NYCFC, the highest scoring team in MLS, couldn’t buy a goal Friday night in San Jose.
Forget knowing the way to San Jose, NYCFC couldn’t find their way to the back of the net Friday night, barely pulling off a scoreless draw against the San Jose Earthquakes at Avaya Stadium.
“Tonight was a tough match,” head coach Patrick Vieira said in his post-game presser. “I thought that San Jose made it difficult for us to play.
“They made it hard on us and I thought we tried to do some good things and create some chances but overall 0-0 was a fair result.”
In fact, a scoreless draw was a lucky result for the Celestes, who allowed a San Jose side that’s had trouble finishing opportunities to nearly find the back of the net on several occasions, putting pressure on the backline and goalkeeper Josh Saunders all night.
Quakes’ forward Chris Wondolowski missed on several chances at what probably should’ve been San Jose goals, but his shots went either just high or wide of the net.
Alberto Quintero had a shot kick-saved by Saunders and Anibal Godoy had several chances that were saved by Saunders or missed their target altogether.
“They worked really hard to make it difficult for us,” Vieira mentioned about San Jose’s attack. “They’ve got power; they’ve got pace up front. They made it really difficult for us and they closed us down well.
“It’s a really physical team and they make it difficult for us.”
The Quakes outshot NYCFC 19-10 and controlled possession 55-45 percent.
“Tonight was a tough match,” defender Jason Hernandez, making his first trip back to San Jose since he last played for them in 2014. “I thought San Jose made it difficult for us to play.
“That is kinda the motto of this franchise, they make it difficult for you and they worked their socks off for 90 minutes.”
The combo of David Villa, Frank Lampard and Jack Harrison were held to next to nothing on the night by the Quakes defensive backline.
Lampard had a shot saved by Bingham in the 30th minute and Steven Mendoza entered the game midway through the second half and missed a would-be goal and had a shot saved by Quakes’ keeper, David Bingham.
The key of the play was a slide tackle by Maxime Chanot on Wondolowski, preventing what would’ve been a walk-in goal.
Another timely stop.
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) August 6, 2016
Chanot earned his first start with NYCFC after a successful debut in the second half last Saturday against the Colorado Rapids.
“I am feeling good,” he said after the match. “We defended and worked hard during the last week with the coach. I think we did well tonight as a defense.”
NYCFC (10-7-7; 37 points) hold onto the top spot in the Eastern Conference after the draw, and will look to get back on the winning track at a struggling Columbus Crew side (3-8-10; 19 points) next Saturday.
The Celestes travel to Columbus undefeated in back-to-back matches, while the Quakes extend their undefeated streak to four matches in a row. However, they have won just once during the streak – 2-1 against Toronto FC on July 17.
After spending seven years with the second iteration of the San Jose Earthquakes, defender Jason Hernandez returned to San Jose for the first time since 2014.
— Stuart Berman (@QuakesFanStu) August 6, 2016
“It was a surreal experience,” Hernandez said. As a defender you do not really get many shouts for your name, but to be back here the supporters really showed me a lot of love and everyone that came out was yelling my name and saying hello.
“For me, it was one of the best experiences I’ve had on the soccer field. I am really thankful and grateful to them. It is an experience I will remember forever.”
Jason Hernandez, whose 165 appearances rank fifth all time for @SJEarthquakes, waved a nice hello to the Quakes’ supporters’ section.
— Geoff Lepper (@quakesbeat) August 6, 2016
The New Jersey native Hernandez played with the Quakes from 2008-2014 as he was signed by them in the 2007 MLS Expansion Draft from Chivas USA. He also played with the Quakes during their time at Buck Shaw Stadium at Santa Clara University.
Friday night was his first time playing in Avaya Stadium, the new home of the Earthquakes.
NYCFC selected him in the 2014 MLS Expansion Draft.