SANTA CLARA, Calif. – San Jose improved their unbeaten streak at Buck Shaw Stadium to 14 matches, thumping the Colorado Rapids 4-1 Saturday through doubles by both Simon Dawkins and Alan Gordon.
The Earthquakes, owners of the league’s best record at 15-6-5, are 10-0-4 at Buck Shaw since Aug. 13, 2011. San Jose’s only home loss in MLS play this season occurred at AT&T Park, where Houston beat the Earthquakes 1-0 on March 17.
Gordon extended his career-best single-season scoring mark to 11 goals with strikes in the 43rd and 75th minutes. Dawkins put San Jose up in the 11th minute and tallied again in the 68th for his fifth and sixth goals of 2012.
Tyrone Marshall brought Colorado within a goal early in the second half, but couldn’t keep the Rapids from suffering their second loss in three matches and eighth in their last 11.
The Quakes broke on top via Dawkins, who sped unchecked down the left wing to collect a well-placed cross-field pass from Gordon. With Colorado right back Hunter Freeman trying to recover, Dawkins used the defender’s momentum against him, cutting inside and firing from the top of the box to beat goalkeeper Matt Pickens at the near post.
Freeman was similarly unable to prevent the build up to San Jose’s second goal. Rafael Baca, played down the left wing on a free kick by Ramiro Corrales, broke away from Freeman towards the end line before delivering a perfect cross to the top of the six-yard box. Gordon snuck in from wide of the back post and tucked it home smartly with the outside of his right foot.
It was a reward long coming for Gordon, who was stoned by Pickens in the 15th and 22nd minutes.
Freeman was pulled at the half in favor of Marshall, who drew blood for the Rapids by hammering home an unmarked header off Martin Rivero’s 54th-minute corner kick.
For a few minutes it was touch-and-go for the home side, and they almost paid for their listlessness in the 62nd minute. Conor Casey, a Quakes killer in years past, was sprung by a nifty give-and-go with Rivero, but he pushed the open shot well over the crossbar from 17 yards.
Six minutes later, Dawkins took back the two-goal cushion by lashing a first-time strike from 16 yards off a pass by Sam Cronin.
Gordon put things truly out of reach when he settled a long header from Corrales and swiveled to slot it home, left-footed, from 13 yards.
FULL LINEUPS AND INDIVIDUAL STATS
San Jose, who extended their league-leading goal total to 52, guaranteed themselves continued ownership of the Supporters’ Shield lead, moving four points clear of Sporting Kansas City pending that club’s home match against New York on Sunday.
The Quakes (15-6-5, 50 points) are back in action next Sunday hosting Chivas USA, while the Rapids (8-16-2, 26 points) travel to Portland on Friday.
SJ: Simon Dawkins (Alan Gordon) 11'
SJ: Alan Gordon (Rafael Baca, Ramiro Corrales) 43'
COL: Tyrone Marshall 2 (Martin Rivero 8) 54'
SJ: Simon Dawkins (Sam Cronin, Ramiro Corrales) 68'
SJ: Alan Gordon (Ramiro Corrales) 75'
COL: Conor Casey (caution) 55'
Colorado Rapids lineup: Matt Pickens, Hunter Freeman (Tyrone Marshall 46), Marvell Wynne, Drew Moor, Luis Zapata, Jeff Larentowicz, Joseph Nane (Tony Cascio), Brian Mullan (Andre Akpan 84), Martin Rivero, Jaime Castrillon, Conor Casey
Subs not used: Stew Ceus, Tyson Wahl, Wells Thompson, Hendry Thomas
Referee: Silviu Petrescu