SAN JOSE, Calif. -- A surprise start for new signing Anibal Godoy sparked the San Jose Earthquakes to their first victory since June, as a Clarence Goodson goal was enough to give the Quakes an important 1-0 victory over the Colorado Rapids.
Facing the chance of dropping to last place in the Western Conference with a loss to the Rapids, San Jose put together a solid performance in front of 18,000 at Avaya Stadium to move five points clear of the conference basement. The Earthquakes win snapped a six game winless streak and moved them to within three points of the Seattle Sounders for the last playoff position in the West.
Goodson's second goal of the season came early in the second half off an assist from Quincy Amarikwa, his first of the season for the Quakes. Meanwhile, a quiet but solid showing from goalkeeper David Bingham in goal preserved the clean sheet for San Jose. It was the Earthquakes' fifth shutout in their last six MLS home matches at their new stadium.
Even with Godoy in the lineup, the Earthquakes found it difficult to gain control of the midfield, as former Quake and now Rapids captain Sam Cronin disrupted play at every opportunity. Along with midfield mate Jared Watts, Cronin was a constant presence in San Jose passing lanes from the opening whistle, and together, the two Rapids took every chance to slow down or stop play.
Two hard challenges by Cronin on Matias Perez Garcia, who was back in the starting lineup after sitting out the last two weeks with a leg injury, left the Argentine midfielder out of sorts, and he seemed to play at half-speed for the remainder of the half. However, he did his best to keep himself involved in the action, and what seemed to be an impending substitution never materialized.
The Quakes had a solid chance to nab the lead in the 22nd minute, as Quincy Amarikwa slammed a shot off a defender and collected the rebound to try again. Instead, goalkeeper Clint Irwin was able to parry a shot away at the near post to deny the forward.
Defender Jordan Stewart suffered a non-contact injury in the 25th minute as he turned near the center line to retreat on defense. He crumpled to the ground, clutching the back of his left leg around his Achilles tendon. An Earthquakes spokesperson would later call it a left ankle injury, and it forced Stewart to the sideline in favor of Shaun Francis.
In the 42nd minute, a nifty give-and-go between Shea Salinas and Amarikwa freed Salinas to snap a shot on target, but a lunging effort from defender Sean St. Ledger deflected the ball over the byline for another Earthquakes corner kick.
San Jose continued to press to end the first half, as the home side desperately looked to appease a restless Avaya Stadium crowd, but a resolute Rapids backline repelled every opportunity, and the game entered intermission scoreless.
The second half saw an early substitution for San Jose, as Marc Pelosi entered for Perez Garcia in the 50th minute. He immediately injected a bolt of energy into the squad, and three minutes later, the Quakes finally found the back of the net.
On a free kick into the area, the Rapids cleared the ball only as far as the left side of the penalty area before Amarikwa raced onto it. His chip back across the six-yard box was met by Goodson and headed in off the bottom of the crossbar to give San Jose a 1-0 lead.
Colorado did not respond with much intensity, as San Jose continued to press issues looking to put the game away. Pelosi and Godoy did well in the midfield to disrupt the Rapids at every turn, and late in the match, with numbers pushed forward, the visitors did not muster up much to change the proceedings.
When referee Allen Chapman blew his whistle to signal the end of the game, the Earthquakes celebrated a well-earned home shutout and the end to their season-high six game winless streak. Up next, the Quakes travel to the midwest to face Sporting Kansas City midweek and to the nation's capital to challenge DC United next weekend.