The Fire's passing was sharper than it has been all season and the end result was their biggest margin of victory this year. A 3-0 win with a more agressive line up while eliminating some of the repetitive errors made throughout the first 24 matches should create some higher spirits heading into Dallas on Saturday.
San Jose had a few chances in the first half but the Fire responded well and took the lead on Steven Kinney's header in the 40th minute. The goal marked a reversal from one of the more disturbing trends this season as the Fire finally managed to score a late goal. It also ended a club record string of 401 minutes without a goal.
Freddie Ljungberg's fantastic chip for the second goal in the 72nd minute also put an end to an even more disturbing trend. It marked the first goal from the run of play since August 21 in Houston. The Fire will now head to Dallas hoping to end their 17 game unbeaten run.
GK Sean Johnson (6) - Another solid game from the rookie keeper. Stayed in front of everything and in control of the box. San Jose tried to challenge him from distance in the first half to no avail.
D Steven Kinney (6) - Scored his first MLS goal on a header in the first half which gave the Fire the lead. Fair on the defensive end.
D Kwame Watson-Siriboe (7) - Impresive two games for the rookie center back. Solid play in the middle is a good sign for 2011. Marking was better and cleared everything his way.
D Dasan Robinson (6) - May be better in the middle than at right back. San Jose had some space in the first half and early in the second but not enough to break through.
D Krzyzstof Krol (5) - Did well getting forward in the first half but Wondolowski was allowed way too much space at times on his side. Picked up a yellow card on a pretty weak call.
M Logan Pause (6) - Nice effort from Pause defensively breaking up passes and also pushed the ball forward at the right times when needed.
M John Thorrington (5) - His trademark effort and hustle were evident while colliding with Busch on a run in the second half.
M Marco Pappa (5) - Seems to be slowly finding some form. Provided nice crosses in the 11th and 35th but his second half was so-so.
M Bratislav Ristic (7) - Started on the right side and looked solid again. His passing seems to pick up the motion and flow of the attack. Provided excellent balls throughout.
F Freddie Ljungberg (8) - A designated player worthy performance with 1 goal and 2 assists. The chip shot on Busch after a touch to himself was a thing of beauty.
F Calen Carr (5) - A less than stellar first half was followed up by an impressive second half. Several nice passes and runs highlighted by a well taken shot forcing Busch into a tough save in the 66th minute.
Patrick Nyarko (6) - Came on for Pappa in the 61st minute and provided more possesion than Pappa did. Even managed to score his first goal of the season to put the icing on the cake.
Wilman Conde (5) - Came on for Thorrington in the 82nd minute and managed to stay yellow card free.
Brian McBride (6) - Entered the game in the 92nd minute for Calen Carr but that was enough to make a mark. His chemistry with Ljungberg returned on a pretty touch eventually leading to Nyarko's goal.
The Earthquakes were playing their third match in seven days so that may have played a factor in the Fire's ability to move more freely and attack like they should have been attacking all season. Regardless, winning on the road against a playoff contender is something to work with ahead of another game in three days. It was also a good sign that the Fire did not sit back and bunker with a 1 goal lead in the second half.
The Fire will play their third game in a week on Saturday when they travel to FC Dallas hoping to reclaim the Brimstone Cup.