D.C. United vs San Jose Earthquakes 10-09-2010 - Recap
Wondo's double downs DC, pushes SJ into postseason
WASHINGTON — The San Jose Earthquakes punched their ticket to the playoffs with a 2-0 victory over D.C. United at RFK Stadium on Saturday night. Chris Wondolowski hit for a well-taken brace on either side of halftime.
The win, coupled with Kansas City's 2-1 loss to Seattle, ensures San Jose return to the postseason for the first time since re-entering the league in 2008. The result also eliminates both Toronto FC and the Chicago Fire from playoff contention.
United were badly shorthanded due to injuries, international call-ups and a yellow-card suspension for Andy Najar, and it showed in their performance.
Ben Olsen’s side showed plenty of effort, but attacking inspiration was all too rare in Najar’s absence.
To further complicate matters, both teams had to play nearly the entire match a man short after Jaime Moreno and Brandon McDonald were ejected by referee Alex Prus for exchanging blows in a stunning confrontation in the opening minutes.
The early dismissals opened up a considerable amount of space for both teams, though the Earthquakes took a safety-first approach as the home side responded more proactively with plenty of probing possession.
Santino Quaranta stung Jon Busch’s hands with a well-hit blast from nearly 30 yards out in the 32nd minute, but the Quakes netminder kept it in front of him for a comfortable save.
Then, after sitting well back for most of the half, San Jose struck with a sudden gut-punch on the eve of halftime.
As with so many other teams at RFK this season, the Earthquakes went ahead with considerable help from the United back line.
Standing just outside his own six-yard box, DC defender Jordan Graye allowed a cross to bounce over his head and fall to Wondolowski, who cracked a fine finish over United 'keeper Troy Perkins’ right shoulder into the near upper corner to hand the Quakes a 1-0 lead.
The visitors quickly finished off the game in the second half when Wondolowski took full advantage of another DC mishap to fire home his second of the night.
United alumnus Bobby Convey drew Perkins off his line with a curling cross from the left, but the goalkeeper could only manage the faintest of touches on the ball as he charged into a crowd of bodies and it carried on to the far post, where Wondolowski was lurking.
The Quakes' leading scorer backtracked, then stroked a cool half-volley inside the post to double his team’s lead and run his season tally to 14 goals, just two back of league leader Edson Buddle.
San Jose’s second put a damper on the RFK crowd but Pablo Hernandez, working hard up top for United, came close in the 76th minute and missed out on several more decent chances as his team searched for a way back into the game.
Second-half sub Brad Ring nearly added a third for the Quakes in the 86th minute, but his deflected shot clanged off the crossbar as the match flowed from end to end in the final stages.
The Black-and-Red could not find the net before Prus blew the final whistle, handing San Jose a vital road win that delivered them into the postseason.
SJ -- Chris Wondolowski 13 (Tim Ward 1) 45
SJ -- Chris Wondolowski 14 (unassisted) 55
SJ -- Khari Stephenson (caution; Reckless Foul) 3
DC -- Jaime Moreno (ejection; Violent Conduct) 8
SJ -- Brandon McDonald (ejection; Violent Conduct) 8
San Jose Earthquakes -- Jon Busch, Chris Leitch, Jason Hernandez, Brandon McDonald, Tim Ward, Chris Wondolowski, Sam Cronin, Khari Stephenson (Brad Ring 59), Bobby Convey, Geovanni (Eduardo 75), Scott Sealy.
D.C. United -- Troy Perkins, Devon McTavish (John P. Rodrigues 78), Clyde Simms, Jed Zayner, Jordan Graye (Danny Allsopp 59), Carlos Varela, Kurt Morsink, Stephen King (Junior Carreiro 55), Santino Quaranta, Pablo Hernandez, Jaime Moreno.
Referee: Alex Prus
Referee's Assistants: George Gansner; Adam Wienckowski
4th Official: Hilario Grajeda
Time of Game: 1:52
Weather: Clear and 76 degrees