SANTA CLARA -- This time, the Earthquakes' knees buckled in the end.
The team that makes a living out of late punch outs was KO'd by the New England Revolution 2-1 on a goal by Lee Nguyen in the 93rd minute Saturday night at Buck Shaw Stadium in front of a sellout crowd of 10,525 that snapped San Jose's 21-game home unbeaten streak.
The Quakes (0-2-1) tied it 1-1 on a Chris Wondolowski goal in the 69th minute, seemingly setting the stage for one of their trademark big finishes. But Nguyen took a pass in space on a quick restart with the Quakes pushing forward. He dribbled toward center back Clarence Goodson, who also had to worry about another attacker behind him.
Nguyen's shot from 14 yards found the corner was the winner for New England (1-2-1).
A slippery field from the rain and the sloppy Quakes merged forces during a disastrous first half.
"The first half was an absolute disgrace," Goodson said. "It was one of the worst first halves of soccer I've ever been involved in. From one through 11, we were horrendous. It was an absolute disgrace, and the second half got a little bit better, but clearly not enough."
The Revolution took a 1-0 lead in the 35th minute on an ugly own goal by Victor Bernardez, who slipped trying to make a last-ditch clearance after a misplay by Jordan Stewart.
Wondolowski, who will join Goodson on the national team for a World Cup tune-up against Mexico on April 2, called the Quakes' first-half effort "poor" in the team's second straight loss.
San Jose can try to regroup before hosting the Columbus Crew on April 13.
Quakes target man Steven Lenhart left the match with an apparent left MCL injury in the 76th minute. Alan Gordon replaced Lenhart.
Also entering at that time was Quakes newcomer Yannick Djalo, who made his debut.
On loan from Benfica, Djalo quickly made his presence felt with a burst of speed from the right wing to create a corner kick.
"I thought he had some good minutes," Quakes coach Mark Watson said of Djalo. "It's going to take him some time to get used to the team and get fit, but he was bright and sharp."
After two weeks of using makeshift rosters, the Quakes had an aura of stability when the match began.
Outside defenders Jordan Stewart and Brandon Barklage made their MLS season debuts after sitting with injuries, Stewart with a right hamstring strain and Barklage with left hip tightness.
On Wondolowski's goal, Cato hit the ball off a defender's heel to the Danville native, who took a first touch toward the end line before ripping a sharp-angled shot that found the far corner.
Columbus (3-0-0) at Earthquakes (0-2-1), noon CSN Plus