The win was made possible because of a number of second-half saves by ’Quakes goalkeeper Jon Busch, who finished with seven in the game.
San Jose (6-4-4) scored both its goals in stoppage time, the first by Cornell Glen as the first half was winding down, and the second by Arturo Alvarez in the closing minutes of the game.
“If it wasn’t for Busch, we wouldn’t have been in it. Yes I’m happy to score the winning goal, but without him, it would have been a different story,” said Alvarez. “This is a huge win for us on the road.”
Philadelphia’s Fred opened the scoring in the 14th minute when he ran onto a ball that was flicked into the area by Danny Mwanga. Fred then split defenders Ike Opara and Jason Hernandez and fired just under Busch’s arm for the 1-0 advantage in the 15th minute.
The Union, who dominated most of the possession in the game, just missed going up 2-0 a minute later when Andrew Jacobson ripped a long-range shot off the post.
San Jose’s Joey Gjertsen hit the crossbar with a dipping, long-range shot in the 42nd minute before Glen scored the equalizer.
San Jose striker Chris Wondolowski ran onto a long ball played from the back on the right side and quickly played a ball into the Philadelphia penalty area to Glen, who one-timed the shot just inside the far post, past goalkeeper Chris Seitz.
Busch made a series of strong saves in the second half to keep his team level, the first being in the first minute after the break when Mwanga broke in alone on a breakaway. The steady goalkeeper then came out and knocked the attempt away.
Busch got the best of Mwanga again in the 73rd minute when the rookie attacker pounced on a loose ball in the area after a corner kick.
Busch made a couple more game-saving stops in the final 10 minutes on Sebastien Le Toux before Alvarez’s winner.
With the Union pressing forward aiming for the full points, Alvarez caught them on a counter attack, scooping up the ball at the center line and driving all the way in on Seitz. Alvarez then deked past a defender and slotted the shot past Seitz for his third goal of the season.
“Sometimes you dominate a game like that [and still lose],” said Seitz. “We could have played another half hour and I don’t know if we would have scored again. For us it’s a little bit of focus and it’s a little bit of luck and for us the luck wasn’t on our side.”
Philadelphia (3-8-2) will aim to rebound when it hosts Toronto FC on Saturday, while the ’Quakes play at Los Angeles on July 22 in their next MLS fixture.