SANTA CLARA -- The goal-starved Earthquakes gave their former coach a rude welcome home Wednesday night in a much-needed 5-1 victory over the Chicago Fire.
A team that had mustered only four goals in six games equaled the number in the second half alone in its best result of 2014.
San Jose won for the first time in six games to spoil coach Frank Yallop's homecoming in front of an announced crowd of 10,525 at Buck Shaw Stadium. Yallop abruptly walked away from the Quakes a year ago before taking over in Chicago this season.
"We were really, really poor," Yallop said. "San Jose could have scored more. It is a little bit of a shock."
The Earthquakes (5-8-5) remained in last place in the nine-team Western Conference but broke out of their scoring slump although target forwards Steven Lenhart and Alan Gordon did not play.
The "Bash Brothers" had only one goal and one assist this season, leading some to call for a change of styles. In a breakout game for Portuguese striker Yannick Djalo, San Jose looked more fluid than at any time this year.
Djalo got a goal and two assists to lead the Quakes in a pairing with Chris Wondolowski that provided an uplifting view of the team's future.
"When you're searching for performance, you're searching for different things," coach Mark Watson said of the change.
Expect to see the Wondolowski-Djalo combination more as San Jose tries to rebound in the second half of the season to advance to the MLS Cup playoffs.
But what happens to Lenhart and Gordon? Lenhart suffered a slight knee injury and was a late scratch Wednesday. Gordon practiced Monday and Tuesday, but Watson would only say the veteran was "unavailable."
Quakes coaches had hoped Djalo would increase scoring production when acquiring him in March in a loan deal with Lisbon's SL Benfica. But Djalo, a close friend of Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo, struggled this season with injuries and adjustment to Major League Soccer.
He finally looked comfortable Wednesday in spearheading the Quakes' fast start they have talked about for 41/2 months.
"That's the position he does best at," Watson said.
Teammates praised the effort after five Earthquakes scored, starting with Shea Salinas' sizzling shot in the final minute of the first half.
Salinas said the offensive output was the result of Wondolowski and Djalo getting the ball underneath the Fire defense to open space on the outside.
"Yannick plays well underneath, making it so hard on defenders," said Wondolowski, who got his team-leading seventh goal in the 62nd minute.
Atiba Harris and Cordell Cato also scored for San Jose, while Grant Ward got the Fire's lone goal in the 75th minute. It wasn't enough to break a four-game undefeated streak for Yallop, whose team is now 3-5-11.
Salinas rewarded San Jose's aggressive first-half play with a last-minute goal that came when Djalo broke up a play in midfield. Djalo immediately fed his teammate deep to the left. Salinas raced almost 20 yards to collect the ball before curling it into the upper right corner.
"I'm thinking I was going to shoot no matter what," Salinas said.
The midfielder ran into the net to grab the ball and put it under his jersey to announce his wife's pregnancy. "I've been trying to score for months," he said of his planned tribute to Julie Salinas, who is due in December.
The Earthquakes knew the feeling -- until the floodgates opened Wednesday night.
Contact Elliott Almond at 408-920-5865. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/elliottalmond.
Earthquakes vs. Atletico Madrid, at Candlestick Park, 4 p.m. No TV