HARRISON, N.J. (AP) — Chris Wondolowski scored in the 81st minute, giving the San Jose Earthquakes a 3-1 victory over the New York Red Bulls and Thierry Henry on Thursday night and a 3-2 aggregate win in the MLS Eastern Conference semifinal series.
Bobby Convey scored twice, connecting in the sixth and 77th minutes, to help San Jose rebound from a 1-0 first-leg loss in California on Saturday night. Juan Pablo Angel, in likely his last game for the Red Bulls, scored in the 78th minute.
New York, with Henry, Rafael Marquez and Angel, became perhaps the most expensive failure in MLS history.
“I can’t be disappointed with the number of chances we had,” Red Bulls coach Hans Backe said. “We could never forgive ourselves if we just played back (after Angel’s goal) and just defended. We had to just give it a go. Our mindset was to win.”
The Earthquakes will face the Columbus-Colorado winner in the conference final.
“Obviously, we need a couple of balls to bounce our way,” Wondolowski said. “But I’m liking our chances.”
On the series winner, Convey floated in a long pass toward the goal corner, Wondolowki broke in and headed the ball into the short side past goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul.
“Bobby and I read each other real well,” Wondolowski said. “I started shifting inside and Bobby lifted his head and saw me. I saw Bouna was coming out, so I just put it on the frame.”
The match ended the first season at $200 million Red Bull Arena. While New York improved from a last-place 5-19-6 record last year to an Eastern Conference-best 15-9-6 this season under new coach Hans Backe, the Red Bulls were hoping for more than a mere playoff appearance after the midsummer additions of Henry, the former French national team star, and Marquez, the Mexican national team captain.
Henry is second only to David Beckham on the MLS salary list at $5.6 million this year and Marquez is next at $5.54 million. The 35-year-old Angel, who says he doesn’t expect to be back with the Red Bulls after four seasons in New York, is at $1.92 million.
“Everyone wanted New York to win this,” Convey said. “We came in under the radar. But we’re hard to beat.”
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.