San Jose could not find the goal they have desperately coveted for the past three games, in the process earning themselves an uninspiring 0-0 draw against Real Salt Lake at Avaya Stadium Saturday night.
Head Coach Mikael Stahre made changes to the line up that featured in Wednesday’s loss to the Seattle Sounders. Regular starters Florian Jungwirth, Danny Hoesen, and Chris Wondolowski all started the game from the bench.
“We played at home here on Wednesday and also had a friendly game on Sunday so I think it was really important to have fresh legs and energy. In this moment it is important to keep the whole squad alive.”
Substitute midfielder Tommy Thompson along with forward Fatai Alashe made their first starts of the season after a hand full of relief appearances between them. New signing Guram Kashia made his second-straight start in the center of defense since joining the ‘Quakes (2-7-12), alongside midfielder Luis Felipe.
In the first half, Real Salt Lake (9-4-9) conceded most of the possession to the hosts — an injury to key Czech midfielder Albert Rusnak didn’t make things easier. But San Jose was unable to take advantage, looking stagnant on offense and not causing their guests much stress. The two moves that did look dangerous were quickly shut down due to some eager ‘Quakes attackers lined up offside.
For much of the 2018 season, the most consistent thing for San Jose has been that one mistake deep in their own half would be quickly converted into an opposition goal. The Earthquakes, however, cherished the possession and remained composed with the ball. Most of the first 45 minutes were played in the Salt Lake half, so any loss of possession deep upfield wouldn’t turn into a devastating counter.
Both teams were more efficient in the second half, getting their chances on goal.
‘Quakes keeper Andrew Tarbell had to make a great diving save on a header in the 53rd minute to deny Salt Lake the lead. Later in the half, a Nick Lima cross into the box was met by Alashe’s foot but it caromed off the crossbar and out of play.
“We are happy to get a clean sheet. Both teams worked hard defensively but we couldn’t score and win. I’m happy to do my part, happy to make a couple saves to help the team when the moment cam. Everyone from top to bottom was really switched on defensively.”
“I’m happy with the clean sheet but I’m really disappointed we gave away two points. Such big chances decide these games so we should have scored.”
Even though the chances improved slightly, both teams were toothless on offense giving the feeling that even 180 minutes could have been played without a breakthrough. San Jose has not scored in three straight games and has not led since June 13. The draw makes it 12 straight games without a win.
“It’s really time to win for us and to give the supporters the feeling of what its like to win a game because its been a really long time. We have to win our fans back, we have to work for the rest of the season.”
Of his new coach, Kashia said:
“He is pushing all the players to perform best and to win the games, it’s getting really annoying for the players. You cannot blame only one person. Obviously when you don’t win for two months its something to do with us players too.”
San Jose is a trip to Texas where they take on the top team in the Western Conference FC Dallas, at Toyota Stadium Saturday, August 4.
Danny Hoese and Chris Wondolowski both made late substitute appearances but did not have enough time to make an impact on the final score. … After Saturday’s tie, the all-time series between Real Salt Lake and San Jose remains deadlocked with a record of 10-11-10.