|Match Report – San Jose Earthquakes vs DC United|
The match seemed destined for a tie. The first half hour of play was uneventful and both teams seemed content with sharing possession of the ball in the midfield. But, in the 36th minute San Jose managed to open the scoring with a breakaway run by Ian Russell.
Cerritos collected the ball near his area and sent a pass into space for Ian Russell. Russell collected the ball on his own half and went to the races along the right flank. Despite being shadowed by Eric Denton, the San Jose midfielder entered the United box and managed to send a powerful shot past Mike Ammann to take the lead.
United tried to create effective attacks, but DC’s strikers were quelled by San Jose’s defense, led by former United player Jeff Agoos and Troy Dayak. United managed only one shot on goal before the halftime whistle, going into the locker room down by one.
However, things drastically changed in the second half. United scored two goals in 5 minutes to take the lead from San Jose. In the 48th minute, Eric Denton sent a powerful shot into the back of Cannon’s net. The young United defender collected the ball on the left flank near the San Jose box. He skillfully maneuvered past a San Jose defender and fired a rocket from outside the area that beat Cannon to the right post and into the goal. The strike was Denton’s first MLS career goal.
Five minutes later, Mark Lisi sent a pass into the box in an attempt to set up Conteh. The Gazelle was able to touch the ball, but not before Troy Dayak fell on it and smothered it with his chest and arms. Referee Noel Kenny immediately blew his whistle and pointed to the penalty spot. Moreno then calmly sent the ball past Cannon for United’s second of the night.
DC seemed to gain the momentum but had hardly any time to capitalize on it. Less than 1 minute after Moreno’s strike San Jose took advantage of a defensive miscue and tied up the match with Lagos’ first goal of the night. Zaidie failed to clear a cross sent by Ibsen to Lagos on the far post. Lagos simply trapped the ball and calmly sent the ball to the back of United’s net with a well placed shot to the far post.
San Jose continued to pressure, and nearly went ahead in the 72nd minute. But, a brilliant foot save by Mike Ammann kept the score tied at 2.
Things seemed to turn for United, when in the 79th minute Zak Ibsen was ejected for a flagrant foul against Bobby Convey. Despite the man advantage, DC United was unable to penetrate the San Jose defense, and, San Jose’s forwards continued their pressure against United’s back line.
In the 91st minute, a crafty heel pass by second half substitute Dwayne DeRosario found Ian Russell inside the United Box. The San Jose midfielder patiently waited for Lagos to make his run behind United’s defense before sending him a precise pass, which Lagos hammered past a helpless Ammann.
"We’ve got to find the right combination of players that are willing to step into a game, and say, you know what, we’re not giving up anything," said United head coach Thomas Rongen. "We are always going to create, we’re going to score some goals, but we need to defend better. I think the third game in a week took its toll on us a little bit, that’s not an excuse, but that just happens with teams."
"It’s a great win for us, to win on the road is great," said ex-United assistant coach Frank Yallop, now the head coach of San Jose. "It was a great game and at some point of the game, it could’ve gone either way. Our guys really dug deep and showed that they got good spirit and wanted to win the game."
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SJ – Russell (Cerritos, Agoos) 36′
DC – Denton (Pope) 48′
DC – Moreno (PK) 53′
SJ – Lagos (Cerritos) 54′
SJ – Lagos (Russel, DeRosario) 54′
Shots – 7/12
Shots on Goal – 3/6
Saves – 3/1
Corners – 3/6
Fouls – 18/19
Offside – 3/2
SJ Richard Mulrooney 4′ ()
DC Bobby Convey 40′ ()
DC Carey Talley 44′ ()
DC Marco Etcheverry 50′ ()
SJ Ronnie Ekelund 70′ ()
SJ Zack Ibsen 79′ ()
DC Eddie Pope 92′ ()