SANTA CLARA -- Steven Lenhart brought down the house, again.
The Earthquakes forward scored on a leaping header off a Shea Salinas corner kick three minutes into stoppage time to deliver a dramatic 2-1 win over the Seattle Sounders on Saturday night at Buck Shaw Stadium.
Before a sellout crowd of 10,744, Lenhart scored his eighth goal of the season one minute after Fredy Montero's header goal tied it 1-1 in the 92nd minute. It was the second dramatic winner in two weeks for Lenhart, who scored eight minutes into stoppage time to force a 1-1 draw against the Chicago Fire at Buck Shaw on July 28.
Overall, the Quakes have scored 17 of their 47 total goals after the 75th minute.
"The character of the team hasn't changed since day one, it's only gotten stronger," Lenhart said. "I think everybody's surprised that we keep on wearing teams down and then scoring at the end, but that's who we are."
Salinas knew just for whom to aim on his winning corner kick.
"It was crazy," said Salinas, who entered for Marvin Chavez late in the match. "They scored, and we knew right away that we had to go down and score to win the game. I had some corner kicks I just floated in there, and Lenny is just a beast in the air. He finishes it -- awesome finish by Lenhart."
Quakes midfielder Sam Cronin preserved the victory with a sliding block of shot by Brad Evans from 12 yards out. Evans was all alone on the attempt before Cronin intervened atthe last instant.
The Quakes (14-5-5, 47 points) now lead the MLS Western Conference by five points over Real Salt Lake and remained unbeaten at Buck Shaw this season.
Seattle was playing on a quick turnaround off a U.S. Open Cup final loss against Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday that went to penalty kicks after a 1-1 draw. The Sounders (10-6-7) are tied for third place with Vancouver.
After a scoreless first half, Simon Dawkins scored in the 71st minute to give San Jose a 1-0 lead.
On the 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 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, 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 Lenhart's diving header was saved by goalie Michael Gspurning off a Chavez cross in the 58th minute, Seattle was foiled twice in short order.