Despite losing three key starters to injury during the course of the game, the San Jose Earthquakes managed to hold FC Dallas to a 0-0 draw Saturday night at Spartan Stadium.
Although the Earthquakes were unable to score for the first time this season, they were able to register their second straight shutout after struggling defensively in their first five games of the season, though they failed to reduce their two-point deficit to FC Dallas in the Western Conference table.
Center back Troy Dayak, forward Brian Ching and midfielder Brian Mullan were all forced to leave the injury-filled match, which also claimed former Earthquakes standout Richard Mulrooney, the franchise's all-time leader in games played. Mulrooney had to leave the match in the 34th minute with a right knee injury. He will be re-evaluated upon his return to Dallas.
Already playing without starting right back Craig Waibel, the Earthquakes suffered another injury in the back as Dayak had to leave in the 11th minute after spraining his left knee. Dayak became entangled with FC Dallas forward Eddie Johnson along the right side of the San Jose defense. Second-year man Ryan Cochrane replaced Dayak, who will go in for an MRI on Monday.
Dayak was whistled for a foul on the play, and FC Dallas nearly scored off the ensuing free kick, as the Earthquakes were able to only partially clear the Mulrooney free kick. The ball came out to Ronnie O'Brien, who ripped a full volley that deflected off Brian Ching and scooted inches wide of the goal.
Following the injury to Dayak, the Quakes were put under consistent pressure, as they were unable to get hold of the ball for the next few minutes. But San Jose was able to prevent any serious chances and got back into a rhythm toward the middle part of the first half. The Earthquakes flashed several attractive combination sequences, though Dallas was able to hold firm in the back.
In the 39th minute, the injury bug struck again, claiming Ching, who had to leave with a strained right hamstring. Ching injured himself after executing a nifty backheel to Dwayne De Rosario that nearly resulted in a scoring chance. Ching, who will also have an MRI on Monday, was replaced by Alejandro Moreno.
The Earthquakes nearly snuck out a late first half lead as Ronald Cerritos was denied by a diving Scott Garlick in the 45th minute. The play started with a long ball out of the back from Brian Mullan to Moreno, who timed his flick perfectly with the onrushing Cerritos. Garlick dove to his left to save Cerritos' left-footed shot.
San Jose head coach Dominic Kinnear was forced to make his third and final substitution in the 61st minute as right midfielder Brian Mullan went down after he was fouled by FC Dallas defender David Wagenfuhr. Veteran Ian Russell came in for Mullan, who will go in early next week for an X-ray on his injured left ankle.
Shortly thereafter the Quakes came close as they again forced a fine save out of Garlick. A free kick was whipped in from the right side where Moreno rose up to head it goalward, but the FCD 'keeper was able to palm it over the bar.
The second half was played very close to the vest, as neither team was able to break through. Russell latched onto a Moreno cross from the left side in the 71st minute, but his header was saved by the diving Garlick.
MLSnet.com Man of the Match: Scott Garlick (FC Dallas)
Danny Kadah is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.
FC Dallas (3-1-3) vs. San Jose Earthquakes (2-1-4)
May 14, 2005 -- Spartan Stadium
Scoring Summary: NONE
FC Dallas -- Scott Garlick, Bobby Rhine, Clarence Goodson, Greg Vanney, David Wagenfuhr (Drew Moor 76), Richard Mulrooney (Oscar Pareja 34) (Arturo Alvarez 90), Simo Valakari, Carey Talley, Eddie Johnson, Carlos Ruiz, Ronnie O'Brien.
Substitutes Not Used: Jeff Cassar, Roberto Mina.
TOTAL SHOTS: 12 (Ronnie O'Brien 5); SHOTS ON GOAL: 6 (Eddie Johnson 2, Oscar Pareja 2); FOULS: 20 (Ronnie O'Brien 5); OFFSIDES: 1 (Eddie Johnson 1); CORNER KICKS: 3 (Greg Vanney 3); SAVES: 5 (Scott Garlick 5)
San Jose Earthquakes -- Pat Onstad, Ricardo Clark, Troy Dayak (Ryan Cochrane 11), Eddie Robinson, Wade Barrett, Dwayne De Rosario, Danny O'Rourke, Brad Davis, Brian Mullan (Ian Russell 63), Brian Ching (Alejandro Moreno 40), Ronald Cerritos.
Substitutes Not Used: Chris Aloisi, Jon Conway, Tighe Dombrowski, Wes Hart, Julian Nash, Chris Wondolowski.
TOTAL SHOTS: 13 (Ricardo Clark 3, Dwayne De Rosario 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 5 (Dwayne De Rosario 2); FOULS: 19 (Brad Davis 4, Danny O'Rourke 4); OFFSIDES: 1 (Ronald Cerritos 1); CORNER KICKS: 6 (Ronald Cerritos 4); SAVES: 6 (Pat Onstad 6)
SJ -- Brian Mullan (caution; Pushing, Holding) 58
DAL -- Oscar Pareja (caution; Diving, Exaggeration) 64
SJ -- Brad Davis (caution; Reckless Foul) 66
DAL -- Ronnie O'Brien (caution; Reckless Foul) 76
Referee: Erich Simmons
Referee's Assistants: -Emiliano Monje; Jose Corro
4th Official: Kevin Stott
Time of Game: 1:51
Weather: Partly Cloudy-and-75-degrees
All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial.