Reserve forward Alan Gordon scored a goal and assisted on another from Chris Wondolowski to lift the San Jose Earthquakes to a 2-1 victory over Real Salt Lake on Saturday night.
The victory allowed San Jose (10-3-3) to move into first place in the Western Conference. Javier Morales scored for RSL (10-5-2), which suffered its second straight home loss in MLS action and third consecutive setback at Rio Tinto Stadium overall.
The Earthquakes opened the scoring in the 76th minute when Ramiro Corrales played a long ball down to Gordon inside the box. Gordon headed the ball over Nick Rimando before he could get to it. The ball bounced across the goal line and into the net to give San Jose a 1-0 lead.
It didn’t last long. Morales struck in the 79th minute. He blasted the kick over the five-man wall and toward the left post. Busch tried to bat the ball away, but it slipped through his fingers and evened the score at 1-1.
San Jose gained advantage again in the 84th minute when Gordon headed a throw-in to Wondolowski’s feet. He sent a right-footer at Rimando and the veteran keeper attempted to cover it up. The ball slipped out of his grasp and continued into the net to give the Earthquakes a 2-1 lead.
Good defensive play from both teams set the tone during the first half. San Jose and Salt Lake each created plenty of scoring chances. Finishing those opportunities proved problematic. Goalkeepers Jon Busch and Rimando traded fantastic saves to keep it scoreless going into halftime.