The Philadelphia Union began to build momentum ahead of the US Open Cup Final on September 30th with a surprise victory against the San Jose Earthquakes at the Avaya Stadium in San Jose on Saturday night.
San Jose had the first opportunity of the match, earning a corner in the 2nd minute but Steven Vitoria rose to meet Shea Salinas' in swinger and cleared easily.
Despite the early opportunity for San Jose, Philadelphia had a surprising share of the possession in the first 15 minutes, creating several chances rather than sitting back as many expected.
CJ Sapong was unfortunate not to connect in the 4th minute when he launched himself at Eric Ayuk's curling cross from the edge of the box.
The Union were awarded a free kick moments later a long way out following a foul by Clarence Goodson, but Tranquillo Barnetta's shot ricocheted off a defender in the 8th minute.
Philadelphia would again have an opportunity in the 10th minute as they earned a corner through Sebastian Le Toux, but the corner fell straight into the hands of goalkeeper David Bingham.
San Jose would break a spell of Union possession in the 14th minute as Marvell Wynne marauded forward and swung in a cross to earn a corner but McCarthy well to punch the ensuing corner clear in traffic.
Nogueira would have a chance to put his imprint on the match in the 18th minute following a poor corner as he dribbled to find space on the edge of the box but Bingham caught his lowly hit shot with ease.
The Union would earn yet another corner in the 21st minute as Barnetta, captain for the night, swung an effort onto the head of Richie Marquez, whose header was claimed by a rising Bingham.
Matias Perez-Garcia would find the feet of Wondolowski in the 25th minute but his attempted chip shot was blocked by Lahoud and sent forward to break up San Jose's possession.
Vitoria recovered in dramatic fashion following a mispass in the 28th minute as he tackled the ball away from an onrushing Quincy Amarikwa to avert the potential danger.
Ray Gaddis would earn a corner in the 33rd minute as his shot from the edge of the box was tipped over the bar after receiving a lay off from Sapong.
Amirikwa would manage a spectacular header in the 45th minute, receiving the ball from deep in San Jose's half but McCarthy was prepared and caught the header easily as the first half ended goalless.
San Jose began the second half in similar fashion to the first, forcing two straight diving saves from McCarthy in the 47th minute, the first a header from a corner for Goodson, and the other a diving toe poke from Amarikwa.
McCarthy would then play hero in the 57th minute as he lept to catch a deflected Wondolowski shot to keep the scores even despite San Jose's dominance.
Philadelphia would however create a beautiful opportunity in the 58th as Nogueira and Barnetta exchanged passes but the Frenchman was dispossessed in the box in what looked like illegal fashion from Bingham before he could get a shot off, but no foul was called.
San Jose would be rewarded for their dominance in the 64th minute when Fabinho was penalized for a hand ball in the box would be called only for Wondolowski to convert the ensuing penalty kick.
Conor Casey would enter the match in the 71st minute for Philadelphia in an effort to salvage the result and would make an immediate impact, scoring the equalizing goal from a header assisted by Ray Gaddis in the 74th minute.
San Jose would attempt to regain the lead in the 78th minute as Amarikwa received the ball from Goodson but his shot was well wide of goal.
The momentum would swing in Philadelphia's favor in the last ten minutes of the match despite a poor second half showing.
San Jose homegrown player Tommy Thompson would enter the match in the 82nd minute, earning a free kick just a minute later after being fouled by CJ Sapong only for the free kick to be cleared by Fabinho.
San Jose had yet another late opportunity to score a winner in the 85th minute as McCarthy saved a pair of headers from Fatai Alashe and Wondolowski.
But it was not to be for San Jose as super sub Connor Casey would nab the late winner in the 86th minute as he flicked home a Barnetta cross.
San Jose would desperately search for a late equalizer as Adam Jahn had an opportunity in the 88th minute, he shot from an awkward angle following a cross from Salinas but couldn't convert as San Jose continued to push for an equalizer.
Gaddis and Casey would combine again in the 90th minute to good effect but the two goal scorer on the night was judged to be offside by the linesman before the final whistle was blown.
The victory brings the Union into 7th place, four points off of the last playoff spot held by Montreal, who have three games in hand.
As for San Jose, not only did they concede for the first time since August 8th but the result ends a good run of form that put them just two points behind the Portland Timbers for the last playoff spot in the West. A win would have allowed them to leapfrog the Timbers into 6th.