San Jose Midfielder Shea Salina’s found a wide open Chris Wondolowski at midfield and the USNMT player gathered the ball, turned and dropped a dime pass that found a speeding Yannick Djalo who’s right footed touch pass froze Seattle Goal keeper Stefan Frei and found the back of the net.
The wonder goal would be all San Jose needed to record it’s first ever victory in Levi Stadium and send the 48,765 fans home on a celebratory note. The match between Sounders FC and San Jose was the first major sporting event in Levi Stadium, new home of the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers and the Earthquakes.
The win over the Sounders FC gives the Earthquakes a season best three games without a defeat. For Seattle the loss will test the teams character and belief in each other. While they have two games in hand, Sounders FC are now in second place in the race for the Supporters Shield.
“ I am always confident about our team and our abilities, it’s about streaks and hitting them at the right time, Midfielder Brad Evans said after Saturday’s game. “ We take one game at a time and learn from our mistakes.”
If Sounders FC are to regain their winning swagger, they will need to improve their defensive marking and finish in the offensive third of the field. The loss of Center Back Chad Marshall due to back spasm the last two games has caused defenders to think first when marking opponents and that split second hesitation has cost the Sounders FC in there last two games. Less thinking and more reacting will result in closing down opponents in the defensive half of the field.
The same might be said on the offensive end of the field. Less thinking and more reacting will lead to execution and finishing. In the game against San Jose,Sounders FC had fantastic opportunities to equalize in the 68-minute, 79minute and 85 minute but as has been the norm lately, the chances went wanting.
Offensively the Sounders are not putting the ball in the back of the opponents net.Injuries and plain hard luck are partly to blame for the goal drought. Wide out Lamar Neagele’s ankle injury has hampered the speed of Seattle’s attack.
Forwards Clint Dempsey, Obefami Martins are making the space clearing runs for each other and getting looks at goal, while midfielders, Brad Evans ,Osavaldo Alonso, Marco Pappa and Gonzalo Pineda are making intelligent decisions and cleverly distributing the ball in the middle of the field, the end result has been disappointing for MLS top offense.
SEA - Yannick Djalo (Chris Wondolowski) 42
Seattle Sounders FC - Stefan Frei; DeAndre Yedlin, Zach Scott, Jalil Anibaba, Leo Gonzalez (Chad Barrett 83); Brad Evans, Osvaldo Alonso, Gonzalo Pineda, Marco Pappa (Kenny Cooper 65); Clint Dempsey, Obafemi Martins.
Substitutes Not Used: Josh Ford, Djimi Traore, Dylan Remick, Andy Rose, Micheal Azira.
TOTAL SHOTS: 19 (Dempsey 7); SHOTS ON GOAL: 9 (Dempsey 3); FOULS: 12 (Yedlin 4); OFFSIDE: 0; CORNER KICKS: 9 (Pineda 8); SAVES: 3 (Frei 3).
San Jose Earthquakes - Jon Busch; Shaun Francis, Victor Bernardez, Jason Hernandez, Jordan Stewart; Atiba Harris, Sam Cronin, Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi, Shea Salinas (Cordell Cato 87); Yannick Djalo (Khari Stephenson 66), Chris Wondolowski.
Substitutes Not Used: Bryan Meredith, Ty Harden, Brandon Barklage, Alan Gordon, Tommy Thomposon.
TOTAL SHOTS: 13 (Djalo, Salinas 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 4 (Salinas 2); FOULS: 16 (Harris 4); OFFSIDE: 2 (Harris, Wondolowski 1); CORNER KICKS: 3 (Salinas 3); SAVES: 8 (Busch 8).