Crew rattle Quakes in Columbus
and their home dominance of the San Jose Earthquakes -- with a 1-0 victory on Saturday night at Columbus Crew Stadium.
Jeff Cunningham's goal against the run of play was the only goal of the game, and sent the Earthquakes away from Columbus again without a point. The Crew have won the last 11 matches at home between the two teams, dating back to the 1996 season, an MLS record for home winning streak against one team.
The Crew also ended the Earthquakes four-match unbeaten streak while extending their own to five, winning for the third match in a row -- and for the time being, taking over the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
Cunningham's header from close range came on one of the few Crew chances on the night, on a well-worked movement. But the visitors had their opportunities before the eventual match-winner.
Just seven minutes in, a flash of brilliance from Crew defender Chad Marshall saved the Crew from going down a goal. The rookie defender slid in at the last second after Quakes midfielder Ian Russell slotted the ball past Crew 'keeper Jon Busch from 15 yards out and cleared the ball off the line.
The Quakes, who have scored 11 goals in their last three games, continued to play their signature attacking soccer, pouring forward at every opportunity. Landon Donovan, pulling the strings in the center midfield, twice found forward Jamil Walker with clever passes, but on both occasions Walker wasted the chances in his first start of the season.
Cunningham had the Crew's best chance before the break, right on the half-hour. The Crew striker touched a Kyle Martino lob beyond the reach of Quakes 'keeper Jon Conway, but the effort went wide of the goal.
For the majority of the first half though, the Crew defense was under the gun. Still, Busch wasn't called upon much, the best opportunity falling to Quakes forward Brian Ching, who had a clear look at the goal but didn't get much power on the shot.
After the break, the Quakes continued to threaten - then out of nowhere the home side pulled ahead. Eric Denton took a throw-in and received a return pass, whipping in a hard cross into the the six-yard box where Cunningham rose to head it home.
Five minutes later Donovan nearly brought the Quakes level, but Busch held the ball after juggling it briefly. But that was really the time the Crew backline was breached, and Columbus reached the .500 level on the season.
The Crew (3-3-2) are back in action on Sunday, June 6 as they take on the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass. (4 p.m. ET). The Earthquakes (3-3-3), meanwhile, take a two-week break from MLS action before hosting a rematch of last month's epic 5-5 draw with the MetroStars on June 12 (10 p.m. ET, HDNet).
MLSNet.com Man of the Match: Chad Marshall (Columbus Crew)
San Jose Earthquakes (3-3-3) vs. Columbus Crew (3-3-2)
May 29, 2004 -- Columbus Crew Stadium
CLB -- Jeff Cunningham 2 (Eric Denton 2, Manny Lagos 1) 69
San Jose Earthquakes -- Jon Conway, Ramiro Corrales, Ryan Cochrane, Wes Hart, Jeff Agoos, Ian Russell (Arturo Alvarez 75), Landon Donovan, Richard Mulrooney, Brian Mullan, Brian Ching, Jamil Walker (Tighe Dombrowski 81).
Substitutes Not Used: Steve Cronin, Craig Waibel.
TOTAL SHOTS: 14 (Ramiro Corrales 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 6 (6 tied with 1); FOULS: 10 (Wes Hart 3); OFFSIDES: 1 (Brian Ching 1); CORNER KICKS: 6 (Jeff Agoos 3, Richard Mulrooney 3); SAVES: 1 (Jon Conway 1)
Columbus Crew -- Jon Busch, Steven Herdsman (Nelson Akwari 46), Robin Fraser, Chad Marshall, Frankie Hejduk, Brian Maisonneuve (Manny Lagos 66), Kyle Martino (Chris Wingert 88), Ross Paule, Eric Denton, Michael Ritch, Jeff Cunningham.
Substitutes Not Used: Devin Barclay, Matt Jordan, Erick Scott, Jamal Sutton, David Testo, Jake Traeger.
TOTAL SHOTS: 5 (Jeff Cunningham 2, Brian Maisonneuve 2); SHOTS ON GOAL: 2 (Jeff Cunningham 1, Brian Maisonneuve 1); FOULS: 19 (Brian Maisonneuve 4, Kyle Martino 4); OFFSIDES: 2 (Jeff Cunningham 2); CORNER KICKS: 0; SAVES: 6 (Jon Busch 5)
CLB -- Brian Maisonneuve (caution; Professional Foul) 25
CLB -- Eric Denton (caution; Professional Foul) 61
SJ -- Wes Hart (caution; Professional Foul) 65
CLB -- Manny Lagos (caution; Professional Foul) 73
CLB -- Frankie Hejduk (caution; Professional Foul) 90
Referee: Mark Geiger
Referee's Assistants: -Craig Lowry; Kermit Quisenberry
4th Official: Kevin Stott
Time of Game: 1:51
Weather: Partly Cloudy-and-69-degrees
All Statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial.