Though both sides pushed for a winner in the game’s final minutes, nothing could separate the San Jose Earthquakes and Real Salt Lake on Saturday night, with the teams playing to a 1-1 draw at Buck Shaw Stadium.
Sam Cronin put the Quakes ahead after a quarter hour, finishing off a Chris Wondolowski lay off to put the hosts up 1-0. Javier Morales pulled RSL level 20 minutes later, slotting a penalty kick past Jon Busch to make it 1-1.
The result moved RSL (11-5-10, 43 points) into third place in the Western Conference, pulling the Claret-and-Cobalt one point ahead of fourth place FC Dallas. San Jose (6-10-8, 26 points) remains in ninth in the West, eight points behind the Portland Timbers for the fifth and final playoff spot.
Cronin put the Quakes up in the 15th minute. Wondolowski made the play, nicking the ball off of USMNT World Cup teammate Kyle Beckerman just outside the area before driving into the left side of the box. Wondolowski smartly laid the ball back to Cronin, who ran onto it and smashed a left-footer inside the far post from 15 yards for his second goal in as many matches.
Wondolowski nearly made it 2-0 in the 19th, when he ran onto a Tommy Thompson knockdown just outside the box and fired a volley just wide of the left post.
Real Salt Lake equalized in the 36th, with Morales sending Busch the wrong way on his penalty kick to pull the Claret-and-Cobalt level. Olmes Garcia earned the PK, with referee David Gantar pointing to the spot after judging Jason Hernandez to have fouled Garcia following an Abdoulie Mansally cross.
The sides traded good chances late in the half. RSL had a good look in the 42nd, when Luke Mulholland missed the target after Garcia picked him out in the center of the area. San Jose’s Atiba Harris was cruelly denied by RSL ‘keeper Nick Rimando a minute later, with the MLS shutout king reaching behind him to paw Harris’ low shot off the line.
Both teams pushed for a winner in the second half, but neither side came very close to finding a decisive goal. RSL will return to action on Saturday, when they’ll host Dallas at Rio Tinto Stadium. San Jose will hit the road next week, traveling north to take on the Portland Timbers at Providence Park on Sunday.