WASHINGTON—League-leading D.C. United welcomed the San Jose Earthquakes to RFK Stadium on Saturday, with United aiming to stretch their lead atop the table, and the Quakes hoping to climb into playoff position.
San Jose emerged victorious, 2-0, riding Chris Wondolowski's shocking game-winner and a second-half insurance tally from Shea Salinas. The victory, their third in a row, levels the Quakes and Seattle Sounders in the race for the West's final playoff spot. United, despite the loss, remain atop the Supporter’s Shield standings – for now.
Many fans were still settling into their seats when San Jose nabbed the opener.
In the fourth minute, Quakes defender Shaun Francis streaked down the near sideline and unleashed a low, left-footed blast that United keeper Andrew Dykstra pushed back into the area. The rebound found San Jose midfielder Fatai Alashe in the area; he immediately redirected it to Wondolowski, who stung a right-footed attempt into the far side netting.
The goal marked the third time in as many games that D.C. has allowed an opener inside of four minutes, the fourth time inside 10, and the ninth inside 15, worst in MLS.
D.C. came close to equalizing in the 20th minute, when Taylor Kemp’s corner kick was redirected by Bobby Boswell at the top of the 6-yard box. Boswell’s flick found striker Alvaro Saborio at the back post, but Saborio’s finish sailed over the bar. A minute later, Michael Farfan appeared to tie the match, but the goal was disallowed after the ref correctly ruled Farfan handled the ball on the play.
After failing to hit the target with their first 10 attempts, United finally put San Jose keeper David Bingham to the test early in the second stanza: Saborio struck a bent, driven shot to the far post, where Bingham parried it at full extension.
The Quakes doubled their lead a minute later, when Quincy Amarikwa collected the ball 40 yards from goal, took an excellent touch around United center back Kofi Opare and played it out wide towards Salinas. Streaking toward the end line, Salinas turned, firing past Dykstra, just inside the far post (51').
D.C. pieced together a few additional chances in the second half: a Davy Arnaud attempt from inside the box found the wrong side of the near netting (65'), while Chris Rolfe sent in a threatening volley that was deflected away in the 74th.
In the 83rd, Saborio couldn't convert United’s best – and last – chance of the evening, steering a wide-open header from 7 yards a few feet to the right.
United won’t have much time to bounce back; they’ll welcome Jamaican side Montego Bay United to RFK on Tuesday evening for a CONCACAF Champions League encounter before traveling north for a clash with Eastern Conference rival New York on Sunday. The Quakes head home for a Friday clash with the surging LA Galaxy.