SANTA CLARA, Calif. — No matter what uniform he wears, Dwayne De Rosario keeps on killing the team that gave him his MLS start.
In just his fifth game for D.C. United, De Rosario scored a pair of second-half goals and the visitors hung on despite playing a man down for the final 20 minutes on Saturday to beat the San Jose Earthquakes, 2-0 at Buck Shaw Stadium.
The goals were De Rosario’s fourth and fifth in 589 minutes of play against the Quakes, who brought the Canadian international to MLS in 2001 as an allocated player from the A-League’s Richmond Kickers.
D.C. United (6-6-8), who haven’t lost on the road since April 29, beat the Earthquakes in their home stadium for the first time since June 3, 1998. Current United coach Ben Olsen had a goal and an assist in that contest, which was held at the Earthquakes’ former home of Spartan Stadium.
United’s Andy Najar was ejected in the 70th minute for hauling down Joey Gjertsen, who had slipped behind the visitors’ defense. But San Jose (5-8-9) still couldn’t find the back of the net, and thus saw their winless streak extended to nine consecutive matches.
It’s the Quakes’ longest victory drought since the franchise was re-established in 2008, and provided a disappointing start to a critical three-match homestand for San Jose, who finish with seven of their last 10 matches on the road.
De Rosario, acquired by DC from the New York Red Bulls on June 27, broke open what had been a mostly defensive contest — the clubs combined for just one shot on goal in the first half — by taking advantage of a San Jose miscue in the 57th minute.
Earthquakes center back Nana Attakora slipped trying to react to a long lead pass from Najar, leaving De Rosario open in the heart of San Jose’s defense. De Rosario settled the ball and took one dribble before beating a charging Jon Busch from 21 yards, with the shot bouncing in off of the bottom of the crossbar.
The goal ended D.C. United’s scoreless run at 266 minutes, dating back to July 9.
DC midfielder Chris Pontius set up the second goal in the 67th minute, working free deep on the left wing and feeding a grounded pass to De Rosario, whose one-timed shot from 14 yards burrowed into the far upper corner of the net.
San Jose leading scorer Chris Wondolowski had the hosts’ best chance in the 80th minute when he sprang free on the right wing, but D.C. United goalkeeper Bill Hamid made a sliding foot save to turn aside the 2010 Golden Boot winner.
Pontius authored the first half’s most dangerous moment, although that wasn’t saying much. The attacker picked up the deflected rebound of his own blocked cross and fired a low shot from 12 yards out wide on the left side. The ball skittered harmlessly past the far post, however.
San Jose’s attack was equally uninspired. The Quakes didn’t register a shot on goal until the 40th minute, when Alan Gordon put an easy header straight into Hamid’s stomach.
Luck almost struck for San Jose in the 42nd minute, when Jacob Peterson’s throw-in from deep on the right wing bounced into the six-yard box. Wondolowski’s lunging try at a header was just short, however.
With Charlie Davies hampered by left knee inflammation and Josh Wolff left out of the traveling party due to his strained left hamstring, Olsen fashioned a new front line, pushing De Rosario up top for the first time since he joined United on June 27 and pairing him with rookie Blake Brettschneider, who received his first start in six weeks.
While DC celebrated Dejan Jakovic’s return to the middle of their back line after an eight-match absence, San Jose were left scrambling for center backs in their own jury-rigged defense. Jason Hernandez (right calf), Bobby Burling (red-card suspension) and Ike Opara (left foot fracture) were all unavailable at center back, so San Jose coach Frank Yallop slid captain Ramiro Corrales inside from his usual left back spot, Corrales’ first time there in years.
In the absence of target forward Steven Lenhart (still away on personal leave), Yallop gave Gordon his first start since arriving from Toronto on July 14. It didn't inject much life in San Jose's attack, however.
DC -- Dwayne De Rosario 2 (Andy Najar 4) 57
DC -- Dwayne De Rosario 3 (Chris Pontius 2) 66
SJ -- Alan Gordon (caution; Reckless Tackle) 37
DC -- Andy Najar (ejection; Denied Goal Scoring Opportunity (Foul)) 70
DC -- Austin Da Luz (caution; Reckless Foul) 79
D.C. United -- Bill Hamid, Perry Kitchen, Dejan Jakovic, Brandon McDonald, Daniel Woolard, Andy Najar, Stephen King, Clyde Simms, Chris Pontius (Ethan White 89), Blake Brettschneider (Austin Da Luz 73), Dwayne De Rosario (Brandon Barklage 84).
Substitutes Not Used: Marc Burch, Charlie Davies, Chris Korb, Steve Cronin.
San Jose Earthquakes -- Jon Busch, Tim Ward, Nana Attakora, Ramiro Corrales, Bobby Convey, Chris Wondolowski, Sam Cronin, Khari Stephenson (Matt Luzunaris 66), Jacob Peterson, Alan Gordon (Anthony Ampaipitakwong 73), Scott Sealy (Joey Gjertsen 58).
Substitutes Not Used: Chris Leitch, Ellis McLoughlin, Justin Morrow, David Bingham.
Referee: Mark Kadlecik
Referee's Assistants: James Conlee; Mike Kampmeinert
4th Official: Edvin Jurisevic
Time of Game: 1:52
Weather: Clear and 70 degrees