SAN JOSE, Calif.—After a first half Saturday night in which a pair of trips off his line nearly led to goals being conceded, San Jose Earthquakes goalkeeper David Bingham little resembled the player who broke into the US national team two years ago.
Then came a knifing run by Sporting Kansas City stalwart Graham Zusi into the Quakes’ box as the final seconds ticked down. Zusi leapt over the lunging tackle attempt of San Jose center back Andres Imperiale, leaving himself open at 11 yards, with only a hard-charging Bingham to beat in order to deliver a game-winning goal with practically the last kick of the match.
Zusi’s left-footed attempt was deflected by a brush from Bingham’s right hand. The shot rolled wide of the far post, securing a 0-0 tie for a depleted Quakes squad against the Western Conference leaders.
“When I turned and saw [Zusi] was 1-v-1 with David, I said, ‘Please, David, make a save,’” Imperiale said. “He made a great save and thank God we got the point.”
It was a sixth shutout of the season for Bingham – only SKC’s Tim Melia, with nine, has more in MLS this year – and might have showed something to national team coach Bruce Arena, who named six goalkeepers to his preliminary Gold Cup roster earlier this month, but not Bingham.
“Every time you step on the field, you want to make a statement to the national team coach, no matter who it is,” said Bingham, who earned all three of his US caps under Jurgen Klinsmann. “Yeah, I’m disappointed, but at the end of the day I want to play 34 consecutive games for the Earthquakes. That’s what gets you to the national team. You’re disappointed, but there’s no point to sit there and pout about it, because then it’s going to effect my performance here.”
Bingham looked uncharacteristically off-kilter in a disjointed first half from San Jose. His attempt to punch clear a 3rd-minute free kick – thanks in part to a collision with Sporting forward Dom Dwyer – failed, and the Quakes were lucky to see Benny Feilhaber’s delivery crash off the far post. Things didn’t improve in the 36th minute, when Roger Espinoza beat Bingham to a corner kick. Only Cordell Cato’s header off the line kept the Quakes’ shutout intact.
As so often happens for goalkeepers, a chance for redemption came up for Bingham, this time when Zusi took a pass from Gerso in the fourth minute of second-half stoppage time and almost gave SKC the result they felt they deserved.
“At the end of the day, no one’s going to remember those,” Bingham said, of the first-half flubs. “They’re going to remember the save in the 90th-plus minute. As a goalie, you have to have a short memory, because every play you have to be perfect. It’s not like other positions where you get some grace. I don’t.”