United picked up their first road win of the season on Saturday, defeating the San Jose Earthquakes 3-1 at Avaya Stadium thanks to an emphatic first-half performance that included three quick Black-and-Red goals.
Like in their prior matches, United came out aggressive from first kick, heavily pressuring the Quakes' back line and trying to find another early goal. The visitors' first chance of the night came in the 10th minute, when 18-year-old Chris Durkin served a perfectly-placed ball over San Jose's back line and to the foot of forward Darren Mattocks, who worked his way into the box but couldn't get a shot on target.
While Mattocks didn't get a clear chance to convert on the early attempt, United broke through five minutes later in the 15th minute. This time it was Luciano Acosta who served a well-weighted ball just behind the Quakes' back line, allowing Zoltán Stieber to slip through and beat keeper Andrew Tarbell to his right.
The match against San Jose was Stieber's third consecutive fixture getting on the scoresheet. The Hungarian scored his first goal of the season and tallied his first assist of the season at Philadelphia on April 28, then notched another assist at Salt Lake on May 12.
Five minutes later, United doubled their lead, with Acosta again setting up the goal. The Argentine helped force a turnover then charged the Quakes' back line, with Darren Mattocks making a run off to his right. Acosta calmly slipped a ball to Mattocks in the box, and the Jamaican one-timed a shot to the far corner to put the Black-and-Red up 2-0.
The goal was Mattocks' fourth of the season. The forward currently leads United in goals, shots (17), and shots on goal (8).
With their foot on the gas, United struck against in the 37th minute. Mattocks and Paul Arriola combined to force a turnover just outside of San Jose's box, and Arriola fed Yamil Asad who made a trailing run into the area. Asad picked out the right corner and one-timed his shot past Tarbell for the 3-0 advantage.
With three goals, 12 shots, and six shots on goal, Asad is second behind Mattocks in each category.
San Jose got on the board just before halftime thanks to Danny Hoesen, but United kept up the fight in the final 45 minutes to prevent the Quakes from ever truly getting back in the match. Homegrown Chris Durkin had a particularly strong night as he used his defensive midfield positioning to interrupt San Jose's build-up play, forcing turnovers and cutting off passing lanes. The strong showing earned the 18-year-old a spot on MLS' Week 12 Team of the Week—Durkin's first career Team of the Week honors.
David Ousted also came up with a number of important saves in the second half to subdue any potential San Jose momentum. While the Earthquakes found a few chances off of quick counter attacks, Ousted was there to make the final save when it mattered, stopping a total of five shots on the night.
The 3-1 victory was an important result for the Black-and-Red as they grind through a stretch of Western Conference games that includes trips to Los Angeles and Seattle up next. With two assists, three shots, and two fouls won on the night, Acosta was named the Heineken Man of the Match. United return to the pitch on Saturday, May 26, when they take on league newcomers LAFC for the first time ever at Banc of California Stadium.