SANTA CLARA -- The Earthquakes' Major League Soccer playoff hopes took another sad step backward Saturday night in front of an announced crowd of 10,525 at Buck Shaw Stadium.
The players didn't like it one bit after drawing Real Salt Lake 1-1 on a questionable call by referee David Gantar that awarded the visitors a penalty kick.
"I thought the referee was terrible both ways," Quakes star Chris Wondolowski said.
But San Jose (6-10-8) was never more frustrated than on Javier Morales' equalizer in the 36th minute that came after fullback Jordan Stewart was called for fouling Olmes Garcia near the goal mouth.
"That takes two points away from you on what you didn't think was a penalty," coach Mark Watson said.
"That is not a foul in the midfield, it's not a foul in the box," Wondolowski added. "This is not the first time" Gantar "has done that to us. I don't know if he has a vendetta against us. I don't think he is an Earthquakes fan now."
The referee didn't make any fans Saturday as San Jose failed to help its prospects of reaching the postseason by extending a winless streak to five games. It has 10 games left, seven on the road.
In another development, Watson said the team is talking to U.S. Soccer Federation officials about keeping rookie Tommy Thompson out of under-20 training camp that begins this week in Argentina.
The sensational forward was scheduled to leave for Buenos Aires after the game Saturday but now might stay put.
"It's a pivotal point in the season," said Thompson, the team's first homegrown player. "I'll stay if they want me to."
Thompson, 19, looked so good in his third consecutive start that it's going to be difficult to imagine anyone dislodging him from the starting lineup. The dynamic forward would miss the Quakes' next two games at Portland and Vancouver at a time the team has little depth at forward.
Thompson said last week that he wanted to join the U-20 team to impress U.S. coaches at the start of the 2018 World Cup cycle.
But San Jose needs his energy, ball control and toughness that has turned the team into an offensive threat since Thompson became a starter..
Real (11-5-10) struggled to slow Thompson, getting called for repeated fouls in the first half that led to free kicks. Even World Cup veteran midfielder Kyle Beckerman couldn't contain the youngster, shoving him in the back once in frustration.
Thompson's presence showed when San Jose finally broke through in the 14th minute with Sam Cronin calmly scoring his second goal in as many games off a nifty setup from Wondolowski. Cronin's left-footed score led to Wondolowski's fourth assist of the season. But it all started with Thompson's possession.
Wondolowski almost scored four minutes later when Thompson won an air ball in the penalty box and tapped it to the team's leading scorer. But Wondolowski shot just wide of the left post. The bright play went for naught with the penalty kick that leveled the score near the end of the half. Wondolowski had some choice words for Gantar as his teammates looked on in disbelief.
"A lot of times this season we feel harshly done by," defender Jason Hernandez said. "Tonight we were harshly done by, but it was out of our hands."
Earthquakes (6-10-8) at Portland (8-8-10), 2 p.m. ESPN2