Earthquakes earn point in scoreless draw with FC Dallas

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Earthquakes earn point in scoreless draw with FC Dallas

The San Jose Earthquakes survived an off-night on offense and a red card ejection to captain Ramiro Corrales late in the second half to earn a point at FC Dallas with a 0-0 draw.

Chris Wondolowski had the best scoring chances for the Earthquakes -- a first half shot was cleared off the goal line by Dallas defender Hernan Pertuz and a second half shot was corralled by a grateful keeper Kevin Hartman.

Meanwhile, on the defensive side of the ball, Jason Hernandez made the play of the game saving a goal off an attempt by midfielder Fabian Castillo.

With the scoreless draw, FC Dallas pushed their winless streak to 13 games. For the Earthquakes defense and goalkeeper Jon Busch, the 0-0 result was their first clean sheet since the end of March.

Neither team registered a shot on goal until a half-hour into the match, when FC Dallas midfielder Castillo latched onto a spilled shot from goalkeeper Busch and fired at the target. In position to support his keeper, defender Hernandez had Castillos shot deflect off his leg while he lay prone in the area.

The Earthquakes had their best chance to open the scoring at the 36th minute mark of the first half when a long ball to Wondolowski gave the forward room to round defender Pertuz. The MLS goal scoring leader sent a chipped shot over onrushing goalkeeper Hartman, but Pertuz recovered to just clear the ball off the line.

As the match approached half time, the Earthquakes again had a great opportunity to score. After some sustained possession, defender Steven Beitashour sent a ball down the right sideline for Marvin Chavez to collect deep in Dallas territory. Chavez did well to shake defender Carlos Rodriguez and carry the ball into the area where he elected to pull the ball back into the path of Beitashour. The right backs one-touch shot was over hit, and the ball cleared Hartmans crossbar.

On a corner kick in the 58th minute, Earthquakes captain Corrales met Chavezs delivery near the far post and shot the ball past Hartman and toward the near post. Instead of registering his first goal of 2012, Corrales could only watch as Dallas defender Rodriguez deflected the bar to safety before it could cross the goal line.

The match appeared to turn in favor of the home side in the 80th minute after team captain Corrales was shown his second yellow card in less than 3 minutes. The Earthquakes brought in Khari Stephenson for Alan Gordon to beef up the midfield and settled into a more defensive formation.

Despite being a man down, the Earthquakes almost struck for a goal on a breakaway in the 84th minute as second half substitute Shea Salinas carried the ball down the right side behind the Dallas defense. Just as Salinas was readying a square pass to Wondolowski in the center of the area, defender Matt Hedges got the slightest of touches to the ball and Hartman punched the ball away.

In the 87th minute, a clever long pass from Sam Cronin found Wondolowski lurking behind the Dallas back line. The forward carried the ball into the area and sent a shot toward the far post. Hartman doing enough to slow the shot, recovered to collect the ball before it could trickle over the goal line.

The Earthquakes survived a late push by FC Dallas through 3 minutes of stoppage time and secured a scoreless draw. The point pushed their 2012 road record to 6-3-2 and their season points total to 37. The Earthquakes return to San Jose for their next match next Saturday against Real Salt Lake at Buck Shaw Stadium.

Robert Jonas covers the Earthquakes for CSNBayArea.com. Follow him on Twitter @robertjonas.

Dempsey hat trick lifts US over Honduras in statement win

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AP

Dempsey hat trick lifts US over Honduras in statement win

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE — Bruce Arena's return as U.S. coach reignited American confidence, and his players responded with an emphatic rebound in World Cup qualifying.

Clint Dempsey returned from an irregular heartbeat to score his second international hat trick, 18-year-old phenom Christian Pulisic had one goal and set up three others, and the U.S. routed Honduras 6-0 Friday night to get right back in contention for an eighth straight World Cup berth.

Surprise starter Sebastian Lletget got his first international goal in the fifth minute after Pulisic's shot deflected off the goalkeeper, Michael Bradley doubled the lead in the 27th and Dempsey scored off Pulisic's perfectly weighted chip in the 32nd.

Finding room to maneuver in a central midfield role, Pulisic made it 4-0 just 12 seconds into the second half with his fourth international goal, Dempsey rounded the keeper to score following a Pulisic feed in the 49th, and Dempsey got another on a 23-yard free kick in the 54th. With 55 international goals, Dempsey moved within two of Landon Donovan's American record.

In its first competitive match since Arena replaced Jurgen Klinsmann, the U.S. moved from last to fourth in the final round of the North and Central American and Caribbean region, tied at three points with Honduras but ahead on goal difference, Mexico leads with seven points, followed by Costa Rica with six and Panama with four.

The top three nations qualify for next year's tournament in Russia, and the fourth-place nation advances to a playoff. With a victory at Panama on Tuesday, the Americans could move into the top three.

The U.S. had never before won a hexagonal game by more than three goals.

And oh how the American Outlaws and others among the lively home crowd loved every second of this long-awaited showing, chanting "Michael Bradley!" and "Demp-sey! Demp-sey!" through the Bay Area rain and cool March air.

Then, it was "Bruce Arena! Bruce Arena!"

Gloom descended upon the Americans in November when they opened the hexagonal with a 2-1 home loss to Mexico and a 4-0 wipeout at Costa Rica. The defeats caused the U.S. Soccer Federation to fire Klinsmann, who had coached the Americans since 2011, and bring back Arena, who lead the team from 1998-2006.

Dempsey, 34 and hoping to reach a fourth World Cup, was sidelined from August until this month by an irregular heartbeat and likely was starting only because of injuries to Bobby Wood and Jordan Morris. Tim Howard, the Americans' 38-year-old goalkeeper, got the shutout after returning only two weeks ago from a leg injury sustained in the loss to Mexico.

Geoff Cameron, back from a knee strain that had sidelined him for fourth months, was shifted to right back from central defense because of injuries to others, and Jorge Villafana was inserted on the left.

But there were yet more injuries. Lletget hurt his left ankle on Ever Alvarado's tackle and was replaced in the 18th minute, and defender John Brooks was stretchered off the field, hand over his face, in the 69th due to dehydration.

From the opening whistle, the U.S. played more aggressively than in the latter years of Klinsmann's reign. Arena revamped the midfield, giving a prominent role to Pulisic, who last week became the youngest American to score in the Champions League. He inserted Lletget and Nagbe, who were largely overlooked by Klinsmann last year, on the flanks.

The U.S. went ahead when Jozy Altidore picked up a loose ball and on his second try poked the ball ahead to Pulisic. His left-footed shot that went off goalkeeper Donis Escobar, and Lletget tapped in the ball with his right foot from 2 yards.

Bradley, given his debut by Arena in 2006, doubled the lead when he took a pass from Alejando Bedoya, cut to his left, took four touches and cut the ball back to beat Escobar with one-hopper from about 25 yards.

Showing poise beyond his years, Pulisic created the third goal when he lofted a pass to Dempsey, who allowed the ball of bounce off his right shoulder. Dempsey held off Henry Figueroa and while falling scored with his right foot from 8 yards.

What they’re saying: Let’s go USMNT against Honduras

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USATSI

What they’re saying: Let’s go USMNT against Honduras

The United States Men's National Team faces a critical match against Honduras. 

With an 0-2 record, and currently in last place, the USMNT is on the brink of not qualifying for the 2018 World Cup.

Motivation across the sports world is pouring in for the Red, White and Blue.