BY: Karen Watson

SEATTLE – It was a clean sweep for the visiting San Jose Earthquakes, dominating the Sounders in a 2-1 win and defeating them for the third time this season. The Earthquakes maintained their iron grip on the Western Conference top spot and moved eleven points clear of second place LA Galaxy. The loss dropped Seattle down into fourth with only one point separating them from second and third.

San Jose, who are league leaders with 62 goals on the season, went up early when midfielder Simon Dawkins fired from twenty five yards in the ninetieth second. Left unmarked, he seized the opportunity and left Sounders’ keeper Michael Gspurning empty handed.

But Seattle was able to quickly answer in the 14’ after Steve Zakuani buried the ball into the far corner off a fantastic cross from Sammy Ochoa that found him wide open.  The goal completed Zakuani’s comeback and was his first in seventeen months after being sidelined due to a broken leg.

Sounders coach Sigi Schmid fielded his 28th different line up in as many games with Sammy Ochoa sharing striker duties up front with Fredy Montero since Eddie Johnson was out due to accumulated yellow cards (six for the season). Team captain Mauro Rosales sat out his third straight match with a quad strain so Brad Evans and Christian Tiffert rounded out the midfield.

The score didn’t stay even for long as San Jose star Chirs Wondolowski scored his 22nd goal of the season in the 29’, finding a gap inside the box and simply knocking it in past Gspurning into the far left corner.  The opportunity came after Seattle’s poor clearance of a corner gave Victor Bernardez the chance to send the ball back into Wondolowski.

The numbers didn’t lie in the first half, San Jose out shooting Seattle eleven to three and dominating possession percentage. But they couldn’t maintain the frenetic pace for the full ninety minutes, giving the Rave Green chances for an equalizer. The Sounders had several chances in the second half including one from Ochoa in the 52’ but the ball hit the crossbar above a wide open net and then later in the 86’ from a Montero header that went just wide.

Jhon Kennedy Hurtado was subbed for Patrick Ianni in the 50’, who went off with a groin strain. David Estrada returned to MLS action in the 71’, his first game since recovering from a broken foot, and had a decent chance in extra time but just couldn’t get a good touch on the ball.

The equalizer just didn’t materialize for Seattle, ending their four game home win streak and leaving them still looking to secure a playoff spot.  The Sounders next play Vancouver away on September 29.

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