Santa Clara, CA – The San Jose Earthquakes have made a habit of scoring late this season, and Saturday was no different as Steven Lenhart's late heroics helped the club earn a dramatic 2-1 victory over Seattle Sounders FC at Buck Shaw Stadium.
Simon Dawkins opened the scoring for San Jose in the 71st minute, but the home side appeared to be heading for a draw when Fredy Montero equalized in second- half stoppage time.
But Lenhart popped up with a late winner, scoring San Jose's 29th goal in the final 30 minutes of matches this season.
The win extends San Jose's lead atop the overall MLS table, bringing the 'Quakes (14-5-5) to 47 points on the season. Seattle (10-6-7) sees its six- game unbeaten streak in league play come to end as it sits tied for third in the West with Vancouver Whitecaps FC on 37 points apiece.
Sammy Ochoa hit the frame of the goal twice on Saturday, slamming a bicycle kick off the crossbar in the 32nd minute before the opposite crossbar kept out his header from close range in the 59th minute.
The Sounders were left to rue those misses as the 'Quakes went in front 19 minutes from time.
A long throw-in from Steven Beitashour failed to find Lenhart, but Seattle's clearance failed to make its way out of the penalty area. The ball fell to Dawkins, who hammered a low shot through traffic to beat Sounders 'keeper Michael Gspurning at his near post.
Montero thought he had earned a point for the visitors when he nodded a loose ball past Jon Busch from close range, but Lenhart stole the show with yet another late goal for San Jose, heading home a corner kick delivery from Shea Salinas with the last action of the evening.
The 'Quakes return to action with a trip across the country as they head to the Stade Saputo to take on the Montreal Impact on August 18. The Sounders will take the pitch the same day, returning home to face Vancouver at CenturyLink Field.