With just 3 points separating the San Jose Earthquakes in 7th place and the Seattle Sounders in 4th the playoffs race could hardly be more open.
The Whitecaps needed the win to confirm their playoff spot, coming into Avaya Stadium on a two game winless streak and having never won at San Jose.
In the end the final 1-1 score didn’t really do anyone much good. As a game of soccer it was a tough pig to put lipstick on.
In the early exchanges the Caps defense withstood the Quakes opening impetus while Vancouver found little progress beyond midfield, although their one move on goal did provoke Bingham to make a scary parry out from goal.
By the 10th minute Salinas and Cato were finding easy purchase down their respective wings but the final balls into the area were still lacking viable targets.
After Cato got free and sent a ball into the area the ball fell to Koval but the Quakes midfielder fired so high over the bar he almost hit a plane landing at the adjacent San Jose airport.
The game opened up and in the 14th minute Vancouver’s Waston got free on the edge of the box forcing Bingham to make a fine save at his feet.
In 25th minutes Techera nipped behind the defense forcing another save from Bingham. A minute later Manneh hit a drive that went just wide of a diving Bingham and the post. The tide looked to be turning in the Caps favor
Quakes defender Goodson was yellow carded in the 26th minute for playing through the back of Rivero.
Vancouver then forced a series of corners applying pressure to the Quakes and making Bingham suddenly the busiest man on the field.
In the 36th minute San Jose midfielder Godoy picked up a yellow card.
Corners from the Whitecaps were now resulting in pinball panic in the Quakes area. In the 39th minute a cheeky back heel from Vancouver midfielder Rosales found Techera who feinted left and right before firing the ball over a pile of incoming Quakes defenders and into the net.
San Jose 0 Vancouver 1 Halftime saw Vancouver go in a goal up.
The second half started out as a snippy affair with the referee displaying an inconsistent degree of variable control over the shenanigans.
Neither team were stamping anything like authority on the game but by the 60th minute if there was any advantage it wasn’t looking to be going San Jose’s way. That is until Cato found a space, took a shot on goal that Usted could only parry out, and Wondolowski pounced on the rebound to score his 16th goal of the season.
San Jose 1 Vancouver 1
In the 66th minute Quakes defender Bernardez was yellow carded for a foul on the edge of the box and will miss the next game due to card accumulation.
The Quakes were still knocking their heads in vain against the Caps defensive wall, and Vancouver looked the more likely to score on the break.
In 74th minute San Jose substituted Wynnel and brought on Thompson. After some good energetic movement Thompson managed a shot on goal but Usted saved comfortably enough.
In the 81st minute Harvey snuck behind the San Jose defense but his close range flick fell easily to a grateful Bingham.
The Quakes set pieces seemed to consist of hitting the ball long range toward what looked for all the world like a bus line, and were proving about as effective.
In fact, it was a Quakes ball into the bus queue that failed to reach it and saw Vancouver break and almost steal the win in time added-on. Two Cap Caps players broke through on Bingham but Manneh’s heavy touch gave Bingham the chance to get out and grab the ball from his feet.
San Jose failed to find a way through the Vancouver defence and the game ended tied 1-1
After the game head coach Kinnear spoke about the use of Cato and Salinas up the wings,
"The middle was pretty blocked up by Waston and Parker so we had Anibal (Godoy) and JJ (Koval) sit in there a little bit to fight for second balls. If we could switch it out there quick we knew it would be a good idea. It was a real physical game tonight, it was a bit of a ping pong match to be honest with you, it was a real physical test, so any time we could try and get possession of the ball we looked wide because that’s where the space was. "
On how he thought goalkeeper Bingham has progressed in his first full season as Quakes starting keeper head coach Kinnear said,
"Thirty games in I think he’s had a real good season. I think his quickness on the Manneh
play, when I saw the guy running through, just the way it happened, we’re trying to put pressure on them and then an onsides kick goes in their favor and they’re running the other way. You almost don’t want to look at the play develop. But obviously he (Manneh) mistimed his touch a little bit and it’s excellent goalkeeping. Really quick and he makes himself big, so yes I think he’s had a good season for us."