Real Salt Lake was frustrated after giving up a two-goal advantage in a loss at home earlier this week. With MLS leading scorer Chris Wondolowski and the San Jose Earthquakes visiting Rio Tinto Stadium next, protecting leads becomes even more important.
After another come-from-behind victory, Wondolowski and the Earthquakes have the chance to overtake Salt Lake for first place in the Western Conference on Saturday night.
RSL (10-4-2) missed the opportunity to pick up three points after it suffered a 3-2 loss to Los Angeles on Wednesday. Salt Lake took a 2-0 lead in the 24th minute, but the Galaxy stormed back and scored the go-ahead goal in the 68th.
It was the first time in franchise history that RSL, which was 5-0-2 over its previous seven, lost after taking a two-goal lead.
"It's pretty bewildering to be up 2-0 and lose a game 3-2," defender Nat Borchers said. "We made some mistakes. We all know we made some bad mistakes in terms of our possession, and they made us pay."
RSL is two points ahead of San Jose (9-3-3) in the West. The Earthquakes cut into the deficit with a 2-1 victory at Colorado on Wednesday.
"We'll have a chance to talk about what went wrong for us tonight and what needs to be different come Saturday," RSL coach Jason Kreis said. "We'll look to see what kind of reaction we get; I know what reaction I expect, but we'll see what we get."
RSL didn't respond well in a 3-1 loss at San Jose on April 21, giving up two goals in stoppage time.
The Earthquakes are playing their fourth straight game away from home after improving to 5-2-1 on the road Wednesday.
Wondolowski returned after missing the previous two games while on U.S. national team duty and scored the winning goal on a penalty kick in stoppage time. An own goal tied the game for San Jose in the 83rd minute.
It was Wondolowski's league-leading 12th goal, and the Earthquakes are 7-1-1 when he scores.
"Any time you've got the Golden Boot winner, it's good to have him on your side," forward Alan Gordon told the league's official website. "He's dangerous, he gets in good spots, and (opponents) have to change their game plan when he's on the field. So it creates a little more space for other guys and we played better with him, for sure."
Besides having the league's top scorer, San Jose is also becoming comfortable with coming back from a deficit. The Earthquakes are 4-2-3 when conceding the first goal and have done so in each of the last five games, going 2-1-2.
"This is a never-say-die team," Wondolowski said. "We keep playing as long as there is time left on the clock."
The Earthquakes haven't scored in their last two games in Utah and are 1-2-4 in seven all-time visits.