Match Report: San Jose Earthquakes 0-0 WFC

Jay DeMerit played his first match since inuring his Achilles tendon in the season opener against Toronto FC. DeMerit replaced the injured Brad Rusin in the 31st minute. - Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

After sharing the points with San Jose the Whitecaps keep their slim playoff hopes alive for another week

Even before the teams took the field the signs were ominous for the Whitecaps: Andy O'Brien and Johnny Leverón were injured and did not make the trip, and Russell Teibert had to withdraw at the last moment due to illness.  What made matters a little worse, Brad Rusin was starting in defense for the first time in six weeks, and the only defensive substitute was Jay DeMerit.  It looked like it could be a long night for the Whitecaps.

The First Half

Despite the unexpected absences of O'Brien, Leverón and Teibert, the Whitecaps came out attacking and looked the be the better of the two sides in the opening minutes of the match.  Veteran Young-Pyo Lee started at right full back and was pushing forward in the early minutes of the match.  At the other end, Lee was showing that his pace has slowed a little with age as San Jose's Shea Salinas looked to try to take advantage of Lee's lack of pace and get behind him into space.

Both teams looked to try and get an early lead in the match.  In the 8th minute a dangerous looking cross from Salinas was convincingly punched out of the box by a confident David Ousted.  The Caps continued to respond to the Earthquakes' attacks and Vancouver's best chance to score in the first half came in the 16th minute when Lee's cross just barely missed the outstretched foot of a lunging Jordan Harvey.

In the 19th minute Ousted saved Alan Gordon's header from close range, but could not hang onto the ball.  His rebound landed at the feet of defender Clarence Goodson, but his shot was well wide of the Vancouver goal and did not trouble Ousted.

A minute later the 'Caps had another chance to take the lead when Kenny Miller rose above the San Jose defenders, but put his snap header just wide of the 'Quakes goal.  San Jose were quick to counter, and a minute later the 'Quakes put a shot wide of the Vancouver goal in a scramble that was reminiscent of the dying moments of the first game that these two clubs played back on April 6th.

By this point the momentum had shifted, and San Jose was looking the more dangerous of the two teams.  Shortly after Ramiro Corrales' blatant and shocking dive in the 24th minute, Vancouver defender Brad Rusin aggravated his ankle injury and had to be substituted.  Due to the absences of O'Brien and Leveron, the only defensive substitute available to manager Martin Rennie was Jay DeMerit, who prior to this evening had not played a minute of action since he was injured on opening day.  Rusin signaled that he was not fit to continue - forcing Rennie to throw DeMerit into the fray.

The sides continued to trade half-chances until the 42nd minute when striker Camilo Sanvezzo was fouled on the edge of the San Jose area and Vancouver was awarded a free kick.  Camilo's resulting low free kick bounced off the wall and it did not even test 'Quakes goalkeeper Jon Busch.

The first half ended, and statistically Vancouver enjoyed a 57% to 43% advantage in possession over the San Jose Earthquakes.

The Second Half

The second half of the game continued in a similar fashion to the first half, and Vancouver was given a scare in the 61st minute when Chris Wondolowski escaped his marking on a San Jose free kick, but a well-positioned Ousted was there to calmly gather the ball.  As the half progressed, solid defending from Vancouver kept the 'Quakes outside the area, and they were limited to long distance shots.  In the 83rd minute Rennie made one final substitution to bring Darren Mattocks on for Camilo.  Mattocks had one opportunity a few minutes later to steal a late winner for Vancouver, but after four minutes of injury time the game ended 0-0.

The Final Word

After splitting the points this evening, the Whitecaps and Earthquakes remain tied on points at 38 apiece.  Vancouver was given some help this evening in the fact that FC Dallas lost to the Colorado Rapids and the Portland Timbers drew with Chivas USA.  This means that Vancouver is still five points outside of the fifth and final Western Conference playoff spot with six matches remaining in the regular season.

After replacing Brad Rusin in the 31st minute, Jay DeMerit had a solid outing next to Carlyle Mitchell in the heart of the Whitecaps' defense and was awarded the Man of the Match.

~

@86forever – for the latest Whitecaps FC news and updates brought to you from the Heart of Cascadia!

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