WASHINGTON D.C. - After falling behind in the first half to a Jaime Moreno goal, the San Jose Earthquakes responded well in the second half to come from behind in a 2-1 victory. Ramon Sanchez scored from a free kick in the 58th minute, and Ryan Johnson won the game for San Jose in the 73rd minute.
what amounted to almost a must-win match for United, they failed to
capitalize on a chance to move into 6th place in the playoff standings,
as they lost for just the second time at home all season in league play.
the result, United remained in 9th place with 36 points. They have just
three games left in league play to earn one of the last playoff spots.
The win for San Jose was their 6th of the season, as they moved to 25
points from 25 games.
United needed all three
points in this crucial match at home, but their play early on suggested
that they might struggle to do so. San Jose, a team long since
eliminated from playoff contention, proved to be a worthy opponent
early on, as United failed to break dwon their back line.
Marc Burch had the two early chances for United, but both times, his
left footed efforts went wide of the goal. Luciano Emilio won a header
from a corner in the 17th minute, but the header bounced over the bar.
the other end, San Jose offered little in attack, as their barrage of
long balls failed to challenge a back four that had kept consecutive
clean sheets in CONCACAF Champions League games.
wrinkle in United's otherwise vanilla attack in the first half produced
a goal in the 26th minute. Chris Pontius played a pass out wide for Ben
Olsen, who then waited for Pontius to make the overlapping run. Pontius
received a pass from Olsen down the left hand flank, and then one timed
a cross in towardds the near post for Jaime Moreno. Moreno controlled
the ball, took a quick turn, and then slotted a shot under San Jose
'keeper Andrew Weber for the 1-0 lead.
San Jose's response was
almost immediate, as a loose ball fell to Simon Elliot at the top of
the box just two minutes after the goal. Elliot hit a well placed shot
towards the corner of the goal, but United 'keeper Josh Wicks made the
save at full stretch, and then pounced on the rebound to avoid any
Proceedings then returned in favor of United, as
they pushed forward looking for a second goal in the match. Pontius had
a header cleared off the line on a corner kick, while Olsen and
Quaranta tested Weber from distance, to no avail.
In the 44th
minute, Ryan Johnson appeared to have equalized for San Jose, as he
nodded home a header from a Chris Leitch cross. However, the assistant
referee had flagged for offsides, despite replays indicating otherwise.
So instead of heading into halftime with the game level, United
maintained their advantage after 45 minutes.
only took moments for the game to take a drastic change for the worse
for United, as D.C. was forced to bring off Wicks in the 52nd minute.
He chased down a corner at the top of the box, only to get his hand on
the ball at the same moment that Johnson got his head on the ball.
Wicks' left shoulder was dislocated, and he had to be replaced by Milos
San Jose were level minutes later, as Ramon Sanchez
scored a wonderful free kick in the 58th minute. Having won a free kick
just outside the box, Sanchez won the battel between 4 'Quakes players
to take the free kick. His shot was placed over the wall, and snuck in
at the near post, leaving Kocic flat-footed.
The series of
events seemed to rattle United, as they played the next several minutes
of the match without much purpose. San Jose was still not offering much
going forward, but United was struggling to connect passes anywhere on
the field, and they began to appear frustrated at themselves.
the outcome in the balance, San Jose began to turn up the heat, with
Chris Wondolowski just missing a header from a long throw into the box
from defender Brandon McDonald.
Their pressure paid off just
moments later, as Johnson scored for San Jose in the 73rd minute.
Arturo Alvarez, who came on at halftime, pressured Burch in his own
half, and eventually wn the ball. Alvarez took a shot that Clyde Simms
deflected off the post. The ball then fell nicely to Johnson, who hit a
diving header into the goal before Kocic could recover, for the 2-1
United had to start pushing forward looking for an
equalizer, and their persistence paid off with several decent attempts
late on. But Emilio put a header wide from six yards out, and Pontius
failed to connect on a cross at the back post in the 81st minute.
looked ot have a goal in the 82nd minute, as his bicycle attempt caught
Weber off of his line. But it was Ramiro Corrales' turn to play hero,
as he cleared the would be goal off the line.
Thabiso Khumalo, a
second half sub for United, hit the crossbar in the 90th minute, as
Quaranta teed him up at the top of the box. United failed to create
another chance in the four minutes of stoppage time and San Jose ran
out surprising winners.
Steven Streff, Goal.com
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