FOXBOROUGH -- The San Jose Earthquakes maintained their mastery of the Revolution and established themselves as the top team in Major league Soccer with a 2-0 victory last night at Gillette Stadium.
The Earthquakes set a physical tone in the opening minutes, held off waves of Revolution attacks, then scored on a corner kick and counterattack in the second half. Brian Ching headed in a corner from substitute Kevin Goldthwaite in the 60th minute and Dwayne De Rosario finished after a long run 20 minutes later for San Jose [17-4-6, 60 points]. The Revolution [16-7-7, 55 points] remain four points from clinching first place in the Eastern Conference with two matches remaining in the regular season, at Kansas City next Saturday and against Chicago at Gillette Oct. 15.
San Jose has a 12-match [9-0-3] unbeaten streak against the Revolution, including a 5-0-1 record in Foxborough, and improved its road winning streak to five games.
The Revolution set the pace in the first half, earning 15 corner kicks and constantly crossing from the wings. But their fortunes declined soon after Taylor Twellman hit the crossbar with a sliding left-foot shot in the fourth minute of the second half.
Revolution forward Pat Noonan departed with an Achilles' tendon injury seconds after Twellman's shot and Daniel Hernandez was ejected by referee Ricardo Salazar after a clash with Alejandro Moreno in the 61st minute.
''We basically went at them for 60 minutes and thought we would score," Revolution coach Steve Nicol said. ''But in the final third [of the field] the last ball wasn't quite there. We put them under pressure for the majority of the game, with 11 or 10 players. Sometimes it is not going to happen for you. They defended corners well and we couldn't get that last touch in and that summed up the night."
Nicol disputed Hernandez's red card, which occurred on a play in front of the Revolution bench. Hernandez took a touch and then moved to shield the ball as Moreno moved in.
''The sending off was a joke," Nicol said. ''Legally, you are allowed to use your shoulder to fend off an opponent and to say [Hernandez] elbowed him in the face is wrong. It happened right in front of me. The referee was too involved in the game, he was giving fouls that weren't fouls and not calling fouls that were fouls. Some of the [fouls] he was giving were mystifying and ultimately it affected the game."
Wade Barrett sent the first 'Quake message by going through Hernandez from behind in the third minute. The Revolution continued to pressure, and De Rosario was cautioned for a foul on Shalrie Joseph in the 15th minute, then Moreno received a yellow card in the 33d.
But the San Jose defense remained compact and composed. Barrett and Brian Mullan on the left and Kelly Gray and Ian Russell on the right limited the Revolution effectiveness on the wings. The Revolution were able to find room for crosses, but the 'Quake central defenders and goalkeeper Pat Onstad were well-positioned to stifle any threat. Once Noonan departed, the Revolution lacked the guile to outmaneuver the San Jose defense.
The Earthquakes' first goal was set up by a clearance from Jay Heaps, who sent the ball over the end line from the center circle. Goldthwaite, who had replaced Russell in the 55th minute, curled the corner to the near post, Ching beat Michael Parkhurst to the ball, and headed it past Matt Reis. This was the second and last San Jose corner of the match and only the second corner kick resulting in a goal against the Revolution this year.
''I stepped up at the last second and tried to kick it off [Ching] and the ball angled away," Heaps said. ''I should have slid in with my left foot.
''We battled and outplayed them in the first half. We knew if they got corner kicks they had some trees in there and that would be how they were going to score. That's what they do well."