It feels like a loss now. But it’s still a tie on the road against a good team. —Real Salt Lake coach Jeff Cassar
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — When Luke Mulholland scored his first MLS goal on Saturday night, it appeared likely Real Salt Lake would end San Jose’s 20-match unbeaten streak on home.
It turns out that what goes around, comes around, as Victor Bernardez scored his second goal of the night just seconds before the match ended to bring the Earthquakes level at 3-3 with the Claret and Cobalt.
“If you would have asked us before the game if we would have taken the tie, we’d take it,” Real Salt Lake team captain Kyle Beckerman said. “But when you’re up 3-1, a tie puts a damper on it. There was some good stuff, it just hurts to lose the lead.”
Still, Mulholland had to be a bit relieved when he produced a goal as stoppage time was running out in the first half. This time, he was able to keep the goal and give RSL a huge lift.
Mulholland, who made his first MLS start after an impressive effort off the bench in last week’s win over the LA Galaxy, had a goal disallowed in the contest.
Trailing a play where Luis Gil set up Ned Grabavoy, who fired a shot into traffic, Mulholland followed into the penalty area and was wide open as the rebound dropped at his foot for an easy goal.
“That was quite well deserved by Luke,” Gil said. “We finished the half on a good note, keeping the ball moving.”
Beckerman and Joao Plata also scored for RSL, which opened the season with four points in two road games.
“It feels like a loss now,” Real Salt Lake coach Jeff Cassar said. “But it’s still a tie on the road against a good team.”
The Claret and Cobalt return home to face the LA Galaxy on Saturday at 2 p.m. in their home opener.
“Any time you play L.A. it’s exciting,” said Real Salt Lake’s Chris Wingert. “It’s more exciting that we’re going to be playing in front of our home crowd.”
Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando kept the Earthquakes out of the net the rest of the half, making two spectacular saves against Wondolowski, the most impressive occurring in the 22nd minute.
Rimando found himself alone with Wondolowski on the first stop, standing his ground until the San Jose forward committed and diving to his right to knock the ball away.
“He makes a fantastic reaction for the save and then he started getting some spasms in his back,” Cassar said.
Beckerman scored the tying goal in the 11th minute, finding just enough of the far post to get it to bounce back into the net. It was his fourth career goal against the Earthquakes.
“It hurts to lose the lead,” he said. “But to get the tie, we’ll get over it.”
Plata created an opening for himself on the go-ahead goal, carrying the ball into the penalty area and then hesitating enough to freeze his defender and slip the ball past San Jose goalkeeper Jon Busch.
Earthquakes forward Steven Lenhart earned a yellow card early in the game for apparently trying to grab the flag of a referee.
Nat Borchers received is own yellow card in the 52nd minute as the game began to heat up with the Earthquakes putting pressure on the RSL defense.
San Jose rookie defender JJ Koval was given a yellow card for leaning into Alvaro Saborio moments after the Earthquakes drew within 3-2 in the 75th minute.
Bernardez, who entered the game with three career goals, headed in a corner kick from Shea Salinas during a span where San Jose was dominating play and getting numerous chances to tie the game in regular time.
“You have to give them credit to tie it,” Cassar said. “They kept coming. They were relentless. We didn’t defend the set plays very well.”
Salinas earned San Jose’s third yellow card in the 90th minute, tripping the streaking Jordan Allen who was carrying the ball toward the penalty area. That forced Real Salt Lake to play a man down for most of the five-minutes of stoppage play.
“Any time Allen is out of the game it’s going to hurt us getting pressure on the ball,” Cassar said. “We just came out on the wrong end of the play at the end. We did some good things.”
RSL defender Aaron Maund had to leave the game midway through the second half after getting knocked to the ground. He did not return.
Since Real Salt Lake beat San Jose last year, the Earthquakes went unbeaten on their home turf against all competition, a streak that now stands at 21 matches.
RSL went 2-1 against San Jose last year but had lost four of its past six meetings with the Earthquakes.
The Claret and Cobalt has now recorded points in seven of its last nine road games.