After defenders Chad Marshall and Eddie Robinson traded first-half headers, a Ronald Cerritos strike midway through the second half was the difference for the San Jose Earthquakes as they defeated the Columbus Crew 2-1 on Saturday evening at Columbus Crew Stadium.
For the Earthquakes, it was their first-ever regular-season victory at Crew Stadium, and their first league victory in Columbus since the inaugural 1996 season. It was the third consecutive home defeat for the Crew.
Columbus head coach Greg Andrulis once again had to run out a new lineup. With Kyle Martino out of the game due to a red card in the Crew's last match, John Wolyniec was also bothered by the flu, meaning both were unavailable. That meant a return to the starting lineup for both Danny Szetela and David Testo. Szetela had not started since April 30, first suffering a mild concussion, then playing in the World Youth Championships for the USA. Testo made his first appearance since April 15 when he sprained an ankle.
Once they settled in, the Crew nearly opened the scoring in the 13th minute. Szetela crossed the ball to the far post where Edson Buddle rose above several defenders, only to head just wide of the target.
Following a foul by Marshall on San Jose winger Mark Chung, Wade Barrett sent in a dangerous cross four minutes later. Robinson redirected the ball towards the far post with a diving header, but Crew netminder Jonny Walker pushed the ball out for a corner kick.
The Crew then took the lead in the 18th minute by way of a corner kick. Testo curled in the corner with his left foot and defender Marshall headed the ball off the crossbar and almost straight down before spinning back into the field of play. But with the help of his assistant, referee Andrew Chapin ruled the ball had completely crossed the goal line for Marshall's first league goal of his MLS career.
After another corner kick in the 25th minute, Columbus wasted another superb chance. Mario Rodriguez, in the starting lineup despite a hamstring strain, cleaned up a weak clearance by the Earthquakes defense, but his uncontested shot from the heart of the penalty area went wide of the post.
San Jose leveled the match by way of a free kick in the 30th minute. Marshall fouled Wade Barrett near the sideline to yield a set piece. Cerritos swung the free kick right in the middle of the goalmouth where the unmarked Robinson easily beat Walker from close distance for the defender's first goal of the season.
Columbus began the second half with a great scoring chance as Simon Elliott played a beautiful ball behind the Earthquakes defense to Chris Henderson. Henderson centered the ball to Knox Cameron who was just unable to reach the ball with his head. Cameron had come into the match at the break for Buddle, who suffered from Achilles tendonitis.
Sloppy play in the back by the Earthquakes then nearly allowed the Crew to take the lead in the 55th minute. While Chapin waved to continue play after Rodriguez was bumped in the box, Kelly Gray carelessly let the ball go out for a corner even though no Crew players were in the surrounding area. Elliott's corner was cleared, but Szetela corralled the ball and his shot went inches wide of the near post.
The Earthquakes then took the lead through a wonderful passing movement. A one-two between Ricardo Clark and Alejandro Moreno sprung Clark down the left side of the pitch. The midfielder rounded the corner before slotting the ball back to Cerritos and the MLS veteran beat Walker with a first-time shot on the turn to give the visitors the lead in the 63rd minute.
The Crew narrowly missed equalizing four minutes later. Cameron settled a throw-in and knocked the ball wide to Rodriguez. The Guatemalan international sent a low, driven ball to the far post where Henderson was lurking, but he was unable to get a foot to the ball.
The Black & Gold again threatened in the 72nd minute as Henderson was fouled by Robinson 25 yards from goal. From the center of the pitch, Elliott beat the five-man wall with his swerving shot, but did so by putting too much loft on his shot and Earthquakes goalkeeper Pat Onstad handled it rather easily.
A pair of Crew defenders got forward in the 84th minute with hopes of injecting some life into the attack. Using his long throw, Mark Schulte found Marshall in the center of the goal, but his header was directly at Onstad.
Then with a final gasp in the 89th minute, another sharply driven cross by Rodriguez went untouched in front of the Earthquakes goal, and San Jose was able to escape with a first league win at Crew Stadium and first in Columbus since July 20, 1996, though they did defeat the Los Angeles Galaxy in the stadium in MLS Cup 2001.
The Crew travel to Chicago next weekend to take on the Fire in a Saturday matinee that is part of a doubleheader with the friendly between Real Madrid and CD Guadalajara. The Earthquakes continue their eastern swing at D.C. United on Friday evening.
MLSnet.com Man of the Match: Ronald Cerritos (San Jose Earthquakes)
John Kuhn is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.
San Jose Earthquakes (7-3-7) vs. Columbus Crew (4-10-2)
July 09, 2005 -- Columbus Crew Stadium
CLB -- Chad Marshall 1 (David Testo 1) 18
SJ -- Eddie Robinson 1 (Ronald Cerritos 6) 30
SJ -- Ronald Cerritos 5 (Ricardo Clark 2, Alejandro Moreno 2) 63
San Jose Earthquakes -- Pat Onstad, Wes Hart, Kelly Gray, Eddie Robinson, Wade Barrett, Brian Mullan (Ian Russell 81), Ricardo Clark, Danny O'Rourke, Mark Chung, Alejandro Moreno (Julian Nash 85), Ronald Cerritos.
Substitutes Not Used: Chris Aloisi, Jon Conway, Chris Wondolowski.
TOTAL SHOTS: 7 (Ronald Cerritos 2, Eddie Robinson 2); SHOTS ON GOAL: 3 (Eddie Robinson 2); FOULS: 18 (Brian Mullan 4); OFFSIDES: 5 (Ronald Cerritos 3); CORNER KICKS: 3 (Mark Chung 2); SAVES: 3 (Pat Onstad 3)
Columbus Crew -- Jonny Walker, Mark Schulte, Robin Fraser, Chad Marshall, Chris Wingert (John Wolyniec 79), Mario Rodriguez, Simon Elliott, Danny Szetela, Chris Henderson, David Testo (Jamal Sutton 67), Edson Buddle (Knox Cameron 46).
Substitutes Not Used: Stephen Armstrong, Devin Barclay, Bill Gaudette, Stephen Herdsman, Ryan Kelly, Eric Vasquez.
TOTAL SHOTS: 15 (3 tied with 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 4 (Chad Marshall 2); FOULS: 23 (Chad Marshall 5); OFFSIDES: 2 (Chris Henderson 1, Mario Rodriguez 1); CORNER KICKS: 7 (Chris Henderson 3); SAVES: 1 (Jonny Walker 1)
SJ -- Alejandro Moreno (caution; Reckless Foul) 26
CLB -- Chris Wingert (caution; Pushing, Holding) 36
CLB -- Robin Fraser (caution; Persistent Infringement) 42
CLB -- Mark Schulte (caution; Reckless Foul) 76
SJ -- Ricardo Clark (caution; Dissent) 85
Referee: Andrew Chapin
Referee's Assistants: Robert Fereday; Jorge De la Bandera
4th Official: Jeffrey Mellen
Time of Game: 1:51
All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial.