By Erik Bartlett
SANTA CLARA- No Freddie Ljungberg? No problem.
After suffering a 1-0 at Quest Field to the Earthquakes earlier in the season, it was clear that the Seattle Sounders came to play and perform at a higher level against San Jose to the dismay of the 10,351, who witnessed a toothless effort by the home side.
“It was a massive game for us, and we just lay down and died, to be honest,” said Earthquakes Head Coach Frank Yallop. “Especially in the first half, it didn’t look like we had any cohesion at all”.
I couldn’t agree more.
Throughout the first half, Seattle did an excellent job maintaining possession while San Jose couldn’t get into any sort of rhythm, save for a few set piece opportunities. Forward Fredy Montero of Seattle, perhaps in the best individual form in MLS at the moment, particularly stood out from the onset, getting two quality shots on goal before finally putting one into the back of the net in the 26th minute. Montero has now scored a goal or recorded an assist in eight straight matches.
In the second half, the Earthquakes started to play with more cohesiveness, yet nothing could materialize. Yallop made the necessary adjustments and switched to a 3-5-2, however tonight simply wasn’t the Earthquakes night, and they were simply outplayed.
“The gap was pretty big between our midfield and our forwards,” said second half substitute Ryan Johnson. “A lot of times when I got the ball, it was like nobody was around me. We’ve got to relearn how to build the ball a little bit better.”
Going forward, this should be a valuable lesson for the young side, as they cannot have lapses as they had tonight going forward and possibly in the playoffs.
MAN OF THE MATCH:
SEATTLE: (Tie) Fredy Montero, Blaise N’kufo
Montero (photo) needs to be recognized for obvious reasons; the aforementioned streak of now eight games in a row with a goal or an assist, and scoring the lone goal of the match. However, Blaise N’kufo, recent designated player signing for Seattle stood out on the field tonight and showed tremendous form. N’kufo, lest we forget, scored against now world champions Spain while playing for Switzerland in the first round of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. He looks to be a tremendous signing for MLS and will have a strong impact going forward.
SAN JOSE: Bobby Convey
I know, I know—It seems that I’m always favoring Convey. But the reality is, as he has been throughout most of the season, he has been the heart and soul of the Earthquakes. The MLS all-star nearly had the equalizing goal in the 67th minute as he made an excellent run down the sideline, cut back, and ripped a shot that just barely went over the crossbar.
Earthquakes next game: Saturday August 7 at Colorado
How will San Jose respond to this loss? Will they get back to their winning ways on the road? This will be a critical match to right the ship and get back to playing good soccer.
As always, follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/Erik_Bartlett for up to date news on the San Jose Earthquakes