(Santa Clara, CA) San Jose’s slide continued Saturday night as two second half goals from Dwayne DeRosario lifted DC United past the punchless Earthquakes, 2-0. The shutout loss stretches the Earthquakes’ winless streak to nine games, and their goalless streak to 216 minutes and counting.
The last time San Jose faced DC, back on June 11, Steven Lenhart scored a hat trick to lead the Earthquakes to a 4-2 victory and lift them above the break even mark (a 5-4-4 record) for the first and only time this season.
My, how times have changed.
San Jose has not won since that night, and have scored a total of four goals over the past nine matches. With a 5-8-9 record, the ‘Quakes’ 24 points has them 13th overall in the league, three places shy of a playoff spot.
“Losing at home is never good,” San Jose coach Frank Yallop said. “We didn’t move the ball. We were tentative, and played nervous. Some of our guys take plays off, which is disappointing. We got to talk about it, and address it, but it’s got to be in the players to be really fighting for their lives right now. Some guys didn’t tonight.”
San Jose made two changes from the starting eleven that faced Salt Lake last week. With Bobby Burling sitting out a red card suspension, Ramiro Corrales was back in the line up at center back. Alan Gordon logged his first minutes in a San Jose shirt, starting at forward and pushing Chris Wondlowski to left midfield where he replaced Rafael Baca.
DC came into the game with problems of their own. They had managed just one win in their previous eight matches, and were missing much of their attack Saturday as Josh Wolff (hamstring) and Joseph Ngwenya (injured in a collision during training Tuesday) did not dress for the game, and team-leading scorer Charlie Davies (knee inflammation) watched from the bench.
In a forgettable first half, DC had most of the ball, out shooting San Jose 6-2 without managing to put a single shot on goal. Meanwhile, San Jose’s first shot didn’t come until the 40th minute, when a diagonal ball from Jacob Peterson found Alan Gordon just inside the penalty area for a snap header that was hit straight at DC goalkeper Bill Hamid.
DC regained the initiative after intermission, and broke through in the 57th minute when from just shy of midfield Andy Najar sent a long ball forward to DeRosario. The Canadian international brought the pass down and fired from the top of the arc, beating San Jose goalkeeper Jon Busch cleanly to put DC ahead 1-0, breaking DC’s scoreless streak at 266 minutes.
San Jose made a couple of changes after that DC goal. Joey Gjertsen came on for Scott Sealy, playing left midfield and moving Chris Wondolowski up to forward, then Matt Luzunaris replaced Khari Stephenson in midfield, but the moves had little effect. Just after the second change, DC doubled their lead when Chris Pontius teed up DeRosario at the top of the penalty area for a blast that hit the top right corner of the net.
“This was as close to a must win tonight as you can get,” Jon Busch said. “It was there for the taking at 0-0 at halftime. We talked about DeRo being a game changer, and DeRo changed the game in the second half, we didn’t.”
“I thought at half time we had a chance to get something out of the game,” Yallop said. “On the first (goal), Nana (Attakora) slips and Dwayne smashes it in. The second goal was out of the blue, a great finish. That’s why he gets paid what he gets paid.”
With 20 minutes still on the clock, a long ball from Sam Cronin found Joey Gjertsen ahead of the pack, and when Andy Najar brought Gjertsen down from behind referee Mark Kadlecik went straight to his pocket, giving Najar a red card and San Jose an opportunity to get back in the game.
But the Earthquakes offensive struggles continued. In the 80th minute, a pass slipped through the DC defense, giving Chris Wondolowski an open shot on goal from 10 yards, but he was denied by a kick save from the DC ‘keeper.
“Enough is enough,” Jon Busch said. “We’re professionals, we have to find a way to win games. There’s no more excuses. We get paid to win games, period. Some days it’s a lack of energy, some days it’s a silly mistake, but we put ourselves in bad situations. It doesn’t matter who (is in the lineup), we as a team have to start winning games.”
San Jose will get their chance to get back on the winning track when they host the expansion Portland Timbers next Saturday night.
(Photo: Joe Nuxoll, centerlinesoccer.com)
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (5-8-9) VS D.C. UNITED (6-6-8)
July 30, 2011 – Buck Shaw Stadium
Scoring Summary: DC — Dwayne De Rosario (Andy Najar) 57; DC — Dwayne De Rosario (Chris Pontius) 66.
Misconduct Summary: SJ — Alan Gordon (caution) 37: DC — Andy Najar (ejection) 70: DC — Austin Da Luz (caution) 79.
San Jose Earthquakes — Jon Busch, Tim Ward, Ramiro Corrales, Nana Attakora, Jacob Peterson, Sam Cronin, Khari Stephenson (Matt Luzunaris 66), Bobby Convey, Chris Wondolowski, Scott Sealy (Joey Gjertsen 58), Alan Gordon (Anthony Ampaipitakwong 73).
Stats: Total Shots: 12; Shots on Goal: 2; Saves: 3; Fouls: 9; Offside: 4; Corner Kicks: 5.
D.C. United — Bill Hamid, Perry Kitchen, Dejan Jakovic, Brandon McDonald, Daniel Woolard, Andy Najar, Stephen King, Clyde Simms, Chris Pontius (Ethan White 89), Blake Brettschneider (Austin Da Luz 73), Dwayne De Rosario (Brandon Barklage 84).
Stats: Total Shots: 13; Shots on Goal: 4; Saves: 2; Fouls: 10; Offside: 6; Corner Kicks: 4.