Earthquakes

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Quakes' draw with Sporting KC

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USATSI

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Quakes' draw with Sporting KC

SAN JOSE -- People say that the when you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is to stop digging. 

So if you’re someone who believes in that, Saturday’s 0-0 draw is a good thing for the San Jose Earthquakes. After dropping two straight MLS matches, the Quakes needed to stop the bleeding and were faced with doing so against the Western Conference’s top team, Sporting Kansas City — no small task. 

Here are five things you need to know about a scoreless, albeit positive, affair Saturday afternoon at Avaya Stadium. 

— Quakes head coach Dominic Kinnear’s troubles began even before San Jose took to the pitch on Saturday. We knew of three key cogs — Florian Jungwirth, Marco Urena, Darwin Ceren — already out with injury or suspension. But things got worse when Fatai Alashe and Simon Dawkins became unavailable. The result: Kinnear’s lineup card listed just 16 players — three of which have spent the vast majority of their season playing for San Jose’s United Soccer League affiliate, Reno 1868. Of those three, one saw playing time — Jackson Yueill, who made his MLS debut.

— The draw is positive for two reasons. One, San Jose was without several key players and it would have been very easy to use that as an excuse for a less than stellar effort. And two, the draws snaps a two-game MLS slide. The race for a playoff spot in the Western Conference is congested. San Jose may be in seventh place, but the draw keeps them just eight points behind first place Sporting KC. 

— The first half unfolded as expected — the shorthanded Quakes had no choice but to play a defensive game and hope Sporting KC made a mistake on a counterattack. That didn’t happen. In fact, three times, SKC had an open net and couldn’t capitalize. San Jose, on the other hand, did not record a single shot on Tim Melia’s goal. Things opened up a little more in the second half for the Quakes. But as its been the case for some time now, the Quakes simply could not break through. KC's Graham Zusi had arguably the match's best chance with mere seconds left to play. The clean sheet for Kansas City means the visitors have now allowed just eight road goals in nine matches all season long. 

— Saturday’s match against Sporting KC was the second in a very busy stretch for the Quakes. Last Wednesday, the Quakes took down the San Francisco Deltas (NASL) 2-0 in U.S. Open Cup play. However, the win means another game on the schedule the following Wednesday — against the reigning MLS champion Seattle Sounders. 

In all, by the time San Jose faces Los Angeles in Stanford Stadium for the Cali Clasico, the Quakes will have played five matches in 18 days before packing up for a cross country trip to Atlanta for another game on Independence Day. 

Tired legs, indeed. 

— A couple of logistic particulars: Saturday’s reported attendance was 18,000 — another sell-out for Avaya Stadium where the Quakes remain very stout. As a side note, the Quakes announced earlier in the week they have sold over 30,000 tickets for the aforementioned Cali Clasico at Stanford Stadium. 

Chris Wondolowski and Anibal Godoy went into the book with yellow cards on Saturday. 

Next up, the Quakes will take on Real Salt Lake next Saturday at Avaya Stadium with kick scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

Quakes drop finale in Seattle, finish season 4-21-9

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Quakes drop finale in Seattle, finish season 4-21-9

BOX SCORE

SEATTLE -- Raul Ruidiaz scored two second-half goals and the Seattle Sounders rallied to beat the San Jose Earthquakes 2-1 on Sunday in the regular-season finale to grab second place in the Western Conference and avoid the knockout round of the MLS playoffs

The Sounders (18-11-5) vaulted past Los Angeles FC and FC Dallas, both losers on MLS Decision Day.

After the Earthquakes (4-21-9) went in front on an own goal in the 64th minute, Ruidiaz tied it in the 79th when he ran onto a crossing pass from Cristian Roldan and tapped it in from 2 yards straight in front.

Ruidiaz then scored from the top of the box in the second minute of stoppage time to put the Sounders ahead.

San Jose opened the scoring when a shallow shot by Danny Hoesen from the right side of the box nicked off of Sounders defender Chad Marshall and into the back left corner of the net.

Wondo remains one goal behind Landon Donovan, Quakes-Rapids play to draw

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Wondo remains one goal behind Landon Donovan, Quakes-Rapids play to draw

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE -- Tim Howard had his fifth shutout of the season and the Colorado Rapids played the San Jose Earthquakes to a 0-0 draw Sunday in a match between the worst teams in the Western Conference.

Colorado (7-19-7) was trying to win consecutive games for just the third time this season. San Jose (4-20-8) snapped a six-match losing streak.

San Jose goalkeeper James Marcinkowski had his first clean sheet. The Earthquakes haven't conceded a home goal to Colorado since a 1-1 draw on May 18, 2013.