SAN JOSE, Calif. — For the second time in three home matches, the San Jose Earthquakes limped to a scoreless draw, as the visiting New England Revolution escaped sold-out Avaya Stadium Wednesday night with a point.
The Quakes, who were also held to a scoreless draw with New York City FC earlier this month, saw their playoff positioning improve with the result — they are now tied for the sixth and final berth in the Western Conference with the Portland Timbers — but another lost opportunity to put away a lesser opponent at home may eventually prove costly later this season.
The one positive from the game: goalkeeper David Bingham posted another clean sheet, bringing his 2016 total to six — halfway to reaching the dozen he earned last season, tied for the club single-season record.
The Quakes welcomed Simon Dawkins back into the starting eleven, as the team’s only active Designated Player sat out last Friday’s 2-1 loss to the Houston Dynamo with a knee injury. The remainder of the squad was the same, with El Salvador national team captain Darwin Ceren making his second straight start in central midfield.
Leading the charge for each side were prolific goal scorers Chris Wondolowski and Kei Kamara, who are the only two players in MLS history to score against 21 league opponents.
The Revs, taking their cue from the Dynamo last week, stayed compact in formation, ceding the sidelines to the Earthquakes. Dawkins and Alberto Quintero took the space, but their efforts to get the ball into the box were consistently thwarted. That is, until the 21st minute, when Wondolowski got loose with a free header, but his shot, one he’s made countless times, went wide. And as has been the case for the past few games at Avaya Stadium, San Jose let another quality scoring opportunity go wanting.
The Earthquakes were forced to make an early sub when Quincy Amarikwa was forced out of the game with a right ankle injury in the 34th minute. Head coach Dominic Kinnear elected to bring in Chad Barrett instead of summer signing Henok Goitom.
San Jose’s scoring woes continued early in the second half when a brilliant ball into the area from Barrett fell to Anibal Godoy racing in on goal, but the Panamanian slipped to the turf as he made his first touch, clutching his hamstring, and the ball was easily cleared by New England. Godoy returned to action seconds later, but his movements did look labored.
The Revolution then had the best chance of the night, as Kamara stepped in front of Victor Bernardez on a through ball and had only Bingham to beat. Fortunately for the Avaya faithful, the Revs forward clanged his shot off the post in the 60th minute, and the score remained nil-nil.
Lee Nguyen, New England’s captain, had a free kick opportunity from close range to work with in the 65th minute, but the sharpshooter over-hit the ball well over the crossbar and dangerously close to the TCL 4K “LOBINA” Bar.
Kinnear made his final two subs with 15 minutes to go, replacing replacement Barrett with Goitom and Quintero with Shea Salinas. Within a minute, the Swede was in the boxscore, taking a long pass and putting a blistering shot on target that Revs goalkeeper Brad Knighton did well to parry away.
The game meandered to a close as much of the announced crowd of 18,000 had already headed for the exits. The Earthquakes return to MLS action this Saturday at the Columbus Crew.