Recap: Union back in first place with scoreless draw at San Jose
Santa Clara, Ca. – Looking for their first victory in the Pacific Time Zone in team history, the Philadelphia Union settled for a 0-0 draw and one point against the San Jose Earthquakes at Buck Shaw Stadium on Saturday.
The result moves Philadelphia (7-4-7) into a first-place deadlock atop the Eastern Conference with two matches in hand on the rival New York Red Bulls.
WATCH: Full match highlights
Though the Union back line played without Carlos Valdes (illness), who hadn’t missed a single minute all season, and the recently-traded Jordan Harvey, Philadelphia were composed all night holding San Jose (5-6-7) to just two shots on target. Stefani Miglioranzi was effective deputizing for Valdes, and Gabriel Farfan slid into the left back role previously occupied by Harvey.
Forward Carlos Ruiz (coach's decision - rest) and midfielder Veljko Paunovic (left knee contusion) also missed the road trip.
The majority of the first half was spent in the Earthquakes' end, but Philadelphia managed just one shot on goal in the opening 45.
Philadelphia nearly got on the board first in the fourth minute after Justin Mapp picked off an errant pass in the midfield and was fouled in the center of the pitch 27 yards from goal. With San Jose ’keeper Jon Busch battling a blinding setting sun, Kyle Nakazawa drove the free kick just wide of the mark.
San Jose countered in the 12th minute, when Simon Dawkins gathered a loose ball at the top of the box and, with a deft turn, curled a shot just wide left of goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon.
Danny Mwanga had two opportunities at the half hour mark to break the stalemate.
In the 29th minute, Mwanga unleashed a strong attempt from distance after turning just outside of the box, but Busch was up to the test, diving to his left to parry the shot aside.
Two minutes later, Mwanga was sent in on a partial break by a nifty through-ball from Keon Daniel. Mwanga beat Busch to the right with his first touch but the sprawling ’keeper was able to get a fingertip on the ball before Mwanga could get a clean shot on goal. The San Jose defense recovered to clear the line as the teams headed to the break scoreless.
After the intermission, the play began to open up as both teams looked to gain the upper hand.
It was Mwanga again with an opportunity in the 47th as Mapp, the most creative attacker for the Union before being replaced by Roger Torres in the 70th minute, hit the young striker six yards out. Mwanga's shot was blocked, and on the San Jose counter, Ryan Johnson lobbed a shot off the top of the crossbar, San Jose's best chance of the night.
Five minutes later, Mwanga broke free down the right side but was denied on a diving save by the alert Busch.
Off the ensuing corner, Sebastien Le Toux put a half volley on net but Busch was strong on the near post to deny the Frenchman, whose loan goal in 2011 came on a penalty kick against San Jose in the first meeting between the teams in April.
Pushing for the go-ahead score, Michael Farfan was stonewalled twice in the 73rd minute by a packed-in San Jose defense.
In the 84th minute, Le Toux nearly earned another penalty against San Jose, drawing a foul inches to the left of the box.
Nakazawa delivered a curling kick that deflected off the knee of Chris Wondolowski past a diving Busch, but the ball rang the iron and deflected harmlessly away off the far post.
Though the Union continued to dominate possession for the remainder of the match, they were unable to find a winner.
With their second clean sheet in four matches, the Union move to 2-4-3 on the road this year and extend their unbeaten streak to four matches.
Philadelphia have earned at least a point in four of their last five road matches (1-1-3), and Peter Nowak's side have earned a positive result in nine of ten overall.
The Union will finish their three-match road trip in New England next Sunday. The 7:00 p.m. match will air on Comcast SportsNet.
SJ -- Ryan Johnson (caution; Reckless Foul) 64
SJ -- Ramiro Corrales (caution; Dissent) 66
SJ -- Jason Hernandez (caution; Reckless Tackle) 89
Philadelphia Union -- Faryd Mondragon, Sheanon Williams, Danny Califf, Stefani Miglioranzi, Gabriel Farfan, Kyle Nakazawa, Brian Carroll, Justin Mapp (Roger Torres 70), Keon Daniel (Michael Farfan 58), Sebastien Le Toux, Danny Mwanga (Jack McInerney 79).
Substitutes Not Used: Juan Diego Gonzalez, Amobi Okugo, Zach Pfeffer, Zac MacMath.
San Jose Earthquakes -- Jon Busch, Chris Leitch, Bobby Burling, Jason Hernandez, Ramiro Corrales, Anthony Ampaipitakwong (Ellis McLoughlin 59), Brad Ring, Khari Stephenson, Ryan Johnson, Simon Dawkins (Rafael Baca 80), Chris Wondolowski.
Substitutes Not Used: Sam Cronin, Justin Morrow, Scott Sealy, Tim Ward, Andrew Weber.
Referee: Elias Bazakos
Referee's Assistants: George Gansner; Corey Parker
4th Official: Juan Guzman
Time of Game: 1:51
Weather: Sunny and 73 degrees