You’ll forgive Chicago Fire defender Jalil Anibaba, a former Davis High soccer star, if he doesn’t blame himself for a Stephen Lenhart goal deep in stoppage time on Saturday that gave the San Jose Earthquakes a 1-1 tie in an MLS outing at Santa Clara’s Buck Shaw Stadium.
Anibaba, a main cog in a Fire defense that has allowed just six goals in its last eight MLS games, spent most of the second half blanketing Lenhart, who found the net only after a scramble that left him far away from the former Blue Devil.
And this was after a first half during which the Greiner Athlete of the Week shut down San Jose’s leading scorer Chris Wondolowski on corner kick situations and turned back enough of Alan Gordon’s attacks to frustrate the Earthquake forward into a pair of yellow cards.
For the season, Anibaba has started 19 of the team’s 21 games and played 1,725 minutes, which is third on the squad. He even came up to score a goal in a May 20 game at Portland.