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 Sunday, May 26, 2002 23:23 EST

Ekelund scores on a penalty kick

NAPERVILLE, Ill. (AP) -- Ronnie Ekelund scored on a penalty kick in the second half Sunday to lift the San Jose Earthquakes to a 1-1 tie with the Chicago Fire.

With the Quakes threatening to score, Fire defender C.J. Brown tripped Dwayne De Rosario inside the 18-yard box. Ekelund converted the penalty kick by sending a low shot past a diving Zach Thornton in the 60th minute.

Chicago's Kelly Gray, a 21-year-old San Jose native, opened the scoring in the ninth minute. After taking a pass at midfield from Peter Nowak, the midfielder raced 30 yards and split the San Jose defense, kicking a low shot past goalkeeper Joe Cannon.

Nowak nearly won the game in stoppage time, but his attempt from 10 yards out sailed over the goal.

The Fire (4-3-2) remains in first place in the Eastern Conference, and San Jose (5-3-2) moved into the Western Conference lead, ahead of Colorado.

The game marked the first time the Fire attracted a capacity crowd of 13,521 to Cardinal Stadium, their new suburban home.

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