BY: Karen Watson
SEATTLE – Sounders coach Sigi Schmid’s post match comment said it all. “It just wouldn’t fall for us today.” A first half penalty kick was all the visiting San Jose Earthquakes needed to serve Seattle with a 1-0 shut out and their first MLS loss of the season.
San Jose’s line up was fronted by the dangerous duo of Steven Lenhart and Chris Wondolowski, 2010 Golden Boot winner and last year’s runner up with sixteen goals. And they were definitely thorns in the side of the Seattle defense tonight, absolutely swarming the goal and winning duels.
The goal came in the 24’ when referee Mark Kadlecik awarded a penalty kick to the Earthquakes after Sounders defender Marc Burch got into a scuffle with Lenhar. Wondolowski was there with the easy conversion, strolling up to the ball like he was taking a walk in the park and then casually firing it right past Seattle goalkeeper Michael Gspurning.
San Jose continued to keep the Sounders on their heels throughout the first half, dominating possession and keeping up the pressure. While the visitors displayed crisp precise passing, once again Seattle showed a lack of ball control that only helped the Earthquakes in their efforts. Schmid said, “More us not holding the ball. We talked about it at halftime, keeping the ball, especially in their end of the field.”
The Sounders had several chances throughout the match, eighteen total attempts but only six on target, with probably their best chance in the 70’. Fredy Montero took an off balance shot that San Jose goalkeeper Jon Busch punched away, but Zach Scott was there to pick up the deflection sending in a roller that was also cleared by Busch.
Montero was also unlucky in the 11’ right in front of goal about seven yards out, heading it over the bar. But he wasn’t the only one unlucky in front of goal tonight – David Estrada had chances in the 35’, headed wide left, and again in the 77’. Second half sub Alex Caskey sent the ball over the bar in the 88’ and Osvaldo Alonso fired one off from twenty yards out in the 89’. As Schmid summed up, “Sometimes games go like that a little bit. I didn’t think our first half was outstanding. But I thought we did better in the second half.”
The Sounders had sporadic moments of great play but started to look more and more scattered as time wore down. Displays of temper where also in evidence as frustration mounted and the cards were flying out of Kadlecik’s pocket with a match total of twenty seven fouls combined. “When you look at their two big forwards, Lenhart and Gordon, they committed seven fouls between the two of them. That’s a ton of fouls for that position.” Schmid commented after the game.
Seattle next play DC United away on April 7.