems slipping out there," he said. But he opted to switch back because his other cleats are better suited for his tender foot.