SANTA CLARA -- The Earthquakes don't see themselves as castaways in a Robert Redford film.

All is not lost, they say.

But San Jose remains a work in progress after rallying Sunday to earn a 1-1 tie against Eastern Conference-leader Columbus. The draw left the last-place Quakes (0-2-2) bitterly disappointed after another dismal first half put them down 1-0 before Chris Wondolowski's goal in the 51st minute in front of an announced crowd of 10,525 at Buck Shaw Stadium.

San Jose has only two points from three home matches and, as a result, has started the MLS season off kilter for the second consecutive year.

"It's not a good trend that we're producing here," midfielder Sam Cronin said.

"We've put ourselves in a hole again," goalkeeper Jon Busch added. "We just got to find something to get on a roll with."

The Earthquakes might be on to something that could change their fortunes.

Portuguese newcomer Yannick Djalo started the second half to give San Jose a much-needed jolt. The attacking midfielder's ability to pressure defenses with speed and dribbling skills ignited the moribund Quakes, leading to Wondolowski's third goal of the season.

Djalo almost got the equalizer two minutes into the half when he beat Crew goalkeeper Steve Clark with a chip shot that hit the back post.

"He certainly gave them a spark," Columbus coach Gregg Berhalter said.


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Djalo said in Spanish that he felt fresh and ready to go. Whether he is fit for a full match is the only question left before he becomes a fixture in the starting lineup.

The Earthquakes also got a boost from Stanford rookie J.J. Koval, who replaced right back Brandon Barklage early in the second half because of an unspecified leg injury.

Coach Mark Watson described it as "dead legs" and said he was hopeful Barklage would return quickly.

A team that entered the season with a 20-game home unbeaten streak suddenly looks vulnerable in its final year at Buck Shaw.

San Jose is in danger of repeating last year's poor start that sabotaged its playoff chances despite a late run. FC Dallas leads the Western Conference with 13 points while Colorado, Real Salt Lake and Seattle are tied for second with 10 points each. The Quakes travel to Colorado next weekend to play the Rapids.

The Crew (3-1-1) quickly took advantage of the home team's first-half inertia Sunday. Except for a few moments, Columbus played the aggressor as the Earthquakes couldn't connect passes to create any kind of sustainable buildup.

On the other end, San Jose defenders made lunging stop after lunging stop before eventually cracking.

The Crew's goal came in the 44th minute off a superb cross into the box from fullback Waylon Francis. The Costa Rican international punched the ball forward to create room, then found unmarked Federico Higuain in the penalty box.

The Argentine's left-footed shot flew past Busch for Higuain's fourth goal of the season. But it wasn't enough to give the Crew its first victory at Buck Shaw since 2009.

San Jose opened the second half on the attack. The equalizer came off Shea Salinas's corner kick that dipped over defenders and right to Wondolowski in front of the net. The U.S. national team striker popped a header past Clark.

Both sides created game-winning threats as the game reached its conclusion. Columbus' Dominic Oduro fired a shot off the crossbar in the 82nd minute, then Wondolowski almost scored seven minutes later from close range. But the shot fell just wide of the near post to leave the Earthquakes feeling dejected instead of elated.

Saturday's game
Earthquakes (0-2-2) at Colorado (3-1-1), 3 p.m. CSNBA
ONLINE EXTRA
Thompson: Wondolowski irked by another tie. www.mercurynews.com/sports