Earthquakes late-game heroics continue with Lenhart brace in draw vs. FC Dallas

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By BRYAN ROBISON

After taking the lead twice in the final third of the match, FC Dallas thought they were going to escape Buck Shaw Stadium with a crucial three points. But Steven Lenhart denied the visiting squad both times, knocking in a pair of equalizing goals to deny FC Dallas of being just the second team to defeat the Earthquakes at home this season, as the thrilling match ended in a 3-3 draw.

Lenhart came on as a sub early in the second half, replacing an injured Mehdi Ballouchy. And much like he and the Earthquakes have done all season, he and the self-proclaimed "Goonies" lived up to their team motto- "Goonies never say die".

“We kept ourselves in the game," Lenhart said after the match. "We played some ugly soccer at times tonight, but we got the ball to bounce our way for the equalizer. [Alan] Gordon played a great ball back and I was lucky enough to beat the defender to it. That was one of the best team efforts of the season.”

That attitude was needed due to an FC Dallas squad that has held a similar attitude over the last few months, as the Texan club has threatened for a playoff spot after finding themselves at the bottom of the standings as recently as mid-July. After a first half that saw both clubs head into the locker rooms with a goal, the second half would bring twice as much action, both between the crossbars and between the two physical teams.

Just a week after breaking his nose, David Ferreira broke the game open with an assist to Blas Perez, who headed in his second goal of the game midway through the second half. Lenhart would respond for the Earthquakes just ten minutes later, as he knocked in an Alan Gordon pass to even it up at 2-2.

Then the game broke open again, this time as Ferreira was taken down by Sam Cronin on a breakaway by FC Dallas. Ferreira did not take kindly to the professional foul by Cronin, jumping up immediately and running over to shove Cronin. The shove escalated into midfield madness, as both teams came face-to-face. Despite a few extra shoves by other players, the scuffle ended up with just yellow cards for Cronin and Ferreira.

On the ensuing free kick, Dallas again took the lead, as Matt Hedges knocked in the third goal of his rookie season. With just minutes to go, Dallas was hoping to take a pivotal three points, which would even them up with Vancouver for the final spot in the Western Conference playoff hunt. However, as San Jose has done so many times this season, they made sure to have the final say.

With six minutes of stoppage time thanks in part to the dispute between Cronin and Ferreira, San Jose earned a corner in the closing minutes. After knocking it around the box for a while, Lenhart headed in the dagger, tying up the match yet again, and certainly disappointing a dejected FC Dallas squad.

The Lenhart goal in stoppage time was the ninth goal in second half stoppage time for San Jose this season, a Major League Soccer record.

“I am proud of the effort again, especially at the end of the game," said San Jose head coach Frank Yallop. "Tonight wasn’t one of our better games possession-wise. They made it difficult on us and they played well and pressed us, especially in the first half.

"We pushed the issue in the second half so I was happy with that. Overall, we shaded them on chances, but it was probably a fair result.”

With three matches left, FC Dallas remains two points behind Vancouver for fifth place in the Western Conference. They will travel to Los Angeles to take on Chivas USA next Sunday. Meanwhile, San Jose will look to continue their run towards the Supporters' Shield as they travel to Colorado to take on the Rapids next Saturday.

Here are the highlights:

 

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What did you think of the match? Will San Jose hold off Sporting Kansas City for the Supporters' Shield? Will FC Dallas catch up to Vancouver for the final playoff spot?

Share your thoughts below.

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15 Responses to Earthquakes late-game heroics continue with Lenhart brace in draw vs. FC Dallas

  1. T says:

    Team of destiny?

  2. Good Jeremy says:

    I’m Barack Obama and I approve of this Goonies reference.

  3. JRP says:

    Lenhart is the worst thing about the MLS.

  4. Swift says:

    Please explain how Lenny is bad for mls. This should be funny!

  5. ex_sweeper says:

    Not a good game from the Quakes at all; the final result didn’t reflect how poorly they controlled the game. It was Bernardez who was mostly at fault, and that’s a rarity. He made wild runs up field and didn’t have the pace to get back. If it weren’t for some heroic covering by Jason Hernandez, they could have been down by a lot more than 3 goals.

    Leaking 3 goals at home won’t fly in a playoff situation. Get back to solid defense, and we’ll be fine. Rely on last-second comebacks and we’ll be out in the first round.

  6. MetrofanNo1 says:

    I sure hope so…

  7. BigBirdLenny says:

    Don’t feel too reassured. I guarantee we’d dominate your soft, overpaid, poorly coached team in any MLS finals meeting.

  8. WK says:

    Whatever. Teams and fans are mad at themselves because they can’t match Lenny’s effort. Lenny plays hard and he expects it in return. Poor discipline leads to retaliatory fouls by other teams aggravated by his tough play and goofy smile. When have you ever seen Lenny do anything but nod his head “that’s what I’m talking about!” and flash a big grin when somebody takes him down?

    The Lenhart haters on SBI have become their own punch line.

  9. soccerhorn says:

    He’s a thug and a cheat an he thinks it’s funny.

  10. NE REVS says:

    So with Lenhart on 10 goals that’s him, Wondo and Gordon with double digit goals. I’m going to assume that’s a first.

    Also, Lenhart is an animal in the box on 50/50 headers. Putting FCD players on their butts like he’s a China in a bull shop.

  11. Skoman says:

    My team will not win the MLS cup playing defense like this. What is to be done?

  12. Soccernst says:

    San Jose’s aerial dominance in the box was the only thing keeping this even remotely close. The SJ midfield got destroyed. But Gordon is like flypaper to the longball and Lenny is the human missile. Ugly ugly game.

  13. Swift says:

    In no way is he a cheat. He plays harder then 99% of the league and wears out the Defnese. If you’re mad at anybody it should be the defense that gets emotional and makes fullish plays.

  14. Ryan says:

    But you can’t always live by the last second goal. It has been astounding how many times the Quakes have been able to do this. Impressive to be sure but if that is the plan in the playoffs every game it’s not gonna work out so well.

  15. d says:

    um…Lenhart’s second goal was the only aerial dominance. His and Gordon’s other two goals were kicked in.