One game, 100 words (or less): The game seemed to set up perfectly for one of the late Dempsey-Martins-fueled explosions that defined Seattle’s spring, but aside from a Chad Barrett chance, a Gonzalo Pineda free kick, and some typical late-match drama, that explosion never happened. Though Seattle improved on its Monday performance, the Sounders were again kept off the board, with a late first half goal from San Jose’s Yannick Djaló delivering a 1-0 win in front of over 45,000 at Levi’s Stadium.
San Jose: Djaló 42′
Three moments that mattered:
42′ – Chipped right in – Toward the end of a half that had only featured three shots on target, San Jose got their match-winner, thanks in large part to Chris Wondolowski. Lifting a perfect pass over defender Zach Scott, “Wondo” sent Djaló in alone on goal, with Stefan Frei doing little to stop the game’s only goal from rolling into his abandoned goal.
79′ – Pineda’s bullet – Speaking post-match, San Jose goalkeeper Jon Busch said the kick got a piece of the wall, not that that piece slowed it down. With a left-footed bullet for around 34 yards out, Gonzalo Pineda tempted Busch to spill the ball in front of goal. The Earthquakes keeper, up to the challenge, pushed it over and out.
85′ – Chris Wondolowski, again – “Wondo” was responsible for the two biggest plays of the night, the second of which came at the defensive end. On a late corner from Pinedo, Chad Barrett redirected a header just inside Busch’s right post. Unfortunately for the Sounders, Wondolowski was right there, with his clearance preserving a 1-0 win.
San Jose: Jon Busch; Shaun Francis, Victor Bernárdez, Jason Hernandez, Jordan Stewart; Atiba Haris, Sam Cronin, Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi, Shea Salinas (Cordell Cato 87′); Yannick Djaló (Khari Stephenson 65′); Chris Wondolowski
Seattle: Stefan Frei; DeAndre Yedlin, Jalil Anibaba, Zach Scott, Leo Gonzalez (Chad Barrett 83′); Brad Evans, Osvaldo Alsono, Gonzalo Pineda, Marco Pappa (Kenny Cooper 65′); Clint Dempsey, Obafemi Martins
Three lessons going forward
1. We can forget collapse – Hey, after last season, you can’t blame people for wondering if Seattle was going to free fall again (I think we’ve mentioned this one or 50 times in the last week). Tonight, they were fine. They weren’t run away with the Supporters’ Shield fine, but they weren’t Seattle circa Oct. 2013, either.
2. The West is pretty tough – The Sounders didn’t play their best, but they generated a number of chances, and as you saw the urgency pick up in the second half, the Seattle that was able to orchestrate a number of early season comebacks started to come through. The only problem: They were up against a decent team, even if the Western Conference standings say otherwise.
San Jose isn’t going to win any silverware this season, but if what we saw tonight is (was) the last place team in the West, it says a little something about the strength of the conference.
3. More encouraging signs for San Jose, the market – For the second time this season, the Earthquakes drew huge numbers to a game, only this time, it wasn’t for the annual showcase against the Galaxy. Granted, there was something unique about playing at Levi’s Stadium, but the hints of San Jose’s potential were still there. Forty thousand need not be a once-a-year thing in the Bay, anymore.
Where this leaves them:
- Not in last place! Though San Jose is even with Chivas on points, the tiebreakers go in the team’s favor. They’re now eighth in the Western Conference.
- Seattle’s lead in the West has been cut to one, and they’re trailing Sporting KC in the Supporters’ Shield chase, but while fans can comfort themselves with a favorable games played column, the reality of a two-game losing streak is defined by doubts.