Categorized | MLS Match Reports

Shaky Sounders Fall 1-0 to San Jose Earthquakes

Posted on 01 April 2012 by Kyle Alm

Just as the sun began to make an appearance in the gray Spring sky just in time to dip below the Olympic Mountains across Puget Sound, the Seattle Sounders & San Jose Earthquakes were kicking off at CenturyLink Field in front of 38,301 fans.

Seattle looked to be the aggressor early, controlling possession and getting up the flanks. Christian Sivebaek made a memorable long driving run up the right flank punctuated with a heel turn in the box that lost his marker and but his cross could not find a teammate at the other end.

Osvaldo Alonso received a caution in the 6th minute from Referee Mark Kalecik for a reckless tackle on Marvin Chavez that drew nothing but shin. Alonso was a pivotal figure in this match for all of his usual reasons, disrupting play, intercepting passes, challenging for possession, and distribution of the ball unfortunately he drew a lot of attention for his rough play. Servando Carrasco, filling in for Brad Evans, looked a bit lost at times, didn’t contribute a whole lot to the effort and got in the way of Alonso.

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Steven Lenhart & Chris Wondolowski were marked ably by Jhon Kennedy Hurtado & Patrick Ianni in the beginning of the first half, two physical strikers with two physical center backs. Lenhart & Wondolowski have victimized Sounders defenses in the past and were up to their old tricks as the game wore on.

11th minute, Alonso crosses the ball into the box for Montero who was centered in front of the six yard box was unable to keep his header below the bar. Sounders best chance of the night came early.

Lenhart, in the 17th minute, did very well to get a touch on a cross from Steven Beitashour near the far post of the goal. Wondolowski was in the box prepared to pounce on any ball knocked back towards goal. Michael Gspurning was able to beat the San Jose striker to the ball, knock it down and cover it up.

Lenhart, 21st minute, abuses Hurtado, out-muscling him. Hurtado loses sight of the ball, attempts an awkward tackle on Lenhart, who stayed on his feet. To his credit, it would have been a likely penalty had he gone down.

22nd minute, Marc Burch trips Steven Lenhart in the box away from the ball before a corner kick. An completely unnecessary foul, albeit a somewhat weak one, there is always the possibility that the referee was making up for the Hurtado tackle a minute earlier. Coach Sigi Schmid thought that Lenhart had initiated contact, there was rampant speculation (in the press box) that it was a make up call for Hurtado’s awkward tackle earlier.

Wondolowski converted the PK easily to make it 1-0 in the 24th minute. It would prove to be all that San Jose needed.

There were a few changes for both sides at the half: Hurtado sustained a pelvic injury and made way for Jeff Parke; Ramrio Corrales, who suffered a harsh foul earlier in the half, for Jason Hernandez.

Sammy Ochoa was brought on for Sivebaek and shifted Estrada to the right wing at the 62nd  minute, there was no noticeable improvement in the offense. Sivebaek was having a quiet half compared to his first half.

Lenhart was subbed off for Alan Gordon in the 67th minute after his outstanding effort in a tactical shift by Frank Yallop to protect the 1-0 lead on the road.

Lenhart and Wondolowski make a very effective strike tandem, physical and opportunistic. The Quakes can score goals, Wondowlowski has been a top scorer for the last couple of seasons in MLS, their problem has been defending. San Jose is a much improved side from last season. Sounders were able to keep possession, create shots, win duels, and win pretty much every statistical category and still come up short. Certainly credit is due to San Jose for their victory, but we have seen Sounders dominate possession, shots, etc. and not be able to put the ball in the net for long stretches of time.

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