SANDY, UTAH — With their backs against the wall and playoff hopes dangling in the balance, San Jose came out on top with a little Lenny-magic. Two goals from the curly-headed forward later, the Quakes had their second road win of the season. It couldn’t have come at a more important point in the season either. San Jose (11-11-8) is now just four points out of the fifth and final playoff spot after defeating Real Salt Lake (14-10-6) by a final score of 2-1 at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Steven Lenhart, a player you love to hate, and hate even more when you play against him, gave the Quakes two goals off his noggin to propel his team to victory. All the scoring action happened within a span of four minutes in the first half. In the 18th minute, Cordell Cato played the ball into the center of the box and perfectly found Lenhart, who redirected the ball past the diving Nick Rimando. Just one minute later in the 19th, RSL found the equalizer off a corner. Javier Morales, left unmarked behind Jon Busch, one touch volleyed the ball to tie the game 1-1. This time, two minutes later, in the 21st minute, San Jose earned a free kick in the offensive half. A quick restart by Shea Salinas caught RSL’s back line flat footed, and Salinas found Lenhart once again, who headed the ball in just about the same spot to bring the game to its final tally of 2-1.
The second half saw no scoring, and the last twenty minutes were spent with San Jose wasting time the best they could. Busch was shown a yellow for time wasting, but it really didn’t matter at that point. After the four minutes of stoppage time, San Jose had won their 200th game in franchise history, and in the process, kept their playoff dreams alive. With the win, San Jose moves within four points of the last playoff spot. Currently tied for points with the Vancouver Whitecaps FC (41 points), the Quakes need to take as many points as they can from their remaining games.
The Quakes have just four games left in the regular season, two home and two away. Hopeful that this road win will boost their confidence on the road, San Jose will head to Southern California next Sunday to take on Chivas USA. The Chivas have a firm hold on last place in the Western Conference.
Game Notes: San Jose’s Clarence Goodson had to be helped off the field in the 71st minute, no word yet if the substitution was injury related. With the win last night, the Quakes avoided a season sweep by RSL.
(image courtesy of sjearthquakes.com)