STANFORD, Calif. – Steven Lenhart's 85th-minute header gave the San Jose Earthquakes a narrow 1-0 win over Minnesota Stars FC on Tuesday night at Cagan Stadium, clinching a US Open Cup quarterfinal date with the Seatttle Sounders.
Though the Earthquakes had a few chances to take the lead before Lenhart's goal, the narrow scoreline reflected the back-and-forth nature of the game, with the NASL side looking dangerous on the break but unable to finish off its few chances.
The best opportunity of the first half came as Gordon got the deftest of touches on the ball to spring Lenhart, only for the latter target man to see his low shot deflect off both the far post and crossbar and back out.
Minnesota, on the other hand, were unable to take advantage of a few lazy plays from the San Jose backline, with the Quakes defenders doing enough to avert the danger they created for themselves.
The Stars did, however, hit the bar in the 38th minute as Miguel Ibarra cut back and ripped a shot that beat David Bingham, only to see it skim off the crossbar.
The Earthquakes came out strong in the opening minutes of the second period, and Stars goalkeeper Matt VanOekel had to be at his best to tip over Ike Opara's header after Marvin Chávez's second attempt from a corner. Lenhart had another header seconds later stopped more comfortably as the Quakes looked to assert themselves on the game.
Lenhart had the best chance of the closing stages of the game, but failed to control a cross from Chávez at the far post despite having an open net to shoot on, though he would redeem himself minutes later.
And with five minutes until the final whistle, Chávez freed Steven Beitashour down the right flank, and looped a cross back to the center of the area, where Lenhart beat VanOekel to the ball and ended home to secure the result for the hosts.
The Earthquakes will play host to the Sounders in the USOC quarterfinals on June 26 at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco.