SANTA CLARA, Calif. – D.C. United extended their lead atop the Eastern Conference, while the San Jose Earthquakes dug their hole even deeper at the bottom of the West.
Eddie Johnson scored from the penalty spot and Luis Silva added another from open play in the first half as United overcame Chris Wondolowski’s sixth goal of the season for a 2-1 victory Friday night.
D.C. United (9-5-4) extended their road winning streak to three consecutive matches while widening the gap over second-place Sporting KC to five points. San Jose (4-8-4) dropped their fourth overall, including three straight home games, despite breaking a scoreless streak that had dated to May 31.
The visitors went up in the 12th minute with a little inadvertent help from one of their former members. Quakes right back Brandon Barklage – who broke into MLS with D.C. from 2009 to 2011 – deflected Chris Rolfe’s shot from the edge of San Jose’s penalty area. He did so with an extended left arm, however, drawing an immediate whistle from referee Jair Marrufo.
Johnson took command – despite the presence of Silva, who had D.C.’s only successful PK conversion this year – and sent a well-placed shot to his right, eluding the dive of San Jose goalkeeper Jon Busch, who guessed correctly to no avail.
Silva would create his own chance in the 25th minute, making a sharp near-post run as Rolfe rolled a cross in from the left wing. Silva beat US international Clarence Goodson to the ball, and his sliding touch at the edge of the six-yard box left Busch no chance at the far post.
D.C. almost went up 3-0 in the 36th when some fine passing found Rolfe open in the heart of San Jose’s area. But Busch came up with the critical reaction save from 13 yards, keeping things close until the 39th, when Wondolowski ended the Quakes’ drought at 354 minutes, the second-longest such streak in MLS this season.
Wondolowski, playing his first competitive match since his disappointing miss for the US against Belgium in the World Cup, used two touches to set up a left-footed drive from 21 yards. A deflection off a D.C. United defender left goalkeeper Bill Hamid wrong-footed and Wondolowski had his first goal since May 3.
Desperate to avoid falling below .500 at home on the season, the Quakes pushed forward from all areas in the second half, but Hamid proved up to the task, making five of his seven saves after intermission. He batted aside Wondolowski’s tightly angled attempt in the 58th minute, then scrambled in the 66th to parry Atiba Harris’ shot, which was about to sneak inside the near post from wide on the right wing.
Sam Cronin was denied by Hamid after he hammered a left-footed try in the 77th. And Alan Gordon, on late as San Jose’s final throw of the dice, was turned back twice in the waning minutes, including a wide-open header at point-blank range in the 91st minute.
Both teams are back in action next weekend, with the Quakes facing a cross-country road trip to the New York Red Bulls on Saturday, while D.C. host Chivas USA at home on Sunday.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Bill Hamid||A huge performance in the later stages of the game, with none of his five second-half saves better than his stoppage-time denial of Gordon|
|2||Chris Rolfe||A quiet second half hurt his case, but Rolfe shined in the first half and helped draw the PK for D.C.'s first and setup their second|
|3||Davy Arnaud||An active performance from the longtime vet, and helped frustrate San Jose centrally at every turn, even when Perry Kitchen was having a less-disciplined night than normal|