Preview: In-form sides square up as San Jose host DC
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES vs D.C. UNITED
BUCK SHAW STADIUM, Santa Clara, Calif.
May 2, 2012 (WEEK 9, MLS Game #76)
7:30 p.m. PT (CSN-CA; CSN-MA)
Two of the hottest clubs in Major League Soccer meet in an inter-conference clash when the San Jose Earthquakes entertain D.C. United in a midweek contest at Buck Shaw Stadium. The Quakes are unbeaten in six games and have jumped to the top to the Western Conference, winning 2-1 at Philadelphia Union last weekend. United are unbeaten in seven and coming off back-to-back wins, last a 3-2 home win against the Houston Dynamo.
REFEREE: Allen Chapman. SAR (bench): C.J. Morgante; JAR (opposite): Anthony Vasoli; 4th: Ricardo Salazar MLS Career: First game.
INJURY REPORT: SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES — OUT: DF Victor Bernardez (L knee MCL sprain); MF Joey Gjertsen (R knee surgery); FW Alan Gordon (L hamstring strain); MF Shea Salinas (L clavicle fracture); DF Tim Ward (L non-specific soft tissue injury) … D.C. UNITED — OUT: DF Ethan White (R knee surgery); MF Lance Rozeboom (L knee ACL tear); QUESTIONABLE: MF Kurt Morsink (L foot neurectomy); FW Josh Wolff (L hamstring strain); DF Dejan Jakovic (L ankle sprain)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: SJ: Steven Lenhart
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: DC: Maicon Santos
ALL-TIME (32 meetings): Earthquakes 15 wins (3 shootout), 48 goals … United 11 wins (0 shootout), 52 goals … Ties 6
AT SAN JOSE (16 meetings): Earthquakes 7 wins (1 shootout), 23 goals … United 3 wins (0 shootout), 20 goals … Ties 6
LAST YEAR (MLS):
6/11: DC 2, SJ 4 (Najar 13; Brettschneider 34 — Lenhart 15, 22, 60)
7/30: SJ 0, DC 2 (De Rosario 57, 67)
- This is the only league meeting between the clubs this season.
- United’s 2-0 win last July 30 at Buck Shaw Stadium snapped a six-game winless streak vs. San Jose, their first win in the series since 2008. The Quakes had won four of the six games, with two draws.
- The Earthquakes have won on each of their last three visits to RFK Stadium, including a 4-2 win last year, outscoring United 7-3 in those three games.
- Coaches record: Frank Yallop vs. DC: P19 W9 L5 D5 Ö Ben Olsen vs. SJ: P3 W1 L2 D0
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
The San Jose Earthquakes extended their undefeated run to six games, once again getting a late goal for victory in a 2-1 win against Philadelphia Union on Saturday evening at PPL Park. The Quakes are still in first place in the Western Conference with 19 points from 8 games.
HIGHLIGHTS: PHI 1, SJ 2
The Quakes brought a sluggish game to life with their 76th-minute opener. Steven Lenhart, who had come on in the 61st minute, met a Marvin Chavez cross with a diving header at the back post.
The lead didn’t last long, though, as Union’s Gabriel Gomez evened the game in the 83rd minute. Union striker Danny Mwanga dug a ball out of a scrum in front of the San Jose net and coolly dished it back to Gomez, who buried a shot from inside the box.
But there were late heroics once again to come from San Jose. Chavez shook Freddy Adu and Jack McInerney on the right touchline with twists and turns before flighting a pinpoint cross that Lenhart met at the far post with a downward header and the match-winner.
- Earthquakes head coach Frank Yallop made no changes to the team that claimed a 3-1 win against Real Salt Lake at Buck Shaw Stadium
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (4-4-1-1): Jon Busch - Steven Beitashour, Ike Opara, Jason Hernandez, Justin Morrow - Rafael Baca, Tressor Moreno (Marvin Chavez 61), Sam Cronin (Steven Lenhart 60), Simon Dawkins - Khari Stephenson - Chris Wondolowski.
The Quakes have scored the game-winning goal in stoppage time in two consecutive games. It’s the first time that’s happened in MLS since D.C. United did it in back-to-back games in 2003 (July 27, Aug. 9), and just the third time overall in MLS history (LA Galaxy also did, Sept. 14-21, 2002).
“I’ve had some dramatic ones, but that was a good win, a good goal,” Steven Lenhart said. “Whether you start or whether you come in [as a substitute], you’re still competing and trying to score.”
Lenhart scored his first goal since July 2 of last year, and hit for the third multiple-goal game of his career. He has scored four goals in two games at PPL Park, also scoring twice there in 2010 while with the Columbus Crew.
“He’s hard to handle in the box, he’s very good in the air. He’s tough,” Yallop said. “After we go a goal up and then concede one pretty late in the game, to come back and score the winner, especially away from home, is very good. We’re happy as a club, and very pleased for Steven Lenhart.”
GOAL: Lenhart heads home the winner
Lenhart and Marvin Chavez ñ who set up both goals ñ came on at the hour mark as Yallop shook up his side. Khari Stephenson shifted from the underneath forward to a holding midfield role, and Rafael Baca moved from a wide midfield role to the center of the park.
“We weren’t moving the ball like I wanted us to,” Yallop said. “We didn’t stretch them. As soon as Marvin came on, he stretched them, and I think Lenny is such a force in the box. That was the difference in the game.”
For Chavez, it was the first two-assist game in his four seasons in MLS. “I just felt that we had to go and win the game,” Yallop said. “If we would have kept what we were doing, I think we would have probably conceded a goal and probably not scored tonight. That’s my opinion. I thought we needed to change it up. It worked in the end.”
- While Chris Wondolowski saw his five-game goalscoring streak come to an end against Philadelphia, he did contribute his second assist of the season. Wondolowski has a goal or assist in 10 of the Quakes’ 15 goals this season.
D.C. United won a second consecutive game and lengthened their undefeated streak to seven games, battling back for a 3-2 win against the Houston Dynamo on Saturday evening at RFK Stadium. United are in second place in the Eastern Conference with 15 points from 9 games.
United once again got off to a flying start. In the 11th minute, a long ball out of the back from Brandon McDonald found Chris Pontius behind the defense, and he touched the ball around on-rushing Houston ëkeeper Tally Hall before finding an unmarked Maicon Santos for a header from the spot.
HIGHLIGHTS: DC 3, HOU 2
The Dynamo pulled level in the 50th minute through Will Bruin. Jermaine Taylor placed a pinpoint cross in the box from the left corner, which the unmarked Bruin volleyed in from six yards out.
But United were back ahead through Dwayne De Rosario in the 54th minute. After a corner was partially cleared, the Canadian international whipped a ball in from the left side that slithered past everyone, including Hall, as the ball curled in off the far post.
Just five minutes later though, the Dynamo again were level. Bruin pounced on a loose ball outside the United box and fired dipping shot on frame that slipped under goalkeeper Joe Willis.
But Maicon Santos wasn’t to be outdone. In the 70th minute, he rose highest to meet a Daniel Woolard cross, nodding it off Hall's hand to the back of the net for the eventual game-winner.
- United head coach Ben Olsen made no changes to the team that strolled to a 4-1 win against the New York Red Bulls at RFK Stadium
D.C. UNITED (4-3-1-2): Joe Willis - Robbie Russell, Brandon McDonald, Emiliano Dudar (Marcelo Saragosa 44), Daniel Woolard - Danny Cruz (Andy Najar 65), Perry Kitchen, Nick DeLeon - Dwayne De Rosario - Maicon Santos, Chris Pontius (Lewis Neal 83).
D.C. United have won back-to-back games for the first time since June 4-13, 2009, a span of 89 games. Their seven-game unbeaten streak matches their longest undefeated run over the past six seasons, and is their longest since reeling off 13 games without a loss late in 2007.
GOAL: Santos scores game-winner
“It is obviously one of our goals to put some streaks together,” Chris Pontius said. “If you look at the past four games, four Eastern Conference teams, we come out with 10 points out of 12. I think that’s pretty good for us, especially when you are looking at the Eastern Conference.”
Maicon Santos has six goals in his last six games after scoring twice in the 3-2 win vs. Houston. It was his second two-goal game this season, also scoring a brace against FC Dallas.
“Maicon is a big boy and willing to do a lot of the work as far as holding the balls up and fighting,” United head coach Ben Olsen said. “[Chris Pontius] is very mobile underneath and behind. He plays off [Maicon] very well. For now, it’s a good partnership.”
Santos and Chris Pontius have now partnered up top for two games, and they’ve combined for five goals in that time. The pair has combined for 10 goals and two assists, second in the league in total goals between two teammates behind New York’s Thierry Henry and Kenny Cooper.
“We talked before the game and said, ‘Let’s get some goals tonight,’ and we hoped so,” Santos said. “I looked around and saw that I had the space to run. Pontius chipped the ball very well. We’re working together as a team both inside the field and outside the field and that has been a great point for us.”
There will some concerns for the San Jose match as center back Emiliano Dudar was forced from the field before halftime against Houston with a hamstring injury. Dudar missed back-to-back starts against New England and Montreal through injury.
“We have some options. Perry’s played there before; Robbie’s played there; [Daniel] Woolard’s played there. It’s not ideal because [Dudar’s] been a stud, and we’ll be missing him, and obviously Dejan [Jakovic] is out,” said Olsen. “We’ll have to make some adjustments. Again, there’s some spirit to this team, and a little adversity isn’t going to scare them.”
- Dwayne De Rosario scored his first goal of the season, giving United their second lead of the night. He was also credited with his fifth assist of the season, now tied for second in the league with New York’s Thierry Henry, behind KC’s Graham Zusi.