SANTA CLARA -- Kiss that winless streak goodbye.

Yannick Djalo got his first Major League Soccer goal Saturday night and the Earthquakes got their first triumph of the season -- a 1-0 defeat of Chivas USA in front of a crowd of 10,525 at sold out Buck Shaw Stadium.

The much-needed victory temporarily allayed fears San Jose (1-2-3) would drop out of the playoff race before the Summer Solstice.

The second consecutive shutout provided temporary relief as the team plays catch up in the competitive Western Conference. The Quakes travel to Vancouver this weekend before playing host to two other conference opponents in a challenging stretch of three matches in eight days.

The game changed Saturday when coach Mark Watson inserted Djalo to start the second half for Atiba Harris. Djalo, on loan from Portuguese power S.L. Benfica, played only 18 minutes last weekend at Colorado after aggravating a hamstring.

But he recovered enough to train two days for the Chivas game. For the third consecutive match the Earthquakes came alive with the Portuguese midfielder on the field.

"He's a game changer," forward Alan Gordon said. "He's our X-factor. Without him we're pretty one dimensional."

Djalo scored in the 66th minute with a classy run on right side. The African-born player timed Shea Salinas' long cross perfectly to blast the ball inside the far post. It was Salinas' fourth assist in a spectacular start to the 2014 season.


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Djalo refused to take credit although his coach, and teammates marveled at the skillful goal.

"It was a beautiful pass," he said in Spanish. "The ball was perfect, and I was wide open." Djalo, 27, doesn't feel pressure to rejuvenate the Quakes offense despite teammates' high praise.

"The same pressure is on all of us," he said. "My object is to play and work hard."

That sentiment coincides with the Quakes' way to win games. After a dreadful first half the team rallied around Djalo's ability to create chances.

San Jose almost scored two minutes after the lone goal, but Chris Wondolowski was ruled just offside after putting away another Salinas pass.

Then the Quakes got a big break in the 77th minute when Chivas goalkeeper Dan Kennedy was sent off with a red card for handling the ball outside the penalty area. He batted down a ball as Gordon made a solo run that appeared to be an easy goal.

With 10 players, Chivas (1-4-3) couldn't muster much offense as its winless streak stretched to seven games.

"They had two chances, and they finished one," Chivas coach Wilmer Cabrera said. "If you don't put the ball in the net you will suffer the way we are suffering now."

The visitors appeared in good shape in the first half showing more flair. Referee Allen Chapman did San Jose no favors in issuing three yellow caution cards in the first 23 minutes. All the fouls involved Argentine midfielder Mauro Rosales, who plunged more often than Olympic diver Greg Louganis.

But Salinas said Chivas' players tired when it counted the most in the final 45 minutes.

Now as the Quakes players heal from assorted injuries and try to make a move in the standings over the next few weeks, they know they have to start games better.

"The first half wasn't good enough," center back Clarence Goodson said.

"It's coming together but we're not there yet."

Contact Elliott Almond at 408-920-5865. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/elliottalmond.

saturday's game
Earthquakes (1-2-3) at Vancouver (2-2-4) 4 p.m., CSNCA