For the second time this month, the San Jose Earthquakes beat FC Dallas 2-1, in another game that finished with only 21 men on the pitch.
This time it was Dallas who were stung by an early red card, but it was a first half wonder-strike from Quakes midfielder Jean Baptiste-Pierazzi that gave San Jose the lead and their first back-to-back win of the season on Saturday at Toyota Stadium in Dallas.
FC Dallas is now winless in its last eight matches.
The home side opened up scoring in the 16th minute, when sloppy defending on a Dallas throw into the box led to Blas Perez’s fourth goal of the season.
The toss eluded Quakes defender Ty Harden and then bounced over the head of Jordan Stewart, before Fabian Castillo fired the ball across goal for a Perez volley.
San Jose would answer 11 minutes later, when Atiba Harris slotted home his second goal in as many games, against his former team.
As so many have this season, San Jose’s first goal began with a Shea Salinas cross into the box. The ball found the feet of Steven Lenhart, who held it up for a second before rolling it across the 18 for a one-timed smash by the Saint Kitts and Nevis striker.
The key match-up of the first half was a midfield showdown between the Quakes Yannick Djalo and Dallas’ Adam Moffat.
Djalo bested the defensive midfielder all half, finding acres of space in front of the back four and making San Jose a danger to score nearly every time he touched the ball.
Moffat was relegated to fouling Djalo as his only means to slow the Portuguese national down. That strategy would backfire in the 37th minute, when Moffat was sent off after receiving his second yellow card for pulling down a sprinting Djalo from behind.
Dallas would be forced to play the rest of the game with 10 men, an inverse situation of the first match-up earlier this season, when a Shea Salinas red card forced the Quakes to play with 10 for the second half.
A crazy end to the first half unfolded in the 45th minute with a goal-of-the-season candidate from Baptiste-Pierazzi.
The frenchman scored the first goal of his MLS career hitting a blast from 40 yards out, with the ball curling away from the diving Dallas keeper Chris Seitz inside the right post.
It seemed certain that San Jose would take the lead into the half, but a sloppy challenge from Jordan Stewart on Castillo in the box forced Referee Jose Carlos Rivero to point to the spot in the second minute of extra time.
Luckily for San Jose, Jon Busch would guess correctly on Castillo’s spot kick, diving low and to his left to thwart shorthanded Dallas from evening the score.
It was easy to forget who exactly was playing a man down in the second half as the Quakes found themselves on the back foot for the remainder of the game. Dallas kept possession at 50 percent and earned seven corners to San Jose’s two.
The most dangerous second half chances from Dallas came via strikes from Castillo and Zach Lloyd, but both point-blank efforts were fired right at Busch.
In what has become an all-too-consistent sight, Djalo once again pulled up with a hamstring injury late in the second half.
With San Jose out of substitutions, the Quakes finished the game with 10 men unofficially, as the wounded Djalo was forced to stay on the pitch.