SANTA CLARA — Chris Wondolowski scored to lead the San Jose Earthquakes to a 1-0 victory over Guatemalan side CD Heredia on Wednesday night to win Group 5 of the CONCACAF Champions League.
Wondolowski's 62nd-minute strike left all three teams in the group — San Jose, Heredia and the MLS' Montreal Impact — tied on six points. The Earthquakes, making their CCL debut, will move on to next year's knockout rounds by virtue of having the group's best goal differential.
Needing only a tie to advance, Heredia opened in a defensive-minded 5-4-1 formation, and held firm for more than an hour despite San Jose having the vast majority of possession, shots and corner kicks.
Wondolowski broke through after Heredia failed to deal with Steven Beitashour's cross from the right wing. The ball bounced once through Heredia's penalty box and was collected on the far side by Shea Salinas, whose ensuing pass found Wondolowski unmarked at the back post.
Wondolowski, San Jose's leading scorer and the MLS' reigning MVP, sent home a composed right-footed volley from 7 yards.
Drawn out of its shell, Heredia appeared to tie the match in the 86th minute when Charles Cordova slid to touch home Anderson Andrade's dangerous ball across the face of goal. But Cordova was ruled offside by referee Roberto Garcia, and the visitors didn't trouble Earthquakes goalkeeper Jon Busch after that.
San Jose ended the match with only 10 men. Defender Clarence Goodson was sent off in the 94th minute, just before the final whistle, after picking up a second yellow card due to time-wasting.