Two second-half goals from captain Dwayne De Rosario helped visiting D.C. United to a 2-0 win over the punch less San Jose Earthquakes last night at Buck Shaw Stadium on the campus of Santa Clara University. The win was the first for United in the greater San Jose area since a 4-0 win in 1998 when current United coach Ben Olsen was a rookie. United exacted a bit of revenge on the Quakes for their 4-2 hammering of United at RFK Stadium last month. It certainly helped that the man who single handily destroyed United on that night, Steven Lenhart, was not in the lineup due to personal reasons. His three goal and one assist performance that night was the last time the Quakes won an MLS match, now going 8 games without a win (0-4-4).
United were the more dangerous side through the first 45 minutes narrowly missing out on two golden chances from Blake Brettshcneider and De Rosario a few minutes apart but it was the home side that had the only shot on goal courtesy of an Alan Gordon weak header attempt in the 41st minute.
Hardly a minute into the second half, United finally registered their first attempt on goal through De Rosario’s left-footed blast from 22 yards. That was a harbinger of things to come as the Canadian finally put United ahead in the 57th minute. Andy Najar, United’s most effective player for United up until the goal, sent a ball over the top for De Rosario. The former Earthquake benefited from a slip by Quakes defender Nana Attakora and he was alone in on goal. With defensive help closing him down, De Rosario let loose a shot from the 22 yards that hit the underside of the crossbar and settled into the goal for a well deserved 1-0 lead for the visitors.
United has struggled all season long in building on their advantages but tonight was different when De Rosario scored again in the 67th minute thanks to his teamwork with Chris Pontius. Pontius and De Rosario worked a well-crafted give-and-go along the left flank with Pontius racing along the end line towards the penalty area. Pontius’ pin point pass met De Rosario in stride and his right-footed missile found the upper 90 to Jon Busch’s left and gave United a rare two-goal lead.
United were in firm control but potential disaster struck in the 70th minute when Najar was sent off for denying a goal scoring opportunity. San Jose sub Joey Gjertens got behind United’s defense with no one in sight for the Black-and-Red. Najar raced back to attempt to tackle the ball away but his clumsy challenge left the referee with no choice to send Najar off. Najar will now miss their home match versus struggling Toronto FC next weekend at RFK Stadium.
With 20 minutes still left to play, United were forced to bunker in and keep the clean sheet to escape with a valuable road win. Goalkeeper Bill Hamid helped his own cause with a fantastic one-v-one save on Chris Wondolowski in the 80th minute which all but deflated the already suffering home side. Hamid marshaled his goal area the rest of the way and got his 6th shutout of the season. United now has a 4-3-3 record on the road this season, including two West Coast wins. United now has a golden opportunity to garner their first tw0-game winning streak in over two years when they host Toronto FC next weekend.
– Dejan Jakovic made his much welcomed return to the starting lineup tonight. Ethan White made way for Jakovic who hadn’t played since United’s 3-2 win in Portland on May 29th
– Brettschneider and De Rosario were the unlikely forward duo last night due to the continuing injuries to Josh Wolff and Charlie Davies. Joseph Ngwenya also was ruled out due to injury, though Davies did make the 18-man roster