By KEVIN KOCZWARA
Despite a few good chances for both sides, neither the Vancouver Whitecaps or the San Jose Earthquakes were able to get on the score sheet in their, 0-0, draw at Buck Shaw Stadium on Saturday night.
The former Major League Soccer Golden Boot winner Chris Wondolowski had his fair chair of chances to get the Earthquakes on the scoresheet, but was unable to get past Whitecaps goalkeeper David Ousted. And Vancouver’s Darren Mattocks had a chance late to steal the game with a goal but was unable to convert.
Wondolowski’s first opportunity came in the 3rd minute when he was able to get on the end of a Cordell Cato cross from the right-wing with his head, but he steered the header wide of the Vancouver post.
The best chance of the game came to the Earthquakes in the 19th minute from a corner. Alan Gordon won the initial header and did well to get it low and on frame, but Ousted was there to parry the chance away. The Whitecaps goalkeeper pushed the rebound back into the six-yard-box and to the feet of San Jose defender Clarence Goodson. Goodson was clear on goal, but he blasted his attempt over the bar from five yards away.
There was controversy in the 24th minute as the Earthquakes continued their assault on the Vancouver goal when Ramiro Corrales appeared to be tripped in the box while trying to dribble through the Whitecaps defense. Referee Jair Marrufo ran to Corrales in the box and looked like he was going to blow for a penalty, but, instead, the referee urged play on.
There was a bit of good and bad news later in the first half for Vancouver. Defender Brad Rusin went down injured int he 31st minute and had to come off, but he was replaced by Jay DeMerit, who returned to action for the first time for the Whitecaps after being injured in the first six minutes of their season opener.
Kenny Miller had the best chance for the visitors in the first half when he was able to get around the San Jose defense in the 45th minute and get a shot off from just outside the six-yard-box, but the tight angle allowed Jon Busch to make the save. Miller was given a second chance on the play, though, as the the rebound fell to him, but he put the chance over the net.
Wondolowski enjoyed another good chance in the second half to add to his goalscoring tally when in 61st minute Sam Cronin hit a free kick into the penalty area for Wondolowski to get on the end of. The Earthquakes forward got a touch on the ball but the chance went straight to Ousted.
In the dying moments of the game San Jose continued to create chances for themselves. In the 81st minute a free kick confused everyone in the box and hit the far post before trickling out of play.
Mattocks and Vancouver tried to steal the game in the closing moments. The forward found space on the edge of the San Jose penalty area in stoppage time, but pulled his shot wide.
The draw left both teams tied for seventh place in the Western Conference, two points behind FC Dallas and five points behind the Portland Timbers for the fifth and final playoff spot. Vancouver will head to Montreal next Saturday to take on the Impact. San Jose will host Montreal on Tuesday before visiting Real Salt Lake on Saturday.
Here are the match highlights: