San Jose Earthquakes, Sporting K.C. play to 0-0 drawMercury News — Martin Gallegos Mercury News
June 18--SAN JOSE -- Goalkeeper David Bingham had to sit on allowing a total of six goals to roll by him in the final two games before the international break for two weeks. In Saturday's match against Sporting Kansas City, he redeemed himself in a big way.
Graham Zusi was looking to steal three points on the road when he broke away for an open shot in extra time. It was going to require a superb save to keep the game tied, and Bingham did just that. He dove to his right and kept the ball from finding the back of the net to preserve a point in a scoreless draw.
"He saved the game for us," Quakes midfielder Andres Imperiale said. "Thank god he made (the save) and we got that point."
Bingham's name was left off the preliminary U.S. national team roster that was announced earlier this week for the upcoming Gold Cup, but coach Dominic Kinnear said the Cal-Berkeley product has not allowed the exclusion to affect his play on the field.
"It's a credit to his concentration," Kinnear said. "He's always ready and he made a tremendous save."
Bingham admitted that he was disappointed in not being able to represent his team in the upcoming international tournament, but he knows that if he can continue to shut teams out and make spectacular saves like the one on Saturday night, he could find himself wearing the red, white and blue again soon.
"At the end of the day I want to play 34 consecutive games for the Earthquakes. That's what gets you to the national team," Bingham said. "There's no point to sit around and pout about not making it. My goal is to play all 34 games and hopefully get a look again."
When facing a defensive juggernaut like Sporting Kansas City, which came into the match having allowed a league-low 11 goals on the season, goals are going to be at a premium.
Whatever scant opportunity to score must be taken advantage of, and the Earthquakes (5-6-5, 20 points) were unable to do so. Still, a scoreless draw to earn a point at home is an outcome that they will gladly take against the top team in the Western Conference.
"You always want more," Kinnear said. "But maybe later on tonight when I sit back and think about I'll say, 'OK. That wasn't so bad.'"
Kansas City's defense was as good as advertised as it suffocated the Quakes offense, managing to not allow a single shot in the first half. The first shot from the San Jose side did not come until the 52nd minute, a shot from well beyond the box by Jahmir Hyka right to the hands of goalkeeper Tim Melia for an easy block.
After Hyka finally recorded a shot, the chances became a little more hopeful for the Quakes.
Jackson Yueill, who replaced Tommy Thompson in the 75th minute to make his MLS debut after scoring a goal in Wednesday's2-0 U.S. Open Cup victory over the San Francisco Deltas, was presented with a golden opportunity in the 81st minute. Yueill had a direct line to the goal, but improper footing caused a weak shot for another easy save from Melia.
Despite the missed chance, Kinnear was impressed with the rookie's passing skills and overall play for a second game in a row in the span of a week.
"He's been good. He's a good soccer player. The timing of the sub was good because the game kind of slowed down, and he's a good passer of the ball. We saw that today," Kinnear said. "The great thing was that he was confident coming onto the field. I don't think he hid from the ball. That's what we needed in there today. I think the more minutes he gets, the better he's going to get."
Chris Wondolowski also had a chance from inside the penalty area with a chopping shot on goal in the 85th minute, but a nice stop by Melia kept the Quakes off the scoreboard.
Disaster was narrowly avoided for the Quakes in the third minute when a free kick from Roger Espinoza floated over everybody's head and bounced off the post before David Bingham successfully cleared it out.
Down two regular starters in Florian Jungwirth, who was out with an ankle injury, and Marco Ureña, who was serving a one-game suspension, the Quakes relied on players like the veteran Imperiale to keep the defense afloat. Though it was his first start of the season, Imperiale said he felt comfortable out on the pitch and hopes to get more opportunities to contribute.
"It was a tough game. We didn't play our best. We didn't clear a lot of chances, but we played against the best team in the league," Imperiale said. "We have to move on. We have two games ahead at home and we have to collect points because we need to step up in the standings."
Kansas City posted its first road shutout since April 15th.
The Quakes continue their current homestand on Saturday when they welcome Real Salt Lake. Marco Ureña will be eligible to return from his one-game suspension that was earned after violent conduct during the club's loss at Portland on June 2.
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