MLS: Earthquakes get goal from Hernan Lopez to edge Fire

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Hernan Lopez scored in the 49th minute and the San Jose Earthquakes gave interim coach Ian Russell his first win of the season with a 1-0 victory over the visiting Chicago Fire on Sunday night.

San Jose (4-16-2, 14 points) snapped a nine-match winless streak (0-8-1). Entering the night as the league’s worst defensive team with 56 goals conceded, the Earthquakes put together their first clean sheet of the year.

Lopez provided the only offense that counted early in the second half. Cristian Espinoza found him with a fine service from midfield, and Lopez did the rest with his left foot, ripping a strike into the right corner of the net past the outstretched foot of Fire goalkeeper Chris Brady.

Chicago (5-11-6, 21 points) appeared to level the match in the 72nd minute thanks to Hugo Cuypers, who collected the rebound of a Thomas Barlow shot that clanged off the crossbar and headed it home.

However, video review revealed that Barlow ran offside prior to unleashing his shot, and the goal was nullified.

San Jose had a 13-10 advantage in shots and a 4-1 edge in shots on net. Goalkeeper William Yarbrough made one save to notch his first shutout of the season for the Earthquakes.

The pre-match storylines centered on whether San Jose could finally score a goal under Russell — it lost its first two matches under him by a combined score of 5-0 — and how Chicago would fare without coach Frank Klopas.

Klopas was suspended for the match after picking up a red card in Wednesday’s 4-3 win over the Philadelphia Union. Assistant Paulo Nagamura filled in as head coach on Sunday.

The Fire appeared to be the stronger side early in the match and generated a quality chance via Cuypers, but the forward wasn’t able to connect. Later in the first half, the Earthquakes started generating stronger counterattacks and got some opportunities off corners.

But as has been the case throughout the season, San Jose was unable to take advantage of its chances, and the teams found themselves in a scoreless draw at the break.

–Field Level Media

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