SAN JOSE, Calif. -- After a brutal month of July, in which the San Jose Earthquakes lost all four of their MLS contests, they were able to start August off on a positive note with a scoreless draw against the Portland Timbers at sold-out Avaya Stadium.
David Bingham earned his first clean sheet since a 2-0 win at the Seattle Sounders on June 20, but he was helped out when Timbers playmaker Diego Valeri missed a penalty kick late in the second half.
San Jose (7-9-5) has now gone 304 minutes without scoring against the Portland Timbers (9-8-6) and drops its head-to-head record against them to 1-2-2 in five matches.
Each team had a decent scoring chance in the opening five minutes, as first Qunicy Amarikwa blasted a rebound off a corner kick that couldn't penetrate the Timbers back four, then Portland's Rodney Wallace skimmed a shot wide of the far post after a long overlapping run into the attacking third.
But it was Chris Wondolowski who should have scored first, when in the 7th minute he beat the offside trap and took a pinpoint pass from Shea Salinas near the penalty spot. The Earthquakes leading scorer settled the ball, but a misstep took him above it. In the split second it took him to recover, the Timbers defense moved back into position and Wondolowski could only deliver a weak effort.
The Timbers first quality shot on goal came in the 39th minute from a corner kick delivery as defender Nat Borchers created space by shoving off his defender and getting a point blank header that was rifled right into the breadbasket in goalkeeper David Bingham.
The first half ended with both teams deserving of the scoreline. The Quakes registered seven shots total, two shots on goal, while Portland took five total shots with two on target.
Before the end of the 47th minute, each team saw its SOG tally increase by one. First up was Amarikwa's turn-and-shoot effort from the top of the box that was comfortably saved by goalkeeper Adam Larsen Kwarasey. On the restart, Portland brought the ball all the way up the field, springing Fanendo Adi into space on the right side. The forward touched the pass toward goal and lashed a shot the caromed off the far post.
The Timbers had a 3-on-2 breakaway in the 52nd minute that was orchestrated by Diego Valeri, but the Designated Player could not pull the trigger on a pass and was forced into a weak shot that Bingham happily collected.
Fatai Alashe, playing in the direction of the San Jose Ultras, found space on an entry ball in the 61st minute, but his header flew well over the crossbar. In the 63rd minute, Shaun Francis had a great chance of his own, but after cutting into the area along the left wing, he curled a shot that bounced off the top netting and out of harm's way.
Bingham made a sliding save in the 73rd minute to keep the game scoreless, but he was not able to play hero a minute later when Timbers midfielder Valeri was taken down in the box by Francis. Fortunately for Bingham, he didn't have to, as Valeri blasted his spot kick off the crossbar.
When the match entered the 86th minute, it marked 300 consecutive minutes over which the Earthquakes had failed to score against the Timbers. San Jose's last goal against Portland came at Buck Shaw Stadium on October 4, 2014, courtesy of Wondolowski, in a 2-1 loss to the visitors.
The Quakes kept pushing on offense, all the way through three minutes of stoppage time, but Portland stymied them at every turn. And all that was left was for referee Kevin Stott to blow the whistle to end the game at 0-0.
While it wasn't a win, the point was more than the Earthquakes earned the entire month of July. The tie also brought the Quakes within six points of the final qualifying spot in the Western Conference. San Jose's next match is on the road against the Houston Dynamo next weekend.