where they had won just twice in their history -- and recorded a 2-0 victory last Saturday. The Quakes have 10 points from 10 matches, still seventh place in the West, now two points behind Real Salt Lake.
The Crew were coming into the game off a draw and two losses in their last three games -- all shutouts -- after reeling off five wins in a row, while the Earthquakes had won just twice on the season, fewest wins of any club in the league.
Yet it was the visitors who took the lead after just 10 minutes. Ronnie O'Brien tracked down a loose ball near the right touchline and swung in a high cross, where Ryan Johnson headed home for his second goal on the season.
The Quakes doubled the lead on the hour mark. Again it was O'Brien providing the service, this time from a freekick in the right corner, and Ramiro Corrales rose up unmarked to snap home a header for his second goal on the campaign.
Both teams were left a man short over the final 10 minutes as the Crew's Brad Evans was sent off with a straight red and San Jose's James Riley was expelled after a second bookable offense, but the Earthquakes held out for their victory in 14 all-time trips to the Ohio state capital. The Crew now have not scored in 367 minutes, the third-longest streak in club history, but the first time ever they've been shut out in four consecutive complete matches.
Earthquakes head coach Frank Yallop made four changes to the team that lost 3-1 to Real Salt Lake the previous Saturday. James Riley came back into the back four, for Nick Garcia. Kelly Gray and Ronnie O'Brien came into the midfield, for Joe Vide and Shea Salinas, and John Cunliffe was rewarded with a start up top in place of Jovan Kirovski.
Here's Yallop's team (4-4-2): Joe Cannon - James Riley, Ryan Cochrane, Jason Hernandez, Eric Denton - Ronnie O'Brien, Kelly Gray, Ned Grabavoy, Ramiro Corrales - Ryan Johnson, John Cunliffe (Jovan Kirovski 76). Substitutes Not Used: Dan Benton, Gavin Glinton, Matt Hatzke, Jamil Roberts, Shea Salinas, Joe Vide
"We've been overpowered in away games and I thought tonight was a good example of a fantastic away performance," said Yallop. "We made it miserable for the other team to play us, we took our chances when they came along and we were all over them. We fought until the very last kick, the last whistle and that was excellent."
It was a bit of a scrappy affair, with eight cards shown in all and the two ejections, one to each team. The Earthquakes committed 21 fouls, a season-high.
"That is what has been missing from us, and it might not be pretty, but we fought for every ball. We might have missed sometimes on tackles, we might have got into some challenges that were fouls, but it's football," Yallop said. "The other team is going to handle it and move on."
Unlike two weeks earlier, where the Earthquakes were made to sweat over the final minutes before holding on for a 2-1 victory against the Houston Dynamo, there were really no such worries in Columbus.
"We've been up at halftime quite a bit this year and we've let it go, and at some points we haven't even looked like we're getting back in it when we're down a goal. One up at half and then to go and get that second goal in the other half is a real testament to how this team has grown," said Ronnie O'Brien.
Corrales started wide on the left of midfield in a new look for the Earthquakes. Kelly Gray was given his first start since joining the club, while Ned Grabavoy moved a little deeper in the center of the park.
"We were very compact in the back and in the middle, and I think we made it difficult for them to play through us," said Corrales. "Then we got the second goal and it was pretty much over."
After a four-game winless run, the Quakes have now won twice in the last three weeks - both on the road. Following the Galaxy match, they will face four consecutive matches all away from northern California.
"We played a good game against Colorado on the road, and today we come out here and got the same kind of results," said goalkeeper Joe Cannon. "It does feel good though, obviously, if you look at the standings it's no mystery where we're at and so, it's good to make a leap and with a game in hand, and with the right results, hopefully we can get right back in the mix."
LOS ANGELES GALAXY
The LA Galaxy now sit tied for the Western Conference lead after knocking off the previous leader, the Colorado Rapids, 3-2 last Saturday at The Home Depot Center. The Galaxy have 17 points from 11 matches, along with the Houston Dynamo (with a game in hand), two points ahead of the Rapids.
The LA Galaxy were returning home after being shut out for just the second time on the season, ending a two-game winning run with a defeat by Toronto FC. The Rapids had alternated wins and losses for six successive rounds, last a late 2-1 victory at home against FC Dallas.
It took the Galaxy just four minutes to again find the back of the net. David Beckham swung in a freekick from the right flank, and after it bounced around the goalmouth scrum, Alvaro Pires was on hand to stab it home from close range for his first MLS goal.
The Galaxy doubled their lead in the 32nd minute. Abel Xavier sent a long ball down the right flank and Edson Buddle raced past the Colorado defense to latch onto it, ripping a sharply angled drive inside the far post from the corner of the area for his fifth goal of the year.
Just before the break, both teams were left a man short when Colorado defender Facundo Erpen and Galaxy striker Alan Gordon tangled at midfield and each was shown red by referee Kevin Stott.
The Galaxy made it 3-0 five minutes into the second half. Sent in all alone by Peter Vagenas, Ely Allen strolled in and curled a shot around Colorado goalkeeper Preston Burpo from the top of the box for his first professional goal.
But the Rapids came storming back. Omar Cummings stood up his defender on the left before sliding a centering pass to Colin Clark, and after skipping through the pair of defenders on the edge of the area, he slipped the ball inside the right-hand post for his first goal since the season opener (73).
Nine minutes later it was 3-2. Clark sent a high ball into the area that the Galaxy had trouble clearing and Herculez Gomez, who came on as a second-half substitute, found the ball at his feet and punished his former team from close range.
Galaxy manager Ruud Gullit made four changes to the team that lost 2-0 to Toronto FC the previous Saturday. Abel Xavier came into the back four for Troy Roberts. Peter Vagenas and Ely Allen came into the midfield for Joe Franchino and Brandon McDonald, and David Beckham returned from international duty for Mike Randolph.
Here's Gullit's team (4-3-1-2): Steve Cronin - Chris Klein, Sean Franklin, Abel Xavier, Mike Randolph - Alvaro Pires, Peter Vagenas (Ante Jazic 68), Ely Allen (Joe Franchino 65) - David Beckham - Edson Buddle (Carlos Ruiz 59), Alan Gordon. Substitutes Not Used: Brandon McDonald, Troy Roberts, Greg Vanney, Josh Wicks
"I think it was a crazy match for a coach. I think that the first half we played very good. It was a good match. Good goals also. I enjoyed watching my team," Gullit said. "I think the send off of Alan Gordon was a critical moment for the game itself. He gave us so much space, so much running and everything. It could go either way. I think the second half instead of being four-nil up, we made it difficult. Unnecessary. It was a crazy game."
While Landon Donovan was gone for a second consecutive match, this time winning his 100th cap with the U.S. national team against Argentina, David Beckham was back in the lineup. Donovan will again be out of the squad this week as the USA prepares for its opening World Cup qualifier against Barbados; as well, Carlos Ruiz will be with Guatemala's team.
"It's important to play with all your players, also Landon Donovan isn't here. He's scored nine goals for us, and he's with America," said Gullit. "It's really hard for me to still play while your players are having international duties. Normally, you have a break or something like that. That break would be perfect also for your players. In Europe, you play a lot of games, like here, but here you also have a lot of traveling. It costs a lot of energy. Time difference and all these kinds of things. It would have been nice if we had a break in the period when they play international games. Unfortunately, it's not like that."
While the Galaxy have been scoring goals in bunches, they've also been allowing them in bunches - their 21 goals conceded are second only to D.C. United's 23. The Galaxy haven't kept a clean sheet in nine matches, allowing two or more goals in seven of those.
"I think the first half we did really well. If you see the opportunity we had today, of course you say, how did you defend, but because all of a sudden we gave it away the attention comes to yourself," Gullit said. "The defense had nothing to do with it because it has to do with what you do up front. Every ball go forwards, every ball goes backwards. We had Edson there and we had [Alan] Gordon there. He could hold the ball, and then the midfielders could go forward. Every ball comes backwards. For us, it started up front."
As the second half wore on, Colorado injected some speed into the game, bringing on Omar Cummings and Herculez Gomez. The move seemed to trouble the Galaxy, who had difficulty the rest of the match maintaining any possession.
"It shouldn't have made really that much difference as both teams were down to 10 men. There should have been more space on the pitch, and there was," said David Beckham. "When you don't keep the ball and you don't keep possession, it makes it a tough game. Ten minutes into the second half we stopped playing our football and kept giving the ball away. When they've got players like they've got in their team, they're going to create chances."