By RYAN TOLMICH
A Kahari Stephenson brace led the way for the San Jose Earthquakes in a 3-0 win over the visiting Houston Dynamo.
The hosts opened the scoring in the 38th minute after a mental error from Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall awarded the Earthquakes with an indirect free kick just outside the six yard box. Hall handled a back-pass from Dynamo defender David Horst and Stephenson made the visitors pay by slamming the ensuing free kick past the wall of Dynamo defenders on the line, giving the hosts a 1-0 lead.
Stephenson doubled his tally in the second half via a dubious 58th minute penalty. Earthquakes forward Stephen Lenhart was bumped down in the box by Dynamo defender Cory Ashe, giving Stephenson the opportunity to double the Earthquake lead.
The hosts removed all doubt in the 70th minute, when Atiba Harris scored the Earthquakes third and final goal of the evening. Harris beat an onrushing Hall to the ball outside the box and put the ensuing header off of the goal’s right post. Hall found his way to the ensuing rebound and calmly finished, putting the exclamation point on a frustrating night for Hall and the Dynamo.
With the win, the Earthquakes move up to seventh in the Western Conference standings ahead of their visit to fouth-place FC Dallas Saturday. Meanwhile, the Dynamo stay at fourth in the Eastern Conference standings as they look to rebound Sunday when they travel to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park to take on the Colorado Rapids.
Here are the match highlights: