Walker Lifts Earthquakes to Win on Saturday

Walker Lifts Earthquakes to Win on Saturday

June 23, 2003

SAN JOSE, Calif. - The San Jose Earthquakes used a late goal from rookie forward Jamil Walker to defeat the Columbus Crew 2-1 Saturday night at Spartan Stadium. Walker, who scored the game-tying goal in the Quakes game Wednesday against the Los Angeles Galaxy, finished a brilliant combination from Ian Russell and Richard Mulrooney with a blast past Tom Presthus to keep San Jose in first place in Major League Soccer with a league best 6-2-3 record. The Quakes are now on a three-game unbeaten streak with 2-0-1 record.

The Earthquakes nearly opened up the scoring in the 31st minute. After Columbus goalkeeper Jon Busch came off his line to punch an Earthquakes cross into the air, San Jose defender Todd Dunivant sent the rebound into the middle of the Crew penalty area to an unmarked Brian Mullan. Mullan sent a header toward the goal, where defender Eric Denton, who was standing on the goal line, was able to knock the ball away.

The Quakes continued to pressure the Columbus goal, and were rewarded with the first goal of the game on a Mullan strike in the 43rd minute to take a 1-0 lead. Dunivant sent a long ball over the Columbus defense on the left side of the field, allowing Mullan to win a foot race with Brian Dunseth and take the ball into the Crew penalty area. His rolling shot to the far post beat a diving Presthus, who had entered the game for an injured Busch in the 37th minute. The goal was Mullan's fourth of the season and marked the third straight game he has recorded a point.

Trailing 1-0, the Crew quickly came back in an attempt to tie the match, with Brian McBride turning on a pass in the Earthquakes penalty area from Ross Paule and sending a sharp shot off the left goalpost. Moments later, Columbus had another shot saved by San Jose goalkeeper Pat Onstad on a swerving free kick from Freddy Garcia.

The Crew tied the match 10 minutes into the second half, as Brian West found Paule unmarked inside the 18-yard box. Paule fired a low shot that Onstad blocked, but the rebound fell to McBride who touched the ball into the empty net to make the score 1-1.

Two minutes after the goal, tempers flared as Manny Lagos and Columbus defender Mike Clark got into a shoving match, resulting in red cards for both players. The teams each played the rest of the game with only ten men.

Mullan had a solo effort that nearly put the Quakes back into the lead a minute after the ejections. He controlled a long clearance out of the back and eluded Dunseth before making a run into the Columbus penalty area, where he blasted a shot just past the near post.

Ronnie Ekelund preserved the tie for San Jose in the 68th minute when he cleared a Dunseth header that had gotten behind Onstad off the line.

The Earthquakes secured the win in the 77th minute when Walker, who entered as a second half substitute in the 70th minute, finished off the splendid combination from Mulrooney and Russell. Surrounded by Crew defenders along the right sideline, Mulrooney spun and back-heeled a pass up the wing to a streaking Russell. Russell entered the Columbus penalty box on the left side, and then sent a cross right to the Santa Clara University product Walker, who put the ball away for his second goal in as many games and a 2-1 Earthquakes lead.

The Earthquakes return to action next Saturday, June 28 when they host the Kansas City Wizards at Spartan Stadium at 7:00 p.m.

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