Coming off a shocking midweek romp over Sporting Kansas City, the San Jose Earthquakes rolled into RFK Stadium on Saturday night, and put a damper on D.C. United's Supporters' Shield run with a 2-0 victory. Chris Wondolowski scored in the 4th minute, the 4th consecutive home game in which United had conceded within the first 10 minutes of the game.
Shea Salinas scored the second for San Jose early in the second half, and United failed to beat David Bingham in San Jose's net, the first time United had been held without a goal all season at RFK. Fabian Espindola, Steve Birnbaum, and Bill Hamid all missed the game with various injuries, while only Andrew Dykstra and Kofi Opare kept their starting spots from the team that won 1-0 at Arabe Unido midweek.
Since Toronto FC ended United's club record 20 game unbeaten streak at RFK Stadium, United had won three straight games, while giving up four goals in the first 10 minutes of those game. That penchant to start slow continued on Saturday, as Wondolowski had the 'Quakes up in the 4th minute. Quincy Amarikwa's cross was palmed away by Dykstra, and Wondolowski initially couldn't apply the finish.
The ball fell right back to the US striker though, and his second effort find a way past Dysktra at the far post for the early lead.
United then began to apply pressure at the other end, looking for an immediate response. Conor Doyle had a long cross looking for Alvaro Saborio pushed out by Bingham, before Kofi Opare nodded the resulting corner kick just wide.
A dummy from a cross in the 17th minute almost found Saborio in the box at the far post, and then Saborio hit the wall from a free kick that went out for a corner. Taylor Kemp's corner was helped on to the back post by Bobby Boswell, but Saborio couldn't convert the chance, with his sliding effort from six yards out sailing over the goal.
As the half wore on, United continued to have the better of possession, but their effort on the ball didn't quite lead to as many chances. Michael Farfan had the ball in the back of the net, but Saborio had used his arm to block Bingham's clearance, chalking off the goal.
Saborio's flick from Doyle's long ball just failed to find the run from Davy Arnaud, with Chris Rolfe then wasting a nifty move by rolling his shot wide from outside the box. Kemp lined up a long range shot in the last five minutes of the half, but his effort was wide, and Sean Franklin couldn't direct the ball on target.
The Black-and-Red finally forced a save out of Bingham in the opening stages of the second half, but Bingham had Saborio's curler to the far post well covered in the 48th minute.
San Jose had absorbed most of the pressure since Wondolowski's opener, but Amarikwa's solo run in the 52nd set up the Earthquake's second goal, courtesy of Salinas. Amarikwa gathered the ball at midfield, making one defender miss, before making his way towards goal. He then picked out Salinas out wide, and the midfielder took a touch before wrapping one around Dykstra for the two goal advantage.
D.C. went back to creating the majority of chances, but lacked the killer instinct needed to find a way to get back into the match. Rolfe had a long range effort that was held by Bingham, and Boswell saw his volley at the back post from a corner blocked out for another corner, which United couldn't convert.
A cross through the box found Arnaud unmarked at the far post in the 61st minute, but the veteran midfielder lashed his shot wide of the goal. Nick DeLeon, who had come on at halftime for Farfan, won a header from Kemp's cross in the 70th, but put his effort wide of the near post.
In the last 15 minutes , United had two chances to get themselves a goal back to potentially set up another furious comeback, but neither effort resulted in a goal. Jairo Arrieta, who had entered the game in the second half for Rolfe, picked out Arnaud's run in the box. Arnaud lined up a shot, but Bingham was quick off his line to cut down the angle, and Arnaud couldn't convert the chance.
Saborio then was the recipient of Arrieta's work in the box, as the Costa Rican took the ball from fellow substitute Chris Pontius, before lifting a ball to the back post. Saborio was unmarked when the ball reached him, and while his header had Bingham beat, it bounced wide, denying United their goal.
Victor Bernardez came close to making it three for San Jose, but his long range free kick was deflected just wide of Dykstra's post, and the 'Quakes couldn't convert the corner.
United, with 44 points from 27 games, returns to action on Tuesday, hosting Montego Bay in their second group stage game in the CONCACAF Champions League. The Black-and-Red then head up north for a showdown with the New York Red Bulls on August 30.
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