Quakes look to extend West lead
just 13 minutes apart -- as the home side took the lead. Kreis first converted from the penalty spot as Eddie Robinson bundled over Brian Dunseth from behind while challenging for a cross, San Jose 'keeper Pat Onstad going the right way but just unable to push the shot outside of the post (21).
Kreis then scored on the end of a quick counterattack, launched by a rampaging run right down the center of the park by Clint Mathis. Mathis slipped a pass to Kreis steaming on his left, and the all-time MLS goal scorer added to his record by hammering a low shot through Onstad's legs.
But after having seen late goals cost them points on three occasions this season, this time it was the Earthquakes who provided a late decider. Brian Mullan served up a looping cross from the right flank to the far post where substitute Alejandro Moreno neatly headed home to give the visitors a share of the spoils.
On June 18 in San Jose, the Earthquakes started a three-game home run - all against conference opposition - with a dominating performance, scoring three goals in the opening 34 minutes to ease to victory as Real Salt Lake saw their losing and goalless streak reach five games
Mark Chung gave the Quakes the lead after just two minutes, a neat one-two on the left leading to a perfect low cross from Brad Davis, and Chung swooped in to turn it home from close range.
Kelly Gray - the San Jose native in his Earthquakes debut after being acquired from the Chicago Fire - then doubled the lead when he finished off a big one-two with Ronald Cerritos, racing forward from his right back position to collect the return pass and clipping it home from inside the area (13).
Left back Wade Barrett then made it 3-0 with a similar goal, racing forward to collect the return ball on yet another long-distance give-and-go, acrobatically getting onto the end a Cerritos early cross hooked into the area (34).
Here's Kinnear's team (4-3-1-2): Pat Onstad - Kelly Gray, Danny Califf, Eddie Robinson, Wade Barrett - Mark Chung, Ricardo Clark, Brad Davis - Dwayne De Rosario - Ronald Cerritos (Brian Ching 82), Alejandro Moreno (Julian Nash 87)
Here's Ellinger's team (3-4-1-2): D.J. Countess - Brian Kamler, Eddie Pope, Matt Behncke - Chris Brown, Leighton O'Brien (Leslie Fitzpatrick 46), Kenny Cutler, Andy Williams (Seth Trembly 46) - Jason Kreis - Clint Mathis, Dante Washington (Jamie Watson 62)
REAL SALT LAKE
Real Salt Lake suffered their second consecutive loss and 10th in the last 14 league contests, falling 4-2 to the Kansas City Wizards at Rice-Eccles Stadium despite seeing Jason Kreis hit for a landmark goal. Still, Real remain in fifth place in the Western Conference with 19 points from 22 matches, six behind fourth-place Colorado Rapids and seven ahead of fellow expansion club Chivas USA.
The Wizards completed a sweep of their three-game road trip in style, hitting for four goals as they scored nine on the road swing, holding off a late Real comeback in a 4-2 victory that also saw the first player in MLS history to hit for 100 goals, as Kreis reached the century mark.
Once again Real was hit early, as Josh Wolff found an unmarked Sasha Victorine in the heart of the penalty area to give the visitors an eighth-minute lead.
But the Wizards didn't score again until after the break, when they broke the game open with two goals in five minutes. Scott Sealy snuck in behind the RSL defense and slotted home a Davy Arnaud pass (52), then in the 56th minute Wolff caught the Real defense napping and slid a pass to Chris Klein, who poked home Kansas City's third of the night.
Real pulled a goal back seven minutes later as Jordan Cila let fly with a powerful blast that beat Wizards 'keeper Bo Oshoniyi, then nine minutes after that RSL got within one on the landmark goal from Kreis. Dante Washington sent a looping pass to the top of the penalty arc that Kreis hit with a wicked left-footed full volley on the turn, the ball dipping under the crossbar to set off a wild celebration in the Rice-Eccles stands.
But the Wizards restored their two-goal margin four minutes from time as Victorine hit for his second on the night, skipping through the Real defense before hammering a low drive under 'keeper D.J. Countess.
Real head coach John Ellinger made one change to the team that lost 4-1 to the New England Revolution the previous Wednesday. Nelson Akwari came in at right back as Seth Trembly was suspended, though Ellinger's team underwent a tactical re-fit with Rusty Pierce moving to a holding midfield role.
Here's Ellinger's team (4-4-2): D.J. Countess - Nelson Akwari, Brian Dunseth, Eddie Pope (Dante Washington 63), Paul Broome - Andy Williams, Kenny Cutler, Rusty Pierce, Chris Brown - Jason Kreis, Jordan Cila (Jamie Watson 77)
"Effort was good, possession was very good ... we created a lot of chances. (But) we're never going to go anywhere until we stop all the easy goals that go in," said Ellinger. "We just make it too easy for teams at times."
The loss was the first on FieldTurf for Real this season. They had lost at home this year, but that came when grass was laid over the Rice-Eccles field for a World Cup qualifier.
In four of their last six games, Real have allowed a goal in the opening 15 minutes. They've allowed 11 of their 44 goals on the campaign in the opening quarter-hour, meaning they've been playing catch-up in about half of their games this year.
"For me, it has to be mentality," said Kreis. "We have to go into games with the mentality that we're not going to give away goals in the first 15 minutes. When you give away goals in the first 15 minutes of a game, you're going to find it tough to get results."
The Kreis landmark goal was named the Sierra Mist MLS Goal of the Week. He said he had struck a ball with his left foot only one other time in his career - in the inaugural season of 1996.
"Probably the most bittersweet moment of my life right now," said Kreis. "Has to be one of the best goals I've ever taken in this league. I'm going to be proud of that one for sure. I'll look back on that one on video for years and years, but I am extremely, extremely disappointed with the result."
The anticipation of reaching 100 goals had been growing for weeks, and Kreis was happy to finally hit the century mark.
"I wish I could stand here and be dishonest and say it wasn't on my mind. I have kind of been a little dishonest the past couple of weeks," he said. "I finally figured out what 100 meant to me. I told people last year when I broke Roy Lassiter's record that 100 would mean more to me, and it does because it means 10 goals a year over 10 years, and I think that's pretty neat."
The work visas have arrived for Guatemalan international defender Gustavo Cabrera and Jamaican international Robert Scarlett. They, along with Adolfo Gregorio, will all be available this weekend for Ellinger.
"With the addition of these three players, we're a better team," Ellinger said. "And that's the excitement. And if we can find another player somewhere on in the season, we'll look at that too. You have to keep looking. Other teams are still looking for players. Teams are still trying to do whatever they have to do to get better."
Ellinger didn't say whether the three would start, but said they are likely to see action. "Between injuries and call-ups it has been very difficult for us to get any consistency (on defense)," said Ellinger. "But we have got to change the way we are playing defense."
To make room for the new arrivals, Leighton O'Brien was sent to Seattle of the USL First Division (second tier) and forward Dipsy Selolwane was given his release.
While center back Eddie Pope left Saturday's game in the 63rd minute after aggravating an ankle sprain, Ellinger said he should be fine for the San Jose match. "He probably could've worked through it, but we were already down three goals and just made the decision to go with another forward and get him off."
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
The San Jose Earthquakes remained undefeated at home on the campaign and extended their unbeaten run to four games overall, playing to a 1-1 draw with the Colorado Rapids at Spartan Stadium last Saturday night. The Earthquakes remained atop the Western Conference as both teams behind them lost, now three points ahead of FC Dallas with 38 points from 22 matches, and six points ahead of the Los Angeles Galaxy.
The Quakes and Rapids shared the points in the only all-Western Conference matchup of the weekend, as the Rapids took their first points in the series in the fourth and final league game between the two clubs.
Ricardo Clark gave the Quakes the lead three minutes into the second half, racing onto a pass from Dwayne De Rosario that split the Rapids defense and ripping a low drive inside the far post from the right side of the area.
But the Rapids responded just nine minutes later through Jean-Philippe Peguero. Kyle Beckerman played a ball over the San Jose defense and though there was a hint of offside, the flag stayed down and the Haitian international held off a challenge before firing a shot over a diving Pat Onstad for the equalizer.
Earthquakes coach Dominic Kinnear made no changes to the team that defeated the Columbus Crew 2-1 at Spartan Stadium the previous Saturday. Here's Kinnear's team (4-3-1-2): Pat Onstad - Kelly Gray, Danny Califf, Eddie Robinson, Wade Barrett - Mark Chung, Ricardo Clark, Brad Davis (Brian Mullan 56) - Dwayne De Rosario - Ronald Cerritos (Ian Russell 84), Alejandro Moreno
"We've been playing so well, and our standards and expectations are so high that I think we kind of frustrated ourselves," said Kinnear. "We were just a touch off with our movement and our passing. It's game were you look at it and say 'I think we can play better.'"
The Rapids came to San Jose without a point against their Western Conference rival, and did leave with a share of the spoils. But it also could have been a playoff preview - if the season ended now, the Quakes and Rapids would face each other in the Western Conference semifinals.
"If teams want to come in and defend, that's fine," said Kinnear. "We'll take that any day. We're going to score a goal eventually, and when that happens, what's your plan 'B'?"
The Earthquakes could also take some solace from the belief that they didn't play well, and still came away with a point.
"I think tonight we weren't sharp at all," said defender Danny Califf. "I think pretty much every guy on the field passed the ball out of bounds tonight. I think every team goes through games like that. It's just disappointing that it came against a team we could and should have beaten."
The Earthquakes saw their attack hampered by the Rapids tactics, and didn't respond with the kind of effort they needed to change the game.
"We definitely didn't come out with an attitude that we were going to take it to them," said Califf. "There just wasn't a mental sharpness about our play. It showed straight away from the beginning. Once you start out like that, and you get into that lethargic mood, it's almost impossible to right the ship and try to come back. We couldn't really right the ship."
Said Kinnear: "They tried to disrupt the rhythm of the game," Kinnear said, "They stepped in front of the ball; they slowed the game down. They bunkered in."