Commerce City, CO (Sports Network) - Mark Watson's first match in charge of
the San Jose Earthquakes resulted in three points on Saturday as the team held
off the Colorado Rapids for a 2-1 win at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.
Watson took over as interim head coach of the Earthquakes last week in place
of Frank Yallop, and he saw his side get off to a great start with a goal from
Steven Lenhart in the 11th minute.
The Rapids were then reduced to 10 men in the 18th when Atiba Harris received
a straight red card for a poor challenge on San Jose's Alan Gordon.
Sam Cronin made it 2-0 to the visitors early in the second half, but the hosts
put together a strong push over the final 25 minutes, and after pulling a goal
back through Nathan Sturgis, the Rapids nearly snatched a point with some good
pressure in a bid to extend the club's six-match unbeaten run.
Gordon's flicked header released Lenhart in the 11th minute and he lashed a
shot into the upper right corner of the net from 20 yards that goalkeeper
Clint Irwin could only get a fingertip on.
Harris saw red seven minutes later and it looked like it would be an easy
night for the 'Quakes when Cronin doubled the lead in the 52nd when he latched
on to a through ball from Rafael Baca before beating Irwin.
But Brian Mullan's right-wing cross allowed Sturgis to turn a header past
goalkeeper Jon Busch, who was fortunate three minutes later in a similar
circumstance that Jaime Castrillon's goal-bound header was hit straight into
the netminder's chest.
The final whistle brought relief for the San Jose bench as the team claimed
just its second win in 12 games.