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Saturday, July 7, 2012

San Jose Earthquakes tie FC Dallas 0-0 - San Jose Mercury News

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FRISCO, TX - JULY 7: Jason Hernandez #21 and Jon Busch #18 of San Jose Earthquakes defend and block a shot by Brek Shea #20 of FC Dallas at FC Dallas Stadium on July 7, 2012 in Frisco, Texas. (Photo by Rick Yeatts/Getty Images)

FRISCO, Texas -- The slimmest of margins kept the Earthquakes from a victory on the road.

As in, perhaps a couple of inches.

The MLS Western Conference leaders missed on four virtually can't-miss scoring chances -- two of them coming while playing a man short -- and settled for a 0-0 tie against last-place FC Dallas on Saturday night at FC Dallas Stadium.

Striker Chris Wondolowski, the MLS scoring leader with 14 goals, was denied twice in one-on-one situations with Dallas goalkeeper Kevin Hartman. The second time came in the final minutes, after Quakes captain Ramiro Corrales was sent off for a second yellow card in the 80th minute.

Corrales' red card was the first for the Earthquakes this season.

Quakes keeper Jon Busch, returning to the lineup after missing Tuesday's loss at Portland because of a corneal abrasion in his left eye, made three saves for his fourth shutout.

The Quakes (11-4-4) were shut out for only the second time this season, the first since a 1-0 loss to Houston in the second game of the season, on March 17.

As has become their habit, the Quakes started slowly on offense, but they did put up the only serious scoring threat of the first half.

Indeed, Wondolowski came mere inches from giving his club a halftime lead for the first time since May 2 -- a span of 13 games in all competitions -- when he blew past Dallas defender Hernan Pertuz on the left side and chipped a tantalizingly soft

shot over Hartman that seemed destined for the net.

But Pertuz never stopped running, racing into the goal and clearing the ball just in time to prevent the score.

Dallas (3-9-7) needed similar heroics to stop an Earthquakes goal early in the second half.

In the 58th minute, a redirected corner kick by midfielder Ramiro Corrales slipped past Hartman, only to be knocked away at the last moment by Dallas defender Carlos Rodriguez.

After Ramirez was ejected following a hard foul against Rodriguez, the Earthquakes managed two counterattack breakaways as Dallas threw everything into the attack -- Dallas outshot San Jose 14-9 for the game and 8-4 in the second half.

The first one, in which Shea Salinas and Wondolowski broke into the clear with no defenders between them and the goal, was thwarted by rookie center back Matt Hedges, who ran down Salinas and got a foot on the midfielder's shot. That was enough to allow Hartman to punch it away in the 83rd minute.

Four minutes later, Wondolowski got past the defense and fired, only to watch Hartman make a sparkling stop.

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