SAN JOSE, Calif. -- With one pawing save, San Jose Earthquakes goalkeeper David Bingham showed why the Quakes’ defense and their strength at Avaya Stadium have gone hand in hand this year.
Bingham dove to his left and palmed aside a strong header from Sporting Kansas City striker Dom Dwyer in the 29th minute Sunday, one of five saves the newly christened US international made in the first half of the Quakes’ eventual 1-0 victory against SKC.
With the win, San Jose improved to 4-0-1 at home in 2016. The Quakes (4-2-2 overall) have only allowed two goals in those five matches at Avaya, where they went 8-3-6 during the stadium’s opening season.
“It’s not like we’ve played 20 [matches], but home field is huge for us,” Bingham said. “We love playing here. We have great fans here and we’re excited about it.”
Even though Bingham felt like the Quakes played a better all-around game than host Portland last weekend, they came away empty after allowing the Timbers to score three times on the back of San Jose miscues.
On Sunday, the Quakes didn’t totally eliminate those mistakes -- Sporting Kansas City used their high press to create turnovers that led to multiple chances early on -- but San Jose survived the early blitz and slowly took the air out of the visitors’ attack, helped by a non-call on a potential penalty in the 55th minute. Bingham didn’t have to make a save after intermission.
“It’s great when you’re under pressure to survive the storm and then get on the leading foot in the second half,” Bingham said. “Our first half wasn’t up to par and we know that. We came in and regrouped. . . . Our quality was better in the second half.”
Bingham has showed his quality for much of the past year, earning his international debut in February on the back of a franchise-record 12 shutouts during the 2015 season. Sunday’s clean sheet was his third of the year and lowered his GAA to 1.25, pushing him into the league’s top 10.
“Can’t say enough good things about David right now,” San Jose coach Dominic Kinnear said. “He’s playing really well and bailing us out when we need him to. He’s got great range and when he makes a decision, for the most part, they’re strong, which is what you want from your goalkeeper. I just like the way, any time the ball is near him, you see him coming for the ball, you feel really confident that he’s going to be coming out with it.”