Santa Clara, CA – Steven Lenhart and Chris Wondolowski scored two goals apiece to see the San Jose Earthquakes claim a 5-3 win over D.C. United in an eight-goal thriller at Buck Shaw Stadium on Wednesday.
Dwayne De Rosario had put the visitors in front after just eight minutes, but Lenhart, Wondolowski and Justin Morrow combined to give the 'Quakes a comfortable lead by halftime.
United cut the deficit to one goal when Daniel Woolard nodded home his first goal of the season, but Lenhart and Wondolowski struck again to ensure three points for the home side. Hamdi Salihi added another for United, but it failed to spark a dramatic comeback.
San Jose (7-1-1) takes sole possession of first place in the Western Conference after extending its unbeaten run to seven games. The club improves to 22 points on the season, three points better than second-place Real Salt Lake.
D.C. United (4-3-3) suffers its first loss in seven matches, but retains second place in the East with Red Bull New York not in action Wednesday.
De Rosario powered United to an early lead with a well-taken goal. The Canadian latched on to pass from Danny Cruz and curled a brilliant shot around Jon Busch and into the upper corner.
San Jose caught fire shortly after, netting three goals in the span of 11 minutes to take control of the match.
Lenhart provided the equalizer in the 19th minute, slamming a failed clearance past Joe Willis on the half-volley for his third goal of the season.
The go-ahead goal arrived just two minutes later from Wondolowski. He capped off a lovely passing move from the 'Quakes and took advantage of some slack defending from United by receiving a splitting pass from Simon Dawkins before tucking a shot into the back of the net from close range.
Morrow added a third for the home side in the 31st minute, netting his first career MLS goal. A corner kick was not dealt with by the D.C. United defense, and when the ball fell to Morrow on the edge of the box, he hurled a shot toward goal. His effort took a couple of deflections on its way past Willis, but the goal was credited to Morrow.
D.C. United pulled to within a goal when Woolard nodded home a cross from Andy Najar with a diving header in the 64th minute, but San Jose answered back with two goals to put the result beyond any doubt.
Wondolowski went to the top of the MLS scoring chart with his 10th goal of the season. He headed home a cross from Steven Beitashour in the 69th minute for his second of the match.
The 'Quakes extended the lead even further five minutes later when a shot from Marvin Chavez was spilled by Willis. Lenhart pounced quickly to stuff the rebound into the back of the net.
Salihi grabbed a late consolation goal for United, latching on to a perfectly weighted through ball from De Rosario in the 88th minute and chipping a shot over an on-rushing Busch for his first career MLS goal.