In a crucial match for both the San Jose Earthquakes and D.C. United, the Red and Black will be most pleased. The Earthquakes will rue their wastefulness in front of goal and their inability to turn the lion’s share of possession into a win. Andy Najar and Ike Opara provided the goals in a back-and-forth affair at Buck Shaw Stadium.
The game started at a torrid pace, with D.C. United earning a corner just 30 seconds in. United, after a few long-range blasts, ceded the possession game to San Jose, a decision they would rue. San Jose began to pump in long balls with physically gifted striker Ryan Johnson providing excellent hold up play.
Johnson thought he had scored just seven minutes in after he headed home a Brandon McDonald cross, only to see that he had been flagged offside by the linesman. United’s back line looked susceptible from the outset and yielded a soft goal not long after.
Stephen King’s bad touch gave the ball to Sam Cronin at the top of the box, and Cronin's first-time shot was well parried out for a corner by a diving Perkins. Convey’s corner was poorly dealt with. Juan Manuel Pena’s attempted clearance fell invitingly to rookie Ike Opara, who finished from 12 yards out to grab his third goal of the season.
San Jose took their early goal and controlled the tempo of the match and had most of the possession. They almost doubled their advantage in the 26th minute when Perkins strayed off his line, but Bobby Convey, who was the creative force for San Jose, scuffed his shot wide of Perkins’ open net.
Despite not seeing much of the ball, United found one dangerous opportunity as the half was closing. A corner found Jackovic at the back post, but his header was cleared off the line by Convey.
Curt Onalfo, who saw his side bested in the first half, brought on Jaime Moreno for a disappointing Adam Cristman at the break. The veteran’s entrance coincided with the best spell of possession for United throughout the entire night.
The improved possession paid off early on, as Stephen King was released behind the San Jose defense by Santino Quaranta. King turned and crossed to Najar at the back post. There, the academy product buried the ball in the back of the net with a volley to knot the game at one apiece.
San Jose again took over the game, and looked more likely to secure a winner. Bobby Convey crossed for Arturo Alvarez in the 69th minute, but the winger wasn’t able to put a foot on the ball. Alvarez, who entered in the 65th, was ineffective, and wasted another chance late in the game when he was behind the defense.
San Jose continued to push for a winner in front of the home crowd, and almost found it two minutes from time. Omar Jasseh, who entered in place of Chris Wondolowski, found himself open in the box when a deflected cross fell into his lap. His side-footed volley was destined for the back of the net, but a diving Troy Perkins parried it to the side, ending San Jose’s chances of securing a crucial three points at home.
Max Zeger is a Goal.com contributor. You can follow him on twitter @mcmz403 or read his blog, Yanks Soccer.
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