Earthquakes trio trips Real Salt Lake
The San Jose Earthquakes rode first-half goals by Mark Chung, Kelly Gray and Wade Barrett to an easy 3-0 victory against Real Salt Lake on Saturday night at Spartan Stadium.
With the victory, the Earthquakes established a firm grip on third place in the Western Conference and got their key three-game homestand -- all against conference opposition -- off to the best possible start. It was a fifth consecutive loss for Real Salt Lake, who have been shutout in each of those reversals.
San Jose jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the second minute on an efficient buildup from the back. Barrett played the ball to a checking Ronald Cerritos in midfield and the veteran forward was able to distance himself from his marker, Eddie Pope.
Cerritos then played the ball down the left side to Brad Davis, who worked a give-and-go with Dwayne De Rosario. Davis sent a low cross behind Alejandro Moreno at the near post, but Chung was able to pounce on it and hit a first-time shot into the left corner.
The Earthquakes added to the lead in the 13th minute on a well-worked combination along the right sideline. Gray, a local product making his San Jose debut, played the ball down the sideline to Cerritos and then continued his run upfield.
Cerritos held the ball, then played a terrific ball to Gray, who dribbled around defender Matt Behncke and fired a right-footed angled shot into the lower left corner for a 2-0 cushion.
San Jose dominated the first half in every way imaginable. The Earthquakes were able to maintain possession despite a one-man disadvantage in the midfield. With Cerritos constantly dropping back into the midfield and making himself available to his
teammates, San Jose owned the majority of the ball in a comfortable manner in the first half.
Barrett got into the act with his first goal of the season in the 35th minute. Once again, San Jose exploited acres of space on the outside, as the captain played a ball to Cerritos in the left corner.
With Barrett hustling into the penalty area, Cerritos found him with a left-footed cross and the veteran left back lunged to meet it with a volley inside the six-yard box for a 3-0 lead.
With a three-goal lead, San Jose was content to sit back and withstand pressure from the revitalized Real Salt Lake attack for most of the second half.
Salt Lake nearly ended its massive scoring drought in the 49th minute, when Clint Mathis sent in a dangerous free kick from 35 yards out. Behncke shielded San Jose goalkeeper Pat Onstad, who was forced to make a reflex save, knocking the ball over the end line for a corner kick.
But beyond that the Earthquakes were not faced with any major scoring chances and nearly tallied themselves, when a Davis free kick from 20 yards out when just over the bar in the 68th minute.
Forward Brian Ching made his first appearance for the Earthquakes since May 14, replacing Cerritos in the 81st minute. Ching has not played since injuring his hamstring in a 0-0 tie against FC Dallas.
MLSnet.com Man of the Match: Ronald Cerritos (San Jose Earthquakes)
Danny Kadah is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.
Real Salt Lake (3-8-2) vs. San Jose Earthquakes (4-3-6)
June 18, 2005 -- Spartan Stadium
SJ -- Mark Chung 2 (Brad Davis 7, Dwayne De Rosario 6) 2
SJ -- Kelly Gray 2 (Ronald Cerritos 3) 13
SJ -- Wade Barrett 1 (Ronald Cerritos 4) 35
Real Salt Lake -- D.J. Countess, Matt Behncke, Eddie Pope, Brian Kamler, Andy Williams (Seth Trembly 46), Kenny Cutler, Jason Kreis, Leighton O'Brien (Leslie Fitzpatrick 46), Chris Brown, Clint Mathis, Dante Washington (Jamie Watson 62).
Substitutes Not Used: Cameron Knowles, Jay Nolly.
TOTAL SHOTS: 7 (Jason Kreis 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 3 (3 tied with 1); FOULS: 19 (Eddie Pope 3); OFFSIDES: 2 (Clint Mathis 2); CORNER KICKS: 5 (Clint Mathis 4); SAVES: 2 (D.J. Countess 2)
San Jose Earthquakes -- Pat Onstad, Kelly Gray, Danny Califf, Eddie Robinson, Wade Barrett, Mark Chung, Ricardo Clark, Dwayne De Rosario, Brad Davis, Ronald Cerritos (Brian Ching 82), Alejandro Moreno (Julian Nash 87).
Substitutes Not Used: Chris Aloisi, Ryan Cochrane, Jon Conway, Kevin Goldthwaite, Wes Hart, Danny O'Rourke, Ian Russell.
TOTAL SHOTS: 15 (Ronald Cerritos 3, Brad Davis 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 5 (Mark Chung 2); FOULS: 21 (Ricardo Clark 5); OFFSIDES: 7 (Ronald Cerritos 4); CORNER KICKS: 4 (Brad Davis 3); SAVES: 3 (Pat Onstad 3)
RSL -- Brian Kamler (caution; Pushing, Holding) 30
SJ -- Alejandro Moreno (caution; Pushing, Holding) 31
RSL -- Jason Kreis (caution; Tackle from Behind) 32
SJ -- Dwayne De Rosario (caution; Pushing, Holding) 59
RSL -- Clint Mathis (caution; Tackle from Behind) 67
SJ -- Wade Barrett (caution; Pushing, Holding) 69
Referee: Ramon Hernandez
Referee's Assistants: -Chris Strickland; Anthony Vasoli
4th Official: Ricardo Valenzuela
Time of Game: 1:48
Weather: Partly Cloudy-and-70-degrees
All Statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial.