The Quakes did everything but finish their chances Friday night against visiting New York City FC, collecting a 0-0 draw when they certainly were hoping for more.
The match finished even on the scoresheet, but the Earthquakes dominated the game. They out-shot their opponents (19-10) and many of those chances perhaps should have been finished. Glaringly, the Quakes only managed four of those shots on target.
Chris Wondolowski seemed especially out of form in this one. Several shots that San Jose fans have come to expect the American striker to finish were simply off the mark. His timing of the shot and handling of the ball were also uncharacteristically off.
A bright spot for the Quakes came in the 81st minute however, when new signing Darwin Ceren, formerly of Orlando City and current El Salvador captain came on for his debut. Ceren was brought to San Jose in exchange for attacking midfielder and Designated Player Matias Perez-Garcia, who had fallen somewhat out of the team’s pecking order in 2016.
The Quakes certainly could have put a dent on a scoreless first half. The New York City midfield seemed unable to deal with the Earthquake’s high press defense and the San Jose offense was able to turn less possession into nine first half shots.
It was a first half of missed opportunities however, as San Jose’s tactical dominance led to no more than close chances.
Quakes forward Quincy Amarikwa, whose low goal tally may have been the only thing keeping him off the MLS All-Star squad, muscled the NYCFC defense off a ball in the 11th minute. He laid off a roller right in front of Anibal Godoy who failed to capitalize on a clear-cut chance and skied one up and over the goal.
Just minutes later, speedy winger Alberto Quintero continued his successful campaign of quality chances created. The on-loan Panamanian carved right through the heart the New York City defense only to have his cross goal shot smothered by Josh Saunders, the opposing keeper.
NYCFC made a push their own right around the half-hour mark. In the 28th minute, Quakes keeper David Bingham, fresh off his MLS All-Star debut, had a rare moment of miscommunication with veteran left back Jordan Stewart. Stewart shielded the ball high in the box and before the NYC attackers or Bingham recovered to get to the ball, Stewart sent an emergency clearance out of play.
Chris Wondolowski put himself in position for a couple close chances early in the second half. In the 53rd minute Quintero put in a the best cross of the match onto the head of Quakes’ leading scorer Wondo, but the long time San Jose striker headed the chance wide of the goal.
Shea Salinas brought another key chance in the 57th minute when he bulldozed his way around the NYC defense to lay one in front of Wondolowski. The poor finishing continued for San Jose as Wondolowski hit his first time shot over the goal.
Wondo nabbed another clear-cut chance in the 69th minute. A beautiful chipped ball came to the striker in the box, he chested it down and bounced a shot gracefully over Saunders in goal. Carrying on with the Quakes’ struggles however, the ball found the absolute upper corner of the goal to bounce out of play.
Substitute forward Chad Barrett came on to improve San Jose’s scoring chances and looked to do just that in the 76th. The forward with a reputation for late game magic ran onto a through ball clear on goal but had his shot stopped as well. Josh Saunders and the goalposts were combining to create an impenetrable defense.
A few more chances piled up for both sides in the final minutes of the match, but neither side was able to break the 0-0 scoreline.
After the match, San Jose moves to 6-6-10 on the season, good for 8th place in the Western Conference. They take the field next in Vancouver (8-9-6) at BC Place on August 12.