WASHINGTON – The nightmare is finally over for D.C. United.
Facing a San Jose Earthquakes club playing without reigning MLS MVP Chris Wondolowski and forward Steven Lenhart, United cashed in on an early penalty kick by Chris Pontius and held on the rest of the way for a 1-0 victory at RFK Stadium on Saturday night, snapping a club record 13-game winless streak.
The win was United’s second of the season and first in 105 days. San Jose, meanwhile, in their second match under interim head coach Mark Watson, are now winless in five of their past six (4-7-6, 18 points).
For the second match in a row, United (2-11-3, 9 points) were awarded a penalty kick in the first half and took advantage.
In the 10th minute, John Thorrington – wearing the captain’s armband for United with Dwayne De Rosario on the bench – played a ball to Chris Korb, who dribbled into the box and was tripped on an early tackle by defender Justin Morrow.
Pontius, an MLS Best XI selection last season, took the kick from the spot and beat San Jose goalkeeper Jon Busch low and to his left to give D.C. the 1-0 lead. Pontius’ first of the 2013 campaign gave United only their third lead of the season and helped mark the first time Ben Olsen’s club has led at halftime all year.
San Jose had three solid chances to level the match in the second half. In the 86th minute, Alan Gordon chipped one just over the crossbar on a one-touch effort after splitting the defense. In the 73rd minute, forward Adam Jahn’s left-footed offering beat United goalkeeper Bill Hamid, but banged off the far post, keeping United’s shutout intact.
And in the 61st minute, midfielder Shea Salinas snuck behind Daniel Woolard and Conor Shanosky and blasted one on target. Hamid, who recorded his fourth shutout of the season, made a leaping save to maintain the clean sheet.
In the first half, San Jose managed only one shot on target in a rather lackluster effort. After picking up their first win on the road against Colorado last week, the Earthquakes fell flat at RFK, where they had won their previous three matches. Yellow cards were issued to United’s Kyle Porter and Thorrington, while San Jose’s Jason Hernandez was cautioned in the first half as well.
In the 36th minute, United center back Ethan White was removed for Shanosky with an apparent head injury and went to the locker room with trainers.
United’s next match is Wednesday against New England in the US Open Cup at the Maryland SoccerPlex before hosting Vancouver at RFK next Saturday, June 29. The Earthquakes, meanwhile, host their California Clasico rivals, the LA Galaxy, at Stanford Stadium that same day.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Chris Pontius (DC)||Driving force behind DC's surge set up two other should've-been goals after knocking home the early penalty.|
|2||Shea Salinas (SJ)||Winger was pretty much the only thing the Quakes consistently had going forward, and kept coming tenaciously.|
|3||John Thorrington (DC)||With DeRo on the bench, United needed a veteran lift from someone steady, and the veteran midfielder wore the armband proudly and helped set up the winner.|