The clash between the two worst teams in the MLS’ Western Conference — points-wise — lived up to any expectations one could have with the Earthquakes and Colorado Rapids finishing in a goalless draw.
After the game interim head coach Steve Ralston showed frustration, saying:
“I wanted three points, I wanted more than one point at this stage.”
The first twenty minutes was all San Jose (4-20-9). The Rapids (7-19-7), who came in with perhaps the most mundane offense in the MLS, only 34 goals scored, struggled to touch the ball, much less sustain possession.
The possession advantage continued the entire half. The Quakes earned seven corner kicks opposed to just one for Colorado, which wasn’t awarded their own until the 36th minute.
“We figured with our formation that our fullbacks would get higher and get opportunities to get crosses in the box. They sat back and have some big guys so its hard to lob balls in because they’ll win the majority of those.”
On top of this being the home finale, there was an added buzz in the stadium any moment forward Chris Wondolowski touched the ball in the opposition box. Wondolowski came into the game on the brink of history with 144 goals, only one goal behind Landon Donovan for most MLS goals of all time.
The Quakes, possibly playing to get Wondolowski the record, peppered high and low crosses into the box where he roamed, that would be quickly cleared away by Colorado defenders. Every pass into the vicinity of the Quakes legend drew massive cheers from the home faithful, who were bustling with anticipation, hoping to see history after enduring such a tough season, especially at Avaya Stadium.
On the struggle to find Wondolowski, Danny Hoesen said”
“Everybody hopes he gets the record. But it’s still a team sport so its impossible to keep finding one person because he’ll be marked sometimes.”
Midfielder Eric Calvillo who made his first MLS start said:
“Obviously we are all trying to be the person to give him that assist, be the guy to say I gave the pass for him to tie the record or beat the record. There is one more game I feel he can still do it this year.”
San Jose got close a few times forcing goalkeeper Tim Howard to make some routine saves. The best chance came late in the first half when midfielder Tommy Thompson one-timed a pass from deep into the box towards Hoesen. Howard had to intervene and palm the ball saving an easy tap-in for Hoesen.
Colorado made a few changes to start the half but no adjustments as the second half was a complete continuation of the first. San Jose attacked Howard’s box forcing another bunch of saves that kept the game scoreless.
“I think we were much better than them. They played very narrow and kept dropping back towards their own goal so it was very hard to find space. We tried to score but it just didn’t happen.”
Wondolowski shared similar thoughts on the draw when he said:
“I think that we had enough possession to at least get one in the back of the net. We just didn’t test him (Howard) enough, pretty easy saves for him.”
The Quakes attempted fewer crosses in the second half, opting to play through the middle of the field but the result was the same. Colorado, who had nothing to play for regarding league position, kept defending valiantly.
History would have to wait at least until next week when San Jose trek up the coast for their regular season finale against the Seattle Sounders Sunday October 28.