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Quakes, Whitecaps play to draw

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POSTED September 16, 2013 12:39 a.m.

SANTA CLARA  (AP) — The San Jose Earthquakes and Vancouver Whitecaps played to a 0-0 draw Saturday night, damaging both teams’ hopes of getting back into the Western Conference playoff picture.

The clubs remain tied for seventh place in the West with 38 points each, five behind fifth-place Portland, which currently holds the conference’s final postseason berth.

San Jose extended its home unbeaten streak to 14 matches, but the Earthquakes (10-11-8) snapped six-game home winning streak.

Vancouver (10-10-8) continued its recent slide, dropping to 1-5-3 in its last nine matches despite the return of captain Jay DeMerit. DeMerit, who blew out his left Achilles’ tendon 8 minutes into Vancouver’s season opener, capped a 6½-month recovery from the injury by replacing injured center back Brad Rusin in the 31st minute.

San Jose defender Clarence Goodson missed the game’s best chance, skying a shot from 4 yards in the 19th minute after Vancouver goalkeeper David Ousted could only parry a header by Alan Gordon from the Earthquakes’ first corner kick.

Both sides had chances in the final minutes. San Jose nearly tallied through an own goal when DeMerit’s redirection of Marvin Chavez’s free kick caromed off the back post in the 87th minute.

Chris Wondolowski’s shot from inside Vancouver’s penalty box in stoppage time was snuffed out by Whitecaps defenders.

Gordon couldn’t uncork a left-footed volley on Wondolowski’s headed pass just seconds before the final whistle.

For Vancouver, substitute Darren Mattocks almost stole the game in the first minute of stoppage time when he snatched up a missed clearance in San Jose’s third and shot from the top of the penalty area. The right-footed drive went just wide to Mattocks’ left.

Wondolowski had another chance in the 61st minute. However, his reaching toe-poke redirection of Sam Cronin’s long free kick went straight to Ousted.

Earthquakes midfielder Cordell Cato made a sprinting, 55th-minute run down the right wing and delivered a cross to Wondolowski in the box, but the reigning MVP’s header was smothered by Vancouver defender Carlyle Mitchell.

Kenny Miller generated Vancouver’s best chance of the first half, skinning Quakes center back Victor Bernardez at the end line in the 45th minute. San Jose goalkeeper Jon Busch turned aside the first shot, and Miller couldn’t put the rebound on goal.

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