SANTA CLARA â" Steven Lenhart brought the house down, again.
The Earthquakes forward scored on a leaping header off a Shea Salinas corner kick three minutes into stoppage time to give San Jose a dramatic 2-1 win over the Seattle Sounders Saturday night at Buck Shaw Stadium.
A sellout crowd of 10,744 watched enthralled as Lenhart scored his eighth goal of the season one minute after Fredy Montero's header goal tied it 1-1 in the 92nd minute.
On July 28, Lenhart scored eight minutes into stoppage time to force a 1-1 draw against the Chicago Fire at Buck Shaw.
This time around, the Quakes' Simon Dawkins scored in the 71st minute to give the Earthquakes a 1-0 lead.
The first-place Quakes (14-5-5, 47 points) upped their conference lead to seven points over Real Salt Lake, which lost 2-1 to the Vancouver Whitecaps.
On Dawkins' goal, Lenhart fought for a header off a Steven Beitashour throw-in from the right. The ball bounced out to Dawkins, who scored his fourth goal of the season with a deftly struck right-footed shot into the near corner.
The Quakes remained unbeaten at Buck Shaw Stadium this season.
Seattle was playing on a quick turnaround off a U.S. Open Cup final loss against Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday, which went to penalty kicks after a 1-1 draw. The Sounders (10-6-7) are now tied for third place with Vancouver.
Quakes midfielder Sam Cronin preserved the victory with a sliding block ofshot by Brad Evans from 12 yards out. Evans was all alone on the attempt before Cronin intervened at the last instant.
The Sounders pressured the Quakes to the final whistle, with Montero providing the spark in the middle
To rest tired legs after the Open Cup loss, Seattle opted not to start top scorer Eddie Johnson, forward Montero and assist leader Mauro Rosales. However, Johnson and Montero entered as second-half substitutes.
The game opened up during an entertaining second half. Shortly after the Quakes' Steven Lenhart's diving header was saved by a diving goalkeeper Michael Gspurning off a Marvin Chavez cross in the 58th minute, the Sounders were foiled twice in short order.
First, Quakes goalkeeper Jon Busch made a diving stop on an Andy Rose header, then Sammy Ochoa headed a shot off the crossbar.
The Quakes started fast before flattening out in the first half.
San Jose nearly struck when Steven Lenhart broke free in the penalty area and received a long free kick from Rafael Baca in the 11th minute, but Lenhart misfired, his sliding shot from about 5 yards out going well wide.
The Sounders took command about 32 minutes in against a sloppy Quakes defense, a unit that was perhaps a bit rusty after having not played an MLS match since July 28.