The San Jose Earthquakes did a lot of new things Sunday night in Houston as they beat the Houston Dynamo 2-1 at Robertson Stadium.
They reached the nine-win plateau for the first time since returning to San Jose in 2008, won for the first time ever in Houston, and had first-time goals from Geovanni and Khari Stephenson. San Jose also moved to 32 points, which puts them in a tie with Seattle in the seventh position in the playoff race.
READ: GEOVANNI PROVES DP STATUS
WATCH: FULL MATCH HIGHLIGHTS
WATCH: GEOVANNI'S GOAL
Stephenson scored his first regular-season goal of his MLS career in the 6th minute as he finished off a cross following a long run from Geovanni, who made his first start since joining San Jose. Geovanni burst down the right sideline, leaving four Dynamo defenders behind, and then picked out Stephenson in the area. Stephenson finished coolly to the right of a helpless Pat Onstad.
Houston leveled just before halftime as Brad Davis headed in a Brian Mullan cross, beating Jon Busch to the far post.
Geovanni found himself on the scoresheet again in the 64th minute, this time with the first goal of his MLS career. The Brazilian playmaker pounced on a deflected ball inside the penalty area and beat Onstad with a low, hard shot.
The goal was set up by some nice combination play on the left wing. Chris Wondolowski found Brandon McDonald down the line and McDonald played a low cross in to the feet of Cornell Glen. Glen then tapped a pass back to Geovanni before San Jose's designated player capped the play off with a sizzling finish.
San Jose will next face FC Dallas on Saturday, Sept. 11 at 7:00 p.m. at Buck Shaw Stadium in another critical match in the race for the playoffs.
San Jose Earthquakes (9-7-5) vs. Houston Dynamo (6-12-5)
Sept. 5, 2010 – Robertson Stadium
Scoring Summary: SJ – Khari Stephenson (Geovanni) 6; HOU – Brad Davis (Brian Mullan) 45+; SJ – Geovanni (unassisted) 64.
Misconduct Summary: SJ – Jason Hernandez (caution) 38; SJ – Cornell Glen (caution) 45; HOU – Eddie Robinson (caution) 66; SJ – Sam Cronin (ejection) 84.
San Jose Earthquakes – Jon Busch, Tim Ward, Brandon McDonald, Jason Hernandez, Chris Leitch, Chris Wondolowski, Sam Cronin, Khari Stephenson (Bobby Burling 56), Arturo Alvarez, Geovanni (Brad Ring 85), Cornell Glen (Scott Sealy 74).
Statistics: Shots: 6; Shots on Goal: 3; Fouls: 8; Offsides: 2; Corners: 0.
Houston Dynamo – Pat Onstad, Andrew Hainault, Bobby Boswell, Eddie Robinson, Mike Chabala (Corey Ashe 77), Brian Mullan, Geoff Cameron, Richard Mulrooney (Adrian Serioux 83), Brad Davis, Dominic Oduro (Brian Ching 82), Cam Weaver.
Statistics: Shots: 16; Shots on Goal: 6; Fouls: 6; Offsides: 3; Corners: 6.
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES HEAD COACH FRANK YALLOP
On the result:
“It was our night tonight, we took our chances when they were there. We looked dangerous on the break and that was the difference. We created some good opportunities, and that is where the goals came from, the break. We are very happy with the three points tonight.”
On the performance of Geovanni:
“He is slowly but surely showing his quality with each day of training. He has played two 20 minute periods in the other two games he has had, and I thought tonight was a good time to start him. I think it worked very well tonight. Geovanni’s goal came after some good play on the wing, where Brandon (McDonald) makes a good run, plays a good ball in to Cornell and it gets laid off to Geovanni, who finished very well.”
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES MIDFIELDER KHARI STEPHENSON
On his first goal with the Quakes:
“The ball got to Geovanni wide, and I saw that Cornell (Glen) made a run and there was a big space down by the near post and made the run in. Geovanni played a perfect ball through, and I tapped it in. It’s always a good feeling to score a goal.”
On what this means for the team:
“We have now won three of our last four games and I think it is important for the team to keep momentum going in the playoff race. It is a whole team effort, and everyone has been on the right page so far so we just need to keep that going.”
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES FORWARD GEOVANNI
On whether he liked his goal or assist better:
“I liked both (the goal and the assist), but what I liked most of all was that we won. That’s one of the goals that I have, to be able to help the team get to the playoffs.”
On his first MLS start:
“I feel good playing in MLS; it was nice to score a goal. Hopefully the way I played today, I can continue playing this way going forward and getting better. I’ve felt good in training, and felt really good today. It feels very comfortable. I’m getting used to this different type of soccer.”