SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Two shots off the post were the closest that either San Jose or Philadelphia came to scoring as the two teams battled to an entertaining scoreless draw at Buck Shaw Stadium on Saturday.
The Union nearly ran away with the victory when midfielder Kyle Nakazawa sent a free kick crashing onto the far post with just a handful of minutes remaining in the match. The Quakes, meanwhile, just barely missed out on jumping out in front early in the second half when Ryan Johnson peeled some paint off the crossbar.
Looking for their first points from a West Coast trip, the Union threatened San Jose’s goal just minutes into the match. Nakazawa lined up a free kick from 30 yards out just three minutes into the match, but his attempt whizzed just wide of the goal.
The Quakes, meanwhile, tried to erase what they called a dispirited and disjointed performance in a midweek loss to Chivas USA, by roaring out of the gates.
Simon Dawkins, who replaced suspended Stephen Lenhart in the lineup, looked to put the Quakes in the lead in the 12th minute, slicing a shot between two defenders that curled wide of the goal. Just three minutes after, San Jose opened up play with some flank-to-flank passing and Ryan Johnson unleashed an effort that Union ‘keeper Faryd Mondragón easily trapped.
The Union handled the Quakes’ energy by establishing themselves in the midfield, getting more touches on the ball to keep it away from San Jose. Their more accurate passing led to several chances from forward Danny Mwanga.
In the 27th minute, the striker received the ball at the top of the box and forced Jon Busch to stretch out to deny the Union’s first goal.
Just four minutes later, Mwanga found himself with a golden chance but was denied at the goal line. Daniels slipped through ball to the speedy forward, who then evaded a sliding tackle, rounded Busch, but has his shot cleared by Burling.
Mwanga picked up in the second half where he left off in the first, troubling the Quakes defense but still unable to find the net. In the 48th, the forward found a cross from Justin Mapp in the center of the box, but had his shot blocked by a defender.
The Quakes threatened right back just seconds later, as Johnson took a rebound at the edge of the box and sent a shot to the far post that peeled some paint off the crossbar.
From that moment on, Philadelphia owned the more dangerous chances. In the 52nd minute, Mwanga and Sébastien Le Toux had back-to-back chances, but Busch stepped up to the challenge.
First, Nakazawa slid a pass through to Mwanga, who ran straight towards goal but had his shot stopped by Busch. Second later, Le Toux found a cross in the box, but his volley was also denied by the Quakes ‘keeper.
Already enjoying the run of play, Philadelphia got a bigger spark from second-half sub Michael Farfan, as the rookie hit a shot just high over the crossbar in the 70th minute then forced San Jose defender Daniel Hernandez to make two blocks not long after.
With five minutes to go in regulation Nakazawa had what ended up being the Union’s best chance for walking away with three points. After Le Toux won a free kick at the edge of the box, the midfielder lined up the free kick and fired a shot that ricocheted off the far post.
San Jose next step on the pitch when they host English Premier League side West Bromwich Albion in a friendly on July 13. Their next league match is three days later, when they travel to take on the Columbus Crew.
Philadelphia, meanwhile, get an extended rest, as their next match isn’t until July 17, when they hit the road to face the New England Revolution.
SJ -- Ryan Johnson (caution; Reckless Foul) 64
SJ -- Ramiro Corrales (caution; Dissent) 66
SJ -- Jason Hernandez (caution; Reckless Tackle) 89
Philadelphia Union -- Faryd Mondragon, Sheanon Williams, Danny Califf, Stefani Miglioranzi, Gabriel Farfan, Kyle Nakazawa, Brian Carroll, Justin Mapp (Roger Torres 70), Keon Daniel (Michael Farfan 58), Sebastien Le Toux, Danny Mwanga (Jack McInerney 79).
Substitutes Not Used: Juan Diego Gonzalez, Amobi Okugo, Zach Pfeffer, Zac MacMath.
San Jose Earthquakes -- Jon Busch, Chris Leitch, Bobby Burling, Jason Hernandez, Ramiro Corrales, Anthony Ampaipitakwong (Ellis McLoughlin 59), Brad Ring, Khari Stephenson, Ryan Johnson, Simon Dawkins (Rafael Baca 80), Chris Wondolowski.
Substitutes Not Used: Sam Cronin, Justin Morrow, Scott Sealy, Tim Ward, Andrew Weber.
Referee: Elias Bazakos
Referee's Assistants: George Gansner; Corey Parker
4th Official: Juan Guzman
Time of Game: 1:51
Weather: Sunny and 73 degrees