Alan Gordon, who missed most of the preseason for the San Jose Earthquakes while recovering from foot surgery, scored in the 94th minute Tuesday night to lift the Quakes to a 1-1 tie against Deportivo Toluca FX in the first leg of their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal at Buck Shaw Stadium.
The Quakes dominated play much of the night, getting 20 attempts on goal to just 10 for Toluca, but it was the side from Liga MX that broke through when Raul Nava fired a shot off a full volley that dipped past helpless San Jose keeper Jon Busch in the 67th minute.
It was the only shot Toluca put on target all night, but it looked like it was going to be enough to send them home for the second leg on March 19 with a 1-0 lead in the aggregate.
Gordon’s goal came just seconds before the final whistle blew at the end of extra time.
Quakes captain Chris Wondolowski was stopped twice at near-point blank range early in the second half by Toluca keeper Alfredo Talavera.
San Jose was denied on three chances in the 79th minute. Steven Lenhart pushed a header into the crossbar, J.J. Koval’s rebound attempt was blocked by Toluca defender Edgar Duenas and Talavera then saved a shot by Gordon.
The Quakes had another excellent opportunity denied in the 34th minute. Shea Salinas delivered a corner kick to Lenhart, who put a strong header on it, but the shot was blocked by a Toluca defender at the goal line and the ball was grabbed by Talavera. San Jose pleaded for a handball call on the block, but got no satisfaction.
With extra time drawing to a close, Gordon headed a free kick by Salinas that took a bounce and caromed away from Talavera. The shot bounced off the far post into the back of the net for the equalizer.
The second leg of the quarterfinal is at 5 p.m. Pacific on March 19 at Nemesio Diez Stadium in Toluca.
Before that, however, the Quakes will open their MLS regular season on Saturday night when they host Real Salt Lake at 7:30 p.m. at Buck Shaw Stadium.