The San Jose Earthquakes once again saw late heroics decide a match this season, but this time they were on the happy end, as an Alejandro Moreno goal nine minutes from the end gave them a 2-2 draw with Real Salt Lake on Saturday night at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
The Earthquakes had seen late goals doom them to two losses and a draw in their first three matches this season, but after Jason Kreis scored goals 11 minutes apart in the first half to answer an early Brian Ching goal, Moreno sent San Jose home with at least a point from their first match in Utah.
The Quakes opened the scoring after just 11 minutes. A nice pass to the corner from Dwayne De Rosario put Brad Davis in a great postion to whip a cross in to Brian Ching, and he beat his marker and headed home to put the Quakes in front.
It was a league-leading fourth goal of the year for Ching -- all on services from Davis, though this was the first from open play.
San Jose gained confidence from the early goal, pushing the Real defense back and creating many more quality chances early.
But the luck changed for San Jose in the 21th minute as Eddie Robinson was called for a foul in the area on Brian Dunseth as the RSL defender battled for a free kick sent into the box, referee Ben Jones ruling on the foul in his first game as an MLS referee.
Kreis converted from the spot for his 93rd career tally but it wasn't a guarantee, driving his shot through the hands of Earthquakes 'keeper Pat Onstad who narrowly missed keeping it out.
The home side then gained the upper hand, and took the lead 11 minutes later. Clint Mathis concluded a long run on the counterattack by feeding Kreis racing alongside on the left. Going one-on-one with Onstad, Kreis slipped the ball through the San Jose keeper's to give Real a 2-1 lead going into halftime.
But it was the Quakes that came out of the intermission inspired. Cerritos connected on a beautiful half-volley in the 54th minute, forcing a difficult save from D.J. Countess.
Dominic Kinnear's second half substitution paid dividends for San Jose. Moreno replaced Cerritos in the 64th minute, then almost 20 minutes later he put the Quakes level.
Brian Mullen beat two Real defenders to send a high cross to a diving Moreno, and he headed home his second goal of the season to give San Jose a valuable point on the road.
The Earthquakes travel to face the MetroStars next weekend at Giants Stadium (ESPN2, 4 p.m. ET), while Real also hits the road as they head to The Home Depot Center in the first-ever clash against fellow expansion club Chivas USA (7 p.m. PT).
MLSnet.com Man of the Match: Jason Kreis (Real Salt Lake)
Scott McAllister is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.
San Jose Earthquakes (1-1-3) vs. Real Salt Lake (1-2-2)
April 30, 2005 -- Rice-Eccles Stadium
SJ -- Brian Ching 4 (Brad Davis 5) 11
RSL -- Jason Kreis 2 (penalty kick) 21
RSL -- Jason Kreis 3 (Clint Mathis 2) 34
SJ -- Alejandro Moreno 2 (Brian Mullan 1) 82
San Jose Earthquakes -- Pat Onstad, Craig Waibel, Troy Dayak, Eddie Robinson, Wade Barrett (Ricardo Clark 72), Brian Mullan, Danny O'Rourke, Brad Davis, Brian Ching, Dwayne De Rosario, Ronald Cerritos (Alejandro Moreno 65).
Substitutes Not Used: Ryan Cochrane, Jon Conway, Ian Russell.
TOTAL SHOTS: 19 (3 tied with 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 15 (Brian Mullan 4); FOULS: 13 (Eddie Robinson 4); OFFSIDES: 1 (Brian Ching 1); CORNER KICKS: 3 (Brad Davis 2); SAVES: 4 (Pat Onstad 4)
Real Salt Lake -- D.J. Countess, Rusty Pierce, Matt Behncke, Brian Dunseth, Nelson Akwari, Chris Brown (Evan Whitfield 80), Brian Kamler, Clint Mathis, Andy Williams (Leighton O'Brien 66), Leslie Fitzpatrick, Jason Kreis.
Substitutes Not Used: Jordan Cila, Luke Kreamalmeyer, Jay Nolly, Marlon Rojas, Dipsy Selolwane, Seth Trembly, Jamie Watson.
TOTAL SHOTS: 9 (Jason Kreis 5); SHOTS ON GOAL: 6 (Jason Kreis 3); FOULS: 15 (Jason Kreis 4); OFFSIDES: 3 (Clint Mathis 2); CORNER KICKS: 3 (Andy Williams 3); SAVES: 13 (D.J. Countess 13)
RSL -- Jason Kreis (caution; Professional Foul) 58
RSL -- Rusty Pierce (caution; Pushing, Holding) 73
RSL -- Clint Mathis (caution; Game Disrepute) 89
Referee: Ben Jones
Referee's Assistants: Nathan Clement; George Vergara
4th Official: Alex Prus
Time of Game: 1:51
Weather: Partly Cloudy-and-64-degrees
All Statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial