Powered by goals from Ronald Cerritos, Brian Ching and Dwayne DeRosario, the San Jose Earthquakes captured their first win of the season Saturday night, defeating previously unbeaten Kansas City 3-2 at Spartan Stadium.
DeRosario, making his first start of the season for San Jose, bagged the game-winner in the 57th minute with a spectacular individual effort, culminating in a 25-yard shot off the left post as the Earthquakes twice overcame Kansas City leads.
The Earthquakes, who have struggled to protect leads of their own early in the season, were able to keep the Wizards off the board for the final 33 minutes plus stoppage time.
San Jose was put under pressure early when Josh Wolff got behind the Earthquakes defense on a counterattack and was denied from close range by goalkeeper Pat Onstad.
The Wizards then broke through shortly after, as rookie Scott Sealy gave Kansas City a fifth-minute lead. After Jimmy Conrad shot from the top of the box, the San Jose defense was unable to clear and Sealy picked up the loose ball and drilled it past Onstad from point-blank range.
The Quakes struck back on a counterattack of their own in the 14th minute. Right back Craig Waibel sent a long ball to Cerritos who got behind the left side of the Kansas City defense, held off a defender and fired into the near post through the hands of goalkeeper Bo Oshoniyi.
San Jose began to establish superiority in possession midway through the first half as the constant shifting between Brad Davis and DeRosario began to pay dividends. Davis, who started on the left flank, began to slide more into the center, but he slipped out wide for a cross to Ching, whose left-footed shot was parried by Oshoniyi in the 24th minute.
DeRosario, making his first MLS start in the center of midfield, had an opportunity just seconds later, but his 22-yard right-footed shot was saved by a diving Oshoniyi.
But the Earthquakes were caught with numbers forward as Chris Klein got down the left side, received a long ball from Kerry Zavagnin and beat Onstad on a breakaway in the 34th minute. Klein was able to time his run perfectly as Waibel, positioned on the other side of the field, kept him onside.
However, San Jose was able to again pull even in the 40th minute on a diving header from Ching off a free kick by Davis. For Davis, it was his third assist off a set piece this season and Ching has now scored three goals on headers from Davis crosses.
After nearly condeding a go-ahead goal by Wolff in the 55th minute, the Earthquakes pulled ahead just two minutes later on a spectacular individual effort by DeRosario, off a double assist from Ching and Cerritos. DeRosario received a short pass and dribbled across the field left to right before unleashing a 25-yard shot that glanced in off the left post to make it 3-2.
San Jose nearly relinquished the lead in the 60th minute when Eddie Robinson was whistled for a penalty on Jimmy Conrad. But Onstad saved Wolff's spot kick, deflecting the ball off the crossbar.
MLSnet.com Man of the Match: Dwayne DeRosario (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.
Kansas City Wizards (1-0-1) vs. San Jose Earthquakes (0-1-2)
April 23, 2005 -- Spartan Stadium
KC -- Scott Sealy 1 (unassisted) 5
SJ -- Ronald Cerritos 2 (Craig Waibel 1) 14
KC -- Chris Klein 3 (Kerry Zavagnin 1) 34
SJ -- Brian Ching 3 (Brad Davis 4) 40
SJ -- Dwayne De Rosario 1 (Brian Ching 2, Ronald Cerritos 2) 57
Kansas City Wizards -- Bo Oshoniyi, Sasha Victorine (Alex Zotinca 61), Jimmy Conrad, Nick Garcia, Jose Burciaga Jr., Chris Klein, Diego Gutierrez, Kerry Zavagnin (Khari Stephenson 83), Davy Arnaud, Josh Wolff, Scott Sealy (Jack Jewsbury 46).
Substitutes Not Used: Will Hesmer, Shavar Thomas.
TOTAL SHOTS: 13 (Josh Wolff 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 8 (Josh Wolff 3); FOULS: 18 (Davy Arnaud 5, Diego Gutierrez 5); OFFSIDES: 1 (Josh Wolff 1); CORNER KICKS: 6 (Jose Burciaga Jr. 5); SAVES: 3 (Bo Oshoniyi 3)
San Jose Earthquakes -- Pat Onstad, Craig Waibel, Troy Dayak, Eddie Robinson, Wade Barrett, Brian Mullan, Dwayne De Rosario, Danny O'Rourke, Brad Davis (Ricardo Clark 83), Brian Ching, Ronald Cerritos (Alejandro Moreno 80).
Substitutes Not Used: Chris Aloisi, Ryan Cochrane, Jon Conway, Tighe Dombrowski, Wes Hart, Roger Levesque, Ian Russell.
TOTAL SHOTS: 9 (Dwayne De Rosario 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 6 (Dwayne De Rosario 3); FOULS: 23 (Brian Ching 5); OFFSIDES: 3 (Brian Ching 3); CORNER KICKS: 3 (Brad Davis 2); SAVES: 6 (Pat Onstad 6)
SJ -- Danny O'Rourke (caution; Reckless Foul) 53
SJ -- Brad Davis (caution; Pushing, Holding) 58
KC -- Jose Burciaga Jr. (caution; Tackle from Behind) 62
KC -- Davy Arnaud (caution; Pushing, Holding) 67
KC -- Diego Gutierrez (caution; Pushing, Holding) 73
Referee: Terry Vaughn
Referee's Assistants: Chris Strickland; Paul Scott
4th Official: Ricardo Salazar
All Statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial.