By Elliot Sangara.
In a gritty showdown on Saturday night, the San Jose Earthquakes managed to weather the storm despite Tanner Beason’s late ejection and relentless second-half pressure from D.C. United, ultimately securing a hard-fought 0-0 draw.
The San Jose goalkeeper emerged as the hero of the night, making an impressive eight saves that not only preserved a second consecutive draw for his side but also marked their fourth clean sheet in their last five away matches.
San Jose (9-9-10, 37 points) squandered an opportunity to leapfrog Vancouver in the Western Conference standings.
The Quakes’ defensive duo, Daniel Munie and Rodrigues, came to the rescue with crucial goal-line clearances, salvaging a point that could prove invaluable in the tight playoff race.
Meanwhile, Alex Bono, between the posts for DC United, made two crucial stops to secure his second consecutive clean sheet. However, D.C. United (9-12-7, 34 points) failed to secure their first back-to-back home victories this season in MLS action, remaining entrenched in the ninth spot in the Eastern Conference.
Mateusz Klich and Christian Benteke posed the most significant threats for D.C., with the potential to ascend above eighth-place Montreal with a victory. Yet, it wasn’t to be.
The dramatic climax arrived in the 89th minute when Beason received his marching orders for a foul on Ted Ku-DiPietro, denying an obvious goal-scoring opportunity. Referee Tori Penso’s decision to upgrade the yellow card to a red card after a video review set the stage for a nervy conclusion, including Munie’s last-gasp clearance to deny Erik Hurtado.
Gabriel Priani appeared to break the deadlock in the 53rd minute with a clever finish, but it was chalked off for offside after consulting the VAR.
Klich nearly found the back of the net in the 70th minute with a powerful long-range strike, only for Daniel, the Earthquake goalkeeper, to stretch and make a sprawling save to preserve the clean sheet.
Five minutes later, it was Benteke’s turn to test the Quakes’ resolve. His headed effort looked destined for the net, but it met a combination of the crossbar and the shoulder of Brazilian center-back Rodrigues on the goal line.
With influential midfielder Carlos Gruezo unavailable due to international commitments, Quakes manager Luchi Gonzalez rolled the dice with an unexpected 3-4-1-2 formation.
Perhaps surprisingly, this tactical shift appeared to give the visitors the upper hand in the first half, with San Jose proving the more threatening side.
Notably, Jeremy Ebobisse came agonizingly close to breaking the deadlock, forcing Bono into a point-blank save midway through the opening period following a turnover by D.C. In a match defined by resilience and moments of brilliance from both sides, the final score reflected the hard-fought battle on the field.