The Sounders finally leveled their season mark (4-4-1) as well as picking up a clean sheet, but much of the credit the 2-0 victory Saturday night at the Clink fell to the visitors from San Jose, who misfired at close range multiple times.
The most egregious whiff came in the 85th minute when, trailing 1-0, Chris Wondolowski, who has scored more goals (nine) against Seattle than any other MLS player, had a penalty kick bang off the near post after GK Stefan Frei broke the wrong way.
Four minutes later, the Sounders’ Jordan Morris drained the tension when his shot from the top of the area went through the legs of a defender and blew past GK David Bingham — Morris’s fourth goal in four games, tying an MLS rookie record.
But the stunner was the miss by Wondolowski.
“It was crazy,” Morris said. “I don’t know if I’ve ever heard the stadium that loud when he missed it. I think we are due a little bit of luck there the first few game we were pretty unlucky in some aspects. He’s a great forward I’m sure he will put the next one away.
“We are just kind of lucky that he hit the post there.”
The Sounders took the lead in the 26th minute when they strung together three quick, short, lateral passes that left the ball at the right foot of Clint Dempsey, who scored easily from 12 yards. The goal was Dempsey’s second of the MLS season and first from the run of play. Morris and Erik Friberg, in his first start in almost two months since straining a knee, were credited with assists.
“We played some of our best soccer at times, but at other times we seemed in disarray,” said Sounders coach Sigi Schmid, who nevertheless was happy to have beaten a Western Conference team — only one of the Sounders’ 10 points entering the match came from a match with a West foe — and especially San Jose, which had a 5-5-1 record at the Clink and hadn’t lost in Seattle since May 2014. “I thought we did a good job playing through the lines tonight. I thought Erik Friberg had a positive impact on our game that way. I thought (Osvaldo) Alonso had good balls and found Clint in space. I thought Jordan did a good job with Clint in terms of dropping and going, so they were hard to pick up.”
The Earthquakes (4-3-3) missed two other great scoring opportunities.
Early on, Wondolowski had a one-on-one with Frei but lost control of the ball and never got off a shot. In the 59th minute, British import Simon Dawkins launched a booming PK from above the area and over the wall, for which Frei didn’t even move. But ball hit the crossbar and dropped almost straight down. An inch lower, and the game would have been tied.
The Sounders, who out-shot the Quakes 8-1, have won four in a row at home for the first time since 2014. They next play at 6 p.m. PT Saturday at Frisco, TX., against FC Dallas.
We were due for a good result against the Quakes, especially since we controlled the game (more than 10 corners?). Wondolowski scoring on that penalty would’ve been cruel. He does have success at letting the goalie make the first move and then going the opposite way, but hooked it just a bit too much.
Hope this encourages Morris to shoot immediately more instead of waiting. In the second half he took a few touches too many and ended up with bad passes or angles. E clinching goal was a simple case of let-er-rip.
It was also great to get a shutout, so the San Jose ultras in the crowd had to keep their shirts on. (They rip them off after the first Quakes goal, and keep them off until he final whistle, regardless of weather.) Seen too much bare skin from those guys in past games.
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The Air Jordan Victory Tour continues! Now we’re seeing the player that we heard so much about the past year. Not seeing the kind of connection with Dempey that Clint and Oba had but I’m thinking that will come. I forgot that Chad Barrett is with San Jose now. Didn’t realize it until his name was mentioned on the broadcast. Is it weird to say I hate seeing former Sounders playing on other teams?
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