Absences aren't an excuse for San Jose Earthquakes in goalless draw

SAN JOSE, Calif.— After one game without Chris Wondolowski, the 2016 San Jose Earthquakes have already surpassed their sans-team-captain point total from a year ago.

The Quakes went 0-3 in regular-season play last summer while Wondolowski was on Gold Cup duty, getting outscored 8-2 in those matches. And though San Jose wasn’t pleased by falling short of a win at home Saturday, getting a point with a scoreless draw against FC Dallas – the Western Conference’s second-place team – while Wondolowski watched from afar felt like an improvement.

San Jose started with Quincy Amarikwa and Chad Barrett atop their 4-4-2 formation but generated just two shots-on-goal in a game that never really caught fire.

“You want to win your home games,” said Quakes goalkeeper David Bingham. “Yeah, we have a lot of guys gone, but we have a lot of quality on this roster. The most important thing is keep a clean sheet, and the second thing is we’re going to put one away on Wednesday [against Portland]. So I look forward to that.”

Wondolowski, who came on in the 72nd minute of the United States’ 4-0 friendly win against Bolivia on Saturday, was hardly the only absence for San Jose, who were missing the men behind 12 of their 16 goals this season due to Copa America callups: Alberto Quintero and Anibal Godoy to Panama, plus Simon Dawkins to Jamaica.

“We were looking to get three [points] here at home. That’s something that doesn’t really depend on who we have here and who we don’t,” said midfielder Fatai Alashe, the Quakes’ leading active scorer with two goals this season. “Without Chris, we have to plug some other guys in there and we hope they can get on the score sheet as well.”

To deliver a win at Providence Park – a location where the Quakes have gone 0-3-5 since the Timbers’ ascension to MLS – on Wednesday, San Jose will need more cohesion between Amarikwa and Barrett, who delivered exertion but not always execution as a duo.

“There’s always a learning curve, and it’s our first time playing together, so we’re trying to figure out each other’s tendencies on a full pitch,” Amarikwa said. “We could have done better to capitalize on the few chances we did create, but I think that what’s important is that we came out of here with a shutout and a good defensive performance. As long as you’re tough to beat and tough to score on, the goals will come.”