SAN JOSE, Calif. -- The Houston Dynamo’s road woes finally came to an end in the city they once called home.
Ricardo Clark scored early and Will Bruin added the capper late as the Dynamo beat the San Jose Earthquakes 2-0 Friday night. It was Houston’s first victory away from home in exactly two months, ending an 0-3-1 run outside of BBVA Compass Stadium for the Dynamo (6-7-6).
San Jose (7-7-4) lost for the first time in six home matches, leaving a sellout crowd of 18,000 at Avaya Stadium disappointed.
Goals were always going to be at a premium in a meeting between the MLS’ worst two teams at generating shots on goal -- San Jose came in 19th with 60, while Houston had just 56 -- both of which had lost critical offensive pieces to Gold Cup duty, such as Giles Barnes and Boniek García for the Dynamo and Chris Wondolowski and Cordell Cato for the Quakes.
Clark took care of that issue in the 10th minute. Alex López’s simple cut back on the left wing opened him up to deliver an inswinging cross to the far post. With the middle cleared by Bruin’s near-post run, Clark -- who spent 2005 with the Quakes before moving with them to Houston the following year -- beat San Jose left back Shaun Francis to the pass and bounced his diving header past goalkeeper David Bingham for his fourth goal of 2015.
Newly acquired forward Quincy Amarikwa, making his first appearance for San Jose in more than five years, nearly scored in his re-debut when Dynamo goalkeeper Tyler Deric -- returning to the Houston lineup after a one-game absence due to illness -- spilled a long shot from Matias Perez Garcia in the 30th minute. Amarikwa fell just short of the needed touch, however.
Two minutes later, Quakes center back Victor Bernardez attempted to equalize with a 20-yard blast from an indirect free kick just inside Houston’s penalty area. The slightly deflected attempt beat Deric but rocketed off the woodwork in the upper corner.
San Jose center back Clarence Goodson beat his marker and smashed a free header off Perez Garcia’s 47th-minute corner kick, only to see the ball ricochet off teammate Fatai Alashe, stationed in front of Deric as a screen.
Bernardez’s lunging left-footed clearance in the 56th minute was the only thing keeping Clark’s 17-yard half-volley from becoming his first brace since returning to MLS midway through 2012.
With Perez Garcia seemingly slowed by his strained left hamstring, the Quakes struggled to get much traction offensively, and the deficit grew insurmountable in the 81st minute when Sanna Nyassi played a pass into space towards his own goal. Houston substitute Leonel Miranda quickly scooped up the gift, then fed square to Bruin, who passed the ball home for his team-high eighth goal this season.
The Quakes will be back in action next Friday in Carson, Calif. against the LA Galaxy, while Houston will travel to Utah to take on Real Salt Lake the next day.
San Jose Earthquakes (7-7-4; 25 points) vs. Houston Dynamo (6-7-6; 24 points)
MLS regular season
July 11, 2015 – Avaya Stadium, San Jose, California
Attendance: 18,000 (sellout)
Houston Dynamo: Ricardo Clark 4 (Alexander López 3) 10
Houston Dynamo: Will Bruin 8 (Leonel Miranda 1) 81
Houston Dynamo: Tyler Deric; Kofi Sarkodie, David Horst, Raúl Rodríguez, DaMarcus Beasley; Alex (Leonel Miranda 70), Nathan Sturgis, Ricardo Clark, Alexander López (Rasheed Olabiyi 79); Brad Davis ©, Will Bruin (Mauro Manotas 90+1)
Substitutes Not Used: Joe Willis, AJ Cochran, Corey Ashe, Chandler Hoffman
San Jose Earthquakes: David Bingham; Marvell Wynne, Victor Bernárdez ©, Clarence Goodson, Shaun Francis; Matías Pérez García (Mark Sherrod 68), Fatai Alashe, Tommy Thompson; Sanna Nyassi, Quincy Amarikwa (Mike Fucito 84), Shea Salinas (Leandro Barrera 79)
Substitutes Not Used: Bryan Meredith, Paulo Renato, J.J. Koval, Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi
HOU: Tyler Deric (caution) 31
HOU: DaMarcus Beasley (caution) 37
HOU: Raúl Rodríguez (caution) 45+2
HOU: Nathan Sturgis (caution) 45+3
Referee: Sorin Stoica
Assistant Referees: Chris Strickland, Jason White
Fourth Official: Baldomero Toledo