SANTA CLARA -- The trend continued Sunday night for the Earthquakes, who scored another home victory to keep their Major League Soccer playoff hopes on life support.

San Jose has been almost unbeatable at home this season with a 9-1-4 record after dispatching the Philadelphia Union 1-0 in front of an announced crowd of 10,034 at Buck Shaw Stadium.

The victory, though, only elevated the Quakes (10-11-7) into a seventh-place tie with the Vancouver Whitecaps, who come to town Saturday. With 37 points, San Jose still is five points out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference with six games remaining.

The Quakes entered the game a daunting eight points out of the final playoff spot in the West.

Unfortunately for a team that has just one road victory this season in all competitions, three of the final MLS matches are away.

At home they look transformed.

Such was the case Sunday when midfielder Shea Salinas spotlighted an almost flawless first half with a stunning goal in the 15th minute that held up as the game winner.

Sam Cronin served a ball deep into the penalty box, where Salinas corralled it when Union defender Sheanon Williams fell. Then Salinas, who had played sparingly in the past month because of a leg injury, volleyed the ball to himself before curling a shot just past goalkeeper Zac MacMath for his second goal of season.

"I was just trying to make contact with the ball," said Salinas, who gave Philadelphia defenders fits early on.

"Our mentality is to come out flying," he added.

But San Jose missed chance after chance clinging to the 1-0 lead when the drama increased in the 57th minute. Midfielder Rafael Baca got sent off after receiving his second yellow card of the game for a hard challenge on Conor Casey.

Baca and forward Steven Lenhart will be suspended for the Vancouver game. Lenhart got his sixth yellow card of the season, leading to a one-game suspension.

The Quakes probably should have had a two-goal lead, especially in the 64th minute when referee Fotis Bazakos appeared to miss a handball in the penalty box when a shot rolled off Brian Carroll's arm.

Philadelphia sensed it had momentum with rulings in its favor and pressured the Quakes to the end, including five minutes of extra time. San Jose players bent without breaking.

For example, Jon Busch saved Carroll's 20-yard rocket in the 88th minute. Busch had four saves to earn his fifth shutout of the season.

The stellar defensive effort came without starting center backs Victor Bernardez (Honduras) and Clarence Goodson (United States). The defenders are playing Tuesday in regional World Cup qualifying games for their respective countries.

Jason Hernandez and Justin Morrow ably filled in even when going a man down. The Union (10-9-9), fourth in the Eastern Conference, was shut out for the third time in four MLS games.

"We showed the depth of our team, especially the back line," Hernandez said.

Contact Elliott Almond at 408-920-5865 and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/elliottalmond.