Santa Clara, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - First-half goals from Eddie Johnson and Luis Silva propelled D.C. United to a 2-1 win over the San Jose Earthquakes at Buck Shaw Stadium on Friday.
United took charge of the match early with both goals arriving inside the opening 25 minutes, while San Jose answered through Chris Wondolowski in the 39th minute but couldn't find an equalizer, forcing the hosts to settle for a fourth successive defeat.
The visitors have won three of their last four games and sit five points clear at the top of the Eastern Conference.
A shot from United's Nick DeLeon in the 11th minute led to the opening goal as the ball struck the arm of San Jose's Brandon Barklage inside the penalty area, allowing Johnson to fire home his spot kick.
A poor clearance from Earthquakes goalkeeper Jon Busch led to the second goal for United as he turned the ball over in his defensive third. Chris Rolfe took possession on the left wing and drove a low cross to the front of goal that Silva redirected past Busch, making it 2-0.
The Earthquakes failed to score in their previous three matches, so the team was naturally pleased to welcome back Wondolowski, who pulled a goal back for his side in the 39th with a deflected shot that wrong-footed United goalkeeper Bill Hamid.
But Hamid played a huge part in his side holding on to that lead over the second 45 minutes as he first produced a fine stop on a shot from Atiba Harris before parrying a half-volley to safety from Sam Cronin.
The hosts continued to press for an equalizer and nearly found one in the dying moments as Hamid saved a header from Alan Gordon at point-blank range, while a rebound effort from Shea Salinas was blocked by defender Chris Korb, preserving the win.