Khari Stephenson scored in first-half injury time. The Earthquakes needed the late heroics after Kyle Beckerman’s 53rd-minute equalizer threatened to let Real Salt Lake escape with a point despite a 30th-minute red card to Fabian Espindola, RSL’s leading scorer, and another in the 69th minute to star defender Jamison Olave.
Dawkins sent home a diving header off a right-wing cross from Steven Beitashour two minutes into six minutes’ worth of stoppage time.
Wondolowski scored his league-leading eighth goal just a minute later off a short chip from Khari Stephenson inside Real Salt Lake’s penalty box.
The victory pushed San Jose (5-1-1) past Real Salt Lake (5-3-0) and into first place atop the Western Conference for the first time since being refounded as an expansion team in 2008. It was the Earthquakes’ first win against Real Salt Lake since July 3, 2009.
The goals were San Jose’s first with a man advantage since May 8, 2010, when the Earthquakes beat the New York Red Bulls 4-0. San Jose went 116 scoreless minutes over four matches playing a man up last season.
Espindola was sent packing for a rash two-footed, studs-up challenge on San Jose midfielder Sam Cronin.
Olave was ejected after delivering a body block on the edge of the penalty box to Quakes forward Steven Lenhart, who was threatening to break away for a one-on-one versus Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando. Stephenson, who nearly scored on a 40-yard free kick late in the first half, pushed the ensuing set piece well over the crossbar.