all against conference opposition -- with a dominating performance, scoring three goals in the opening 34 minutes to ease to victory.
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).
Earthquakes head coach Dominic Kinnear made one change to the team that played to a 1-1 draw with Chivas USA at The Home Depot Center the previous Sunday. Kelly Gray made his Quakes debut, coming in at right back for Chris Aloisi.
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)
"It was a dream start for us tonight. The guys came out with an aggressive approach and we created a number of great opportunities," Kinnear said. "We wanted to attack wide and I think that all three goals came from wing play, so I am pleased about that. Overall, I am just happy for the guy because we haven't scored a ton of goals."
TEAM NEWSBrian Ching made his first appearance since May 14, coming on as an 82nd-minute substitute to a standing ovation. He suffered a right hamstring strain on that day in a scoreless draw with FC Dallas.
The day after his return to league action, he played 54 minutes in a reserve match against the Real reserves and said he ready to return to the first team. "It's 100 percent,'' he said. Before going with the injury, Ching led the Quakes with four goals.
Wide midfielder Brian Mullan should also be available this weekend, as he rejoined the team in training Monday. Mullan had been sidelined by a fractured left ankle.
Gray was living a dream in his return to San Jose. After undergoing some of the usual welcome hassles - securing tickets for family and friends and greeting well-wishers from his hometown - he hit the back of the net for the second San Jose goal.
"It has kind of been a dream come true. I wasn't happy there in Chicago, and I just couldn't have come to a better place. The guys have been so nice and welcoming, and it has been perfect, a dream come true," he said. " ... I came in here just trying to have a good performance in my debut. It just happened that Ronald [Cerritos] played me an unbelievable ball, and I was able to get a good touch and have a good shot. It continues the dream that I am in right now."
Both fullbacks - Gray and Wade Barrett scored remarkable goals, continuing give-and-goes that ranged over nearly half the field. "It was a great team performance. We looked really comfortable going forward and we were solid defensively. We need to keep playing like that and I think that we can expect good things this season." Said RSL coach John Ellinger: "When two outside backs score goals against you, you're not having a good game defensively," said Ellinger.
LOS ANGELES GALAXY
The Los Angeles Galaxy saw their road struggles continue on Wednesday night, conceding a second-half equalizer to Real Salt Lake - who had gone nearly 10 hours, an MLS record, without scoring a goal - in a 1-1 draw at Rice-Eccles Stadium. The Galaxy are still in second place in the Western Conference with 24 points from 14 matches, six behind FC Dallas but still six ahead of third-place San Jose.
On the FieldTurf surface in Utah, the Galaxy sent out a relatively young lineup, and took just 17 minutes to open their account. Peter Vagenas played a long ball out of the back for Naldo da Conceicao to make a long run onto, and he powered his shot through the legs of RSL 'keeper D.J. Countess for his first MLS goal.
But after passing D.C. United record goalless mark of 536 minutes late in the first half, Real finally found the back of the net. Andy Williams collected the ball and found rookie Jamie Watson to his left, and the young striker hit home for his first professional goal (56). It was Real's first goal in 557 minutes.
"Both teams were a little desperate out there," said Galaxy forward Landon Donovan.
Galaxy boss Steve Sampson made two changes to the team that lost 1-0 to FC Dallas the previous weekend at the Cotton Bowl. Tyrone Marshall was suspended and Cobi Jones held out of the starting lineup, as Mubarike Chisoni was given his first MLS start in midfield with Michael Umaña moving to central defense, and Naldo da Conceicao also coming back into the team.
Here's Sampson's team (4-3-1-2): Kevin Hartman - Ugo Ihemelu, Pablo Chinchilla, Michael Umana, Todd Dunivant - Mubarike Chisoni (Paulo Nagamura 51), Peter Vagenas, Herculez Gomez (Cobi Jones 54) - Landon Donovan - Ednaldo da Conceicao, Jovan Kirovski
TEAM NEWSAfter scoring 18 goals in their first 10 games, the goals have started to dry up for the Galaxy, now with just two goals in their last four games. "I think it has a lot to do with our service," Sampson said. "I think we need to be a lot more precise. We're not putting the ball where it belongs. That was the case again tonight."
Because of the artificial surface and playing games in short order, Sampson kept veteran Cobi Jones out of the starting lineup. But he was very influential in the final half-hour. "Clearly, in the 35 minutes he played, he got in behind the defense three or four times," said Sampson. "All we needed was a little more timing."
The Galaxy continued to struggle away from Carson. They defeated Chivas USA earlier this year in what was considered a road match, in the match of the two Home Depot Center inhabitants. Not including that match, the last away victory for the Galaxy was a 1-0 victory at Soldier Field against the Chicago Fire on June 27, 2004.
Over that 13-game stretch, the Galaxy have lost eight games and scored just six goals on their travels. Steve Sampson has not won a game outside of southern California while in charge of the Galaxy, and since the start of 2003 (when the Home Depot Center opened), the Galaxy have won just three games (drawing 12) in 36 games outside of Carson.
"Maybe when we come out here we relax too much and maybe that's something we need to change," said Vagenas. "We know at home that if we don't get three points, we're getting booed off the field and that's a lot of pressure to play Saturdays at home. Everyone thinks it's easier to play at home, it's actually more difficult because of the pressures there at the Home Depot Center. We come on the road and maybe take a deep breath. Maybe I need to fly in 30,000 Los Angelenos to these other stadiums so we have that pressure."
Still, a draw is perhaps a step in the right direction. After getting shutout by the Rapids and FC Dallas, the Galaxy were able to get a point. Vagenas gives credit to the coaching staff who called their players out, questioning their effort. "Our coaching staff really got in our face for the first time all year," he said. "They challenged us, and we take that personally."
Next up is a trip to San Jose - the former home of Landon Donovan. Last weekend, when the Spartan Stadium public-address announced the upcoming match, the crowd booed. "For them to boo would be a disappointment (personally)," Donovan said. "But it's just people caring about their team, which is a good thing. Ten years ago, no one would have cared, but now they do. You'd like everyone to be nice, but I am realistic. I just hope there is some level of respect by people for what I did for the team."