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Earthquakes Grab First Place in Western Conference

April 22, 2012 - Major League Soccer (MLS) San Jose Earthquakes

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The San Jose Earthquakes scored two goals in second half stoppage time to top Real Salt Lake, 3-1 and move into first place in the Western Conference at Buck Shaw Stadium on Saturday night. Simon Dawkins headed in the winner in the 92nd minute and Chris Wondolowski continued his hot streak with a goal one minute later to cap the victory.

With the win, which marks No. 100 for San Jose head coach Frank Yallop as an MLS head coach, the Earthquakes (5-1-1, 16 pts.) move ahead of Real Salt Lake (5-3-0, 15 pts.) and into first-place in the West.

Just as it was looking as though RSL would hang onto a point in the waning minutes playing two men down following a pair of red-card ejections, Dawkins latched onto a Steven Beitashour cross from the right side in and headed a shot into the far corner for a 2-1 edge.

Seconds later, a combination between Tressor Moreno and Khari Stephenson found Chris Wondolowski unmarked on the back post, and the Quakes star clinched the full three points with a header. He now has a league-leading eight goals on the season and he has scored 16 goals in the Quakes past 16 games.

The Quakes grabbed the initial lead just before halftime as Stephenson headed home Beitashour's cross from the right side. Stephenson met the ball in the center of the penalty box and headed it down to the ground and toward the far corner. Veteran RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando got his hand to it, but was unable to keep it out as Stephenson tallied his first goal of 2012.

Kyle Beckerman scored the lone goal for RSL after breaking through the Quakes defense early in the second half. He eluded two Quakes defenders and fired a shot to the near post and past Quakes goalkeeper Jon Busch.

Real Salt Lake finished the game with only nine men after red cards to Fabian Espindola and Jamison Olave.

The Earthquakes hit the road next weekend for a date with the Philadelphia Union on Saturday, April 28 at PPL Park. Kickoff is 4 p.m. PT on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, 1590 KLIV and 1370 KZSF.

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Major League Soccer Stories from April 22, 2012

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