Geovanni got his first MLS start, his first MLS goal, and his first MLS assist all in the same night as the San Jose Earthquakes downed the Houston Dynamo, 2-1 at Robertson Stadium Sunday night, to pick up three crucial points.
Quakes coach Frank Yallop rolled the dice and handed Geovanni his first MLS start of the year, and the designated player made his impact felt immediately. In the sixth minute, the Brazilian playmaker received the ball near midfield and raced 35 yards on the right past several Dynamo players. Near the edge of the box, he sent the ball to the penalty spot, where Khari Stephenson slotted home calmly to put San Jose up 1-0.
For much of the first half, Houston had more of the ball, but the Dynamo were inept in the final third. With Brian Ching on the bench with a knock, Cam Weaver and Dominic Oduro wasted several good chances.
However, in the final play before halftime, Houston pulled level. Brian Mullan beat Tim Ward down the right side and ripped a hard cross into the area. San Jose goalkeeper Jon Busch blocked the cross, but Mullan followed up, quickly crossing toward the penalty spot, where Brad Davis outjumped his maker to drift a header into the upper 90 and knot the score 1-1.
The first 25 minutes of the second half again saw Houston in control, but again Oduro and Weaver wasted their opportunities. In the 64th minute, against the run of play, the Quakes capitalized on a counterattack. Brandon McDonald fed the ball into the box, where Cornell Glen was dispossessed, but the ball fell to Geovanni, who finished easily to put the Quakes ahead for good.
In the 82nd minute, San Jose's Sam Cronin received a red card for a hard foul on midfielder Brian Mullan, giving Houston a man advantage for the final eight minutes. However, even with Ching in as a substitute, the Dynamo were unable to capitalize, as Weaver missed another header and Adrian Serioux’s 30-yard shot was controlled easily by Busch.
With the victory, the Quakes push five points clear of the next two teams trailing them for the final playoff spot. They return home to face Western Conference foe FC Dallas next weekend, while Houston has two weeks off before facing Toronto FC.
San Jose Earthquakes (9-7-5) vs. Houston Dynamo (6-12-5)
September 05, 2010 -- Robertson Stadium, Houston TX
SJ -- Khari Stephenson 1 (Geovanni 1) 6
HOU -- Brad Davis 5 (Brian Mullan 3) 47+
SJ -- Geovanni 1 (unassisted) 64
San Jose Earthquakes -- Jon Busch, Chris Leitch, Jason Hernandez, Brandon McDonald, Tim Ward, Geovanni (Brad Ring 85), Arturo Alvarez, Sam Cronin, Khari Stephenson (Bobby Burling 58), Chris Wondolowski, Cornell Glen (Scott Sealy 80).
Substitutes Not Used: Steve Beitashour, Joey Gjertsen, Omar Jasseh, Alex Horwath.
Houston Dynamo -- Pat Onstad, Andrew Hainault, Bobby Boswell, Eddie Robinson, Mike Chabala (Corey Ashe 78), Brian Mullan, Geoff Cameron, Richard Mulrooney (Adrian Serioux 83), Brad Davis, Dominic Oduro (Brian Ching 82), Cam Weaver.
Substitutes Not Used: Ryan Cochrane, Danny Cruz, Joseph Ngwenya, Tally Hall.
SJ -- Jason Hernandez (caution; Reckless Tackle) 41
SJ -- Cornell Glen (caution; Unsporting Behavior) 46+
HOU -- Eddie Robinson (caution; Reckless Foul) 66
SJ -- Sam Cronin (ejection; Serious Foul Play) 84
Referee: Jorge Gonzalez
Referee's Assistants: Greg Boles; Jeff Hosking
4th official: Jair Marrufo
Weather: Partly Cloudy-and-86-degrees
All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial