Recap: Crew vs. Quakes
Two teams struggling defensively used strong goalkeeping as San Jose and Columbus played to scoreless draw on a rainy night Saturday at Crew Stadium.
Though the draw clinched a postseason berth for the Crew (13-7-7), they lost their grip on the Eastern Conference top seed when New York beat Kansas City 1-0 and surged two points ahead of Columbus, locking up their own postseason berth in the process.
The draw did little for San Jose (11-8-7), who still sit in the eighth and final playoff spot, a full seven points ahead of trailing Kansas City.
The Crew’s William Hesmer and the man he replaced in 2008 – San Jose netminder Jon Busch, starred in the second half.
Hesmer wasn’t tested on his lone save of the first half but preserved the scoreless match the 70th minute with a brilliant right-handed save on a header by Chris Wondolowski. Busch matched it two minutes later with a kick save on a Steven Lenhart close-range shot, then denied Chad Marshall off a corner kick in the 75th.
Hesmer set a franchise record – one he shared with Busch – with his 11th shutout of the season but the Crew have now been blanked in three straight home games.
After starting the same 11 the past two matches, San Jose coach Frank Yallop made three changes from a win over Toronto FC last weekend and Wednesday’s loss to Chicago.
Defender Chris Leitch from the Columbus suburb of Pickerington was sent to the bench as were midfielder Sam Cronin and forward Geovanni. Midfielder Brad Ring and forwards Scott Sealy and Eduardo were inserted. Also, midfielder Bobby Convey moved to left back.
Columbus left most of their regulars at home for Wednesday’s CONCACAF Champions League game – a 2-1 defeat to Municipal – and seven of them were in the starting lineup vs. the Earthquakes.
Defender Andy Iro and midfielder Kevin Burns repeated as starters and defender Shaun Francis and Lenhart came off the bench against Guatemala.
The match was played in light rain with brisk winds with a kickoff temperature of 51 degrees.
The last time the Crew played at home, Seattle scored in the 4th minute. Determined not to repeat, the Crew had possession early and got shots on target by Burns and Emmanuel Ekpo in the first seven minutes, although they were easily stopped by Busch.
San Jose settled down and had a series of good forays that forced the Crew to scramble in front of Hesmer. The assault in the 19th minute didn’t end until defender Iro threw his body in front of a strike by Ring that sent the ball back to the Crew.
Ring followed with the Quakes’ only shot on goal of the half in the 21st but it had no chance of getting past Hesmer.
Columbus should have taken the lead in the 26th minute, if not for the poor finish by Lenhart. He was unmarked at the right post to receive a free kick from Francis only to put the easy sitting header well over the goal.
In the 34th, Iro headed a Guillermo Barros Schelotto corner left of goal to ruin another attempt.
The Crew had 11 shots but only two on goal in the first 45 minutes.
Columbus play the Lamar Hunt U.S Open Cup final Tuesday at Seattle, and return to MLS action against Chicago on Oct. 8.
San Jose return to action Oct. 9 at D.C. United.
San Jose Earthquakes -- Jon Busch, Brandon McDonald, Tim Ward, Jason Hernandez, Bobby Convey, Chris Wondolowski, Khari Stephenson, Brad Ring, Ryan Johnson, Scott Sealy (Sam Cronin 87), Eduardo (Geovanni 69).
Substitutes Not Used: Arturo Alvarez, Bobby Burling, Cornell Glen, Chris Leitch, Brian Edwards.
Columbus Crew -- William Hesmer, Frankie Hejduk, Chad Marshall, Andy Iro, Shaun Francis, Eddie Gaven (Robbie Rogers 81), Brian Carroll, Kevin Burns, Emmanuel Ekpo (Emilio Renteria 66), Guillermo Barros Schelotto, Steven Lenhart (Andres Mendoza 84).
Substitutes Not Used: Eric Brunner, Adam Moffat, Gino Padula, Andy Gruenebaum.
SJ -- Ryan Johnson (caution; Dissent) 38
Referee: Jorge Gonzalez
Referee's Assistants: Adam Garner; Jason Cullum
4th Official: Hilario Grajeda
Time of Game: 1:49