In a much anticipated top of the table contest at Pizza Hut Park Saturday night, the San Jose Earthquakes and FC Dallas both started out a bit tentative, as neither team could take control. The Quakes eventually found a way, taking the 2-0 win and continuing the Hoops' winless streak.
Ronaldo Cerritos scored in the 50th minute, while Alejando Moreno tacked on the insurance in the 53rd for San Jose. FC Dallas is winless in their new home and winless in league play since late June.
Considering the World Cup qualifiers taking place Saturday, the two teams were fortunate as only FCD's Carlos Ruiz and San Jose's Dwayne De Rosario missed the match. The Hoops would have the disadvantage on that count as Ruiz has proved to be the best asset for Dallas lately.
For FC Dallas the most harmful play of the first half came in the 22nd minute as Simo Valakari received a yellow card which will put him out with a suspension for the next match at home against D.C. United.
Dallas began to find some opportunities midway through the first half as Steve Jolley rose above the crowd on a corner kick only to have his header bounce of the corner of the post in the 29th minute.
Hoops fans were given a nice surprise as Eddie Johnson was able to start, making his return just prior to the match having been released from Bruce Arena's U.S. national team camp.
Johnson nearly got on the score sheet in the 31st minute as Nunez found him with a well weighted ball, but EJ would be swarmed by the Earthquakes' defense and could not get off a shot.
David Wagenfuhr was his usual workhorse self down the left sideline all night for FCD, nearly setting up a goal in the 44th minute as he found Johnson in the box. But his ball was too low, forcing Johnson into a falling header attempt that was easily controlled by Quakes 'keeper Pat Onstad.
The Earthquakes came out in the second half with an eye on taking over the match.
San Jose waisted little time as Mark Chung found Cerritos wide open in the middle of the box for a header that beat a confused Scott Garlick in the 50th minute.
After giving up the disappointing goal FC Dallas tried to regroup. But just three minutes later Moreno made a nice cut across the box from the left and hit a tough shot on the ground that beat an out of position Garlick.
Following the Quakes' second goal, the newest member of FC Dallas, Mark Wilson, came on for Carey Talley to make his MLS debut.
Not long into that debut Wilson got acquainted with the referee, receiving a yellow for dissent.
The Quakes central defensive tandem of Eddie Robinson and Danny Califf did very well in containing Johnson and Roberto Mina in the attack, stifling the pair for the majority of play.
MLSnet.com Man of the Match: Pat Onstad, San Jose Earthquakes
Scott Joiner is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.