SAN JOSE, Calif. — Chris Wondolowski will have to wait at least another week in his attempt to set the MLS goal scoring record because the San Jose Earthquakes and Colorado Rapids played to a scoreless draw Sunday afternoon.
The Earthquakes’ captain has 144 career MLS goals, one behind the record set by Landon Donovan, but he was unable to find the back of the net against a resolute Rapids defense.
“We made it too easy on them,” Wondolowski said. “It’s frustrating. … The play pretty deep, and we were able to keep possession, but our final passes were not even close.”
Quakes rookie goalkeeper JT Marcinkowski, who had given up an average of three goals a game in his first three starts, earned the shutout for San Jose, just the second clean sheet for the team’s defense in 2018.
“The pressure from the very beginning was all over them,” Marcinkowski said. “They did great, and I didn’t have to make any crazy saves, so it was a nice day at the office.”
The result was the first point for interim head coach Steve Ralston in five games in charge. He will be replaced by Matias Almeyda, the former Chivas de Guadalajara head coach, in the off-season. The long-time Quakes assistant will have one more chance to earn his first win in next week’s season finale.
“I wanted three,” Ralston said. “I wanted more than one point by this stage in these games. There were a few games where we played well enough to get points; tonight we deserved more than just the one.”
The Quakes entered the night on a six-game losing streak, but with Wondolowski the focus of the offense, they dictated the pace of the game against the Rapids. From the opening whistle, goalkeeper Tim Howard, Wondo’s U.S. Soccer teammate during the 2014 World Cup, and his defensive back four were under steady pressure from San Jose.
The near sellout announced crowd of 17,474 at Avaya Stadium hung on every touch of the ball by Wondolowski, as he was a constant presence inside the Rapids’ box. In the 38th minute, his well-struck shot from near the penalty spot had the strength to go in, but a valiant defensive effort deflected the ball from danger.
The teams reached halftime with the score 0-0, as the Quakes out shot the Rapids 11-4, but they couldn’t break down their defensive stand. The most promising opportunity for either side came on an Anibal Godoy attempt in the 45th minute that Howard grabbed for a comfortable save.
Wondo had a pair of chances in the 54th minute, as the captain found space at the top of the area in two consecutive possessions. His first shot was well over the target, almost landing in the stadium’s large outdoor bar, while the second was deflected wide for a corner kick.
In the 85th minute, Tommy Thompson delivered the perfect ball to Wondolowski, but the forward could not get off a clean shot, squandering the opportunity. It was his last good chance of the afternoon.
The game did see some Earthquakes history. Gilbert Fuentes made his MLS debut in the 89th minute. The 16-year-old midfielder became the youngest player ever to suit up for San Jose, younger than Omar Jasseh, who earned his first minutes at age 17 in 2010.
Wondolowski will have one more game left this season to challenge Donovan’s record, as the Earthquakes travel to Seattle next Sunday to face the Sounders in the season finale for both teams.