Tue, Oct


"Just like the coach said a few weeks ago, with a little luck we can beat anybody."

That luck wasn't forthcoming here Monday right at Spartan Stadium, but the talents of Leroy DeLeon and Paul Child managed to offset a brilliant game by Peter Fox and allowed the San Jose Earthquakes to escape with a 1-0 win here Monday night.

The win vaulted the Quakes ahead of Hawaii into third of the North American Soccer League's Southern Division with a 13-12 record and 110 points. Hawaii now stands fourth with 106 points and an 11-14 mark, while Las Vegas, is 11-14 and 102 points, is also still alive for the third and final playoff spot.

It was DeLeon and Child who combined for the game's only goal which came at the 66:59 mark. Child pushed the ball ahead to DeLeon to beat one defender and the slick winger dribbled around Charlie Mitchell to come in alone against goalkeeper Fox.

"I was going to shoot for the far post, but the goalkeeper came out to narrow down the angle and the fullback was coming at me. I saw a red shirt -- I didn't know who it was -- and just turned the ball to him," DeLeon explained.

That goal put a partial salve on the Quakes frustrations as Fox and their own inability to shoot accurately had left the game scoreless for nearly 67 minutes.

Fox enjoyed a particularly good game in goal, "flying out of nowhere," as Child put it, to knock away potential goals.

The Quakes defense wasn't tested too frequently by the Hawaiians, although goalie Mike Hewitt was twice required to foil Hawaii forwards in one-on-one situations.

The first of those came just 11 minutes into the game, as Chris Dangerfield broke free on the left side. Hewitt sprawled to block the initial shot and then fullback Laurie Calloway cleared a rebound attempt by Brian Tinnion off the goal line.

The Earthquake goal, surprisingly, was not followed by a period of sustained offense by the Hawaiians.

"I really didn't have much to do after the first few minutes other than those two times," Hewitt said. " After our goal, it seemed to kinda sicken them."

Hewitt lengthened his team record for shutouts in a season to eight, while DeLeon broke the existing record for assists in a season with 10. The former standard of nine was set last year by Ilija Mitci and the man who went to Washington in exchange for DeLeon and Mark Liveric.

The sellout crowd 19,158 also allowed the Quakes to tie the NASL seasonal record for most sellouts for a season at seven. San Jose will have a chance to break that mark Saturday when division-leading Dallas comes to Spartan Stadium for the regular season finale.

The Earthquakes can skip into the playoffs regardless to what happens in Saturday night's game, if Hawaii fails to beat Seattle in the Kingdom Thursday night.

Las Vegas, which is still mathematically alive in the event that both the Quakes and Hawaii should lose, must host Dallas tomorrow evening in Vegas in its season finale.