On a night in which the Crew honored goalscoring machine Brian McBride, there were none because Columbus goalkeepers — present and past — put on show in a 0-0 tie.
William Hesmer made five saves for the Crew (7-5-7, 28 points), who have four wins, two losses and a tie in their past seven games. Despite six saves by Jon Busch, the Earthquakes (5-6-8, 23) extended their winless streak to six games (0-2-4).
San Jose were blanked for the fifth time in six games while Hesmer recorded his second straight shutout and seventh of the season.
Hesmer made a leaping save to push a header by San Jose forward Chris Wondolowski over the crossbar. That play came a minute after Busch, who preceded Hesmer in Columbus, charged off the line to snuff an Andres Mendoza break, and in the 90th he stopped a bad angle try by Justin Meram.
Earlier in the match, Hesmer prevented the Earthquakes from taking the lead in the 61st minute when he denied Simon Dawkins after a high bouncer eluded Crew defender Chad Marshall at the top of the penalty area. The ball fell to Dawkins, who put it toward goal before Hesmer made a kick save with his left heel.
Both goalkeepers also came up big in the first half. Hesmer parried a rising 35-yarder from Dawkins in the 35th minute, and Busch came to the edge of the goal box to deny Robbie Rogers eight minutes later.
San Jose got the first crack of the match when Khari Stephenson stung a ball from 25 yards that pinged the right post only 62 seconds into the match.
Crew midfielder Emmanuel Ekpo, fresh off a suspension, dribbled and fired from 25 yards in the 18th minute but sent the ball skimming past the crossbar.
The teams combined to acquire four players and jettison three in separate deals with Toronto FC in the days prior to the match.
Only San Jose midfielder Jacob Peterson started. He went 62 minutes before being replaced by Rafael Baca.
The Earthquakes received him, forward Alan Gordon and defender Nana Attakora for forward Ryan Johnson, allocation money and an international player slot. Gordon was on the bench.
Columbus picked up midfielder Tony Tchani in exchange for defender Andy Iro and midfielder Leandre Griffit, but Tchani is out because of a left ankle injury. Iro and Griffit attended the game and sat next to the Nordecke supporters section wearing their jerseys from last season.
The Earthquakes have several Crew connections, starting with acting head coach Mark Watson, who was in charge as Frank Yallop served a one-game suspension for his red card during the match against Chivas USA last week.
Watson was a Crew teammate of McBride for the first half of the inaugural season of MLS until he was dealt to New England.
McBride was the Crew’s first inductee into the franchise’s Circle of Honor during a halftime ceremony when his name was placed on the west façade of the stadium.
Forward Steven Lenhart, who scored 13 goals in three seasons for Columbus, made his initial return to Crew Stadium after being traded for a draft pick in January. He sat the last match because of a suspension but was in the first XI against his old club. The other former Crew who started was defender Chris Leitch, who grew up in suburban Columbus.
There are quick turnarounds for both teams: the Crew play at LA while San Jose host Vancouver on Wednesday.
SJ – Steven Lenhart (caution: unsporting behavior) 16’
SJ – Brad Ring (caution: reckless challenge) 69’
SAN JOSE: Jon Busch – Chris Leitch, Jason Hernandez, Bobby Burling, Ramiro Corrales – Jacob Peterson (Rafael Baca, 62’), Brad Ring, Khari Stephenson, Simon Dawkins (Sam Cronin, 92+) - Chris Wondolowski, Steven Lenhart (Scott Sealy, 73’).
COLUMBUS: William Hesmer – Sebastian Miranda, Julius James, Chad Marshall, Josh Gardner – Rich Balchan, Eric Gehrig, Emmanuel Ekpo, Eddie Gaven (Justin Meram, 79’), Robbie Rogers, Bernardo Anor (Tommy Heinemann, 58’) – Andres Mendoza (Jeff Cunningham, 79’).
Referee: Jair Marrufo.
Referee's Assistants: C.J. Morgante; Corey Rockwell.
4th Official: Fotis Bazakos.
Weather: Sunny and 85 degrees.