SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- After three games at their once all-but-impregnable fortress, the San Jose Earthquakes are still searching for their first victory of 2014.
After three games on the road, the Columbus Crew are still unblemished by defeat.
The Quakes and Crew continued their early-season trends Sunday, when Federico Higuain and Chris Wondolowski traded goals on either side of halftime and both teams hit the woodwork in the second half of a 1-1 tie.
Higuain scored his fourth goal of the season for Columbus (3-1-1, 10pts), turning home a neat grounded cross from Waylon Francis in the 44th minute. Wondolowski countered for San Jose (0-2-2, 2pts) with his third of 2014 in the 51st minute, heading home Shea Salinas’ corner kick.
Columbus created the best build-ups in a first half marked mostly by end-to-end counterattacks on both sides. Higuain finally cashed in one of those chances just before the half, slipping in unmarked while Hector Jimenez found Francis with a diagonal pass sliced across the field. Francis took the ball to the end line before delivering it for Higuain to slot home with his left foot from 12 yards.
San Jose nearly equalized in the 47th minute when Yannick Djalo, freshly inserted at the half, took a short corner and beat Steve Clark with a delicate chip that ricocheted off the back post and out.
The Quakes continued their pressure and did even the score on their fifth corner kick in the opening six minutes of the second half. Wondolowski ghosted in behind Victor Bernardez’s near-post run and deposited an easy header in the back of the net.
The Crew came close to taking all three points in the 82nd minute as Dominic Oduro, a menace for much of the day, nearly put Columbus in the lead with a left-footed effort that rang off the crossbar.
Wondolowski also came close to finding a winner in the 89th minute after being freed by a lead pass from Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi, but his shot tailed wide of the near post.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Federico Higuain||The guiding light of the Crew: All over the field marshalling the attack, although he can also finish things off as he expertly showed on the first-half goal.|
|2||Dominic Oduro||Deserved to be rewarded with a goal for a full match of tireless and selfless running, but the crossbar got in the way late in the game.|
|3||Yannick Djalo||He came on at halftime and was a significant quality upgrade for the Quakes who had threatened very little in the opening 45. Hit the post and gave the fans a sombrero to remember.|