Jordan Morris scored his 10th goal of the season in second-half stoppage time as Seattle Sounders FC (15-10-8, 53 points) prevailed 1-0 over the San Jose Earthquakes (13-15-5, 44 points) on Sunday evening in a heated affair that produced red cards for both sides.
Based on results from elsewhere around Major League Soccer on the league’s penultimate weekend of regular season action, Seattle jumps into a tie for second place in the Western Conference with Minnesota United FC ahead of the Decision Day matchup between the two sides on October 6.
Sounders FC is set to host the Loons at 1:00 p.m. PT next Sunday at CenturyLink Field in the final regular season match of the 2019 campaign. Home field advantage in the postseason is on the line on Decision Day, as teams one through four in each conference are assured to play at home in the single-elimination 2019 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs.
With the match scoreless into the fourth minute of second-half stoppage time, Morris chased down a San Jose errant pass in the final third to get behind the defense and slot a shot past the onrushing goalkeeper to seal the win. Morris now has 10 goals on the season, second to Raúl Ruidíaz for the team lead, to go along with a career-high seven assists after sitting out the entirety of 2018 with a torn ACL.
With Sunday’s win, Sounders FC captures the 2019 Heritage Cup after a 2-2 home draw with San Jose earlier this season. Contested annually between Sounders FC and San Jose to honor the history between the two sides dating back to 1974 in the North American Soccer League, Seattle retains the Heritage Cup, winning the annual series between the clubs for the past four seasons.
A deadlocked first half produced a handful of chances for both clubs, but neither side was able to find a breakthrough in the first 45 minutes of play. The torrid pace of the game continued into the second half of play, when defender Tommy Thompson was sent off by referee Ismail Elfath for stomping on Seattle’s Xavier Arreaga when the two players were contesting the ball.
Thompson’s ejection occurred in the 56th minute, leaving San Jose down a man. Arreaga saw red 14 minutes later, earning his second caution of the night for a challenge at the edge of the area on Danny Hoesen, leveling the match at 10 players for each side. The ensuring free kick from Hoesen narrowly missed for the Quakes, clanging the crossbar and keeping the match scoreless. Having already clinched qualification for an MLS record 11th-consecutive postseason, Seattle returns home to CenturyLink Field for a pivotal matchup on Decision Day against Minnesota United on Sunday, October 6.
The final weekend of regular season action, all Western Conference matches are played simultaneously on Decision Day, as teams jockey for postseason position ahead of the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs. Sounders FC’s matchup versus former club captain Ozzie Alonso and Minnesota is slated for 1:00 p.m. PT in Seattle (JOEtv, Univision-Seattle, YouTube TV, 950 KJR AM and El Rey 1360 AM).
- With tonight’s result, Sounders FC is tied for second place in the Western Conference with 53 points (15-10-8), level with Minnesota United FC and 14 points behind LAFC, who has clinched the Supporters’ Shield. The club is now two points ahead of fourth-place LA Galaxy and three points ahead of fifth-place Real Salt Lake.
- Morris’s late goal marked his 10th of the season, second to Raúl Ruidíaz for the team lead, to go along with a career-high seven assists after sitting out the entirety of 2018 with a torn ACL. He now has six goals and five assists in his last nine starts, dating back to July 27.
- With today’s win, Sounders FC captures the 2019 Heritage Cup after a 2-2 home draw with San Jose earlier this season. Contested annually between Sounders FC and San Jose to honor the history between the two sides dating back to 1974 in the North American Soccer League, Seattle retains the Heritage Cup, winning the annual series between the clubs for the past four seasons.
- Today’s result moves Seattle’s all-time record against San Jose to 11-10-6, including a 3-5-4 mark in the Bay Area.
- Víctor Rodríguez continued his run in the attacking midfield role for Sounders FC, making his second-consecutive start at Nicolás Lodeiro’s usual position. Last weekend in DC, the Spaniard made first start since July 6 at Columbus Crew SC, after making his way back from injury. Lodeiro continues to battle the lower back injury he sustained in the September 18 match versus FC Dallas.
- After starting in central defense a week ago, Gustav Svensson returned to his usual role in central midfield this afternoon, with the suspended Xavier Arreaga reprising his starting position at centerback. The Ecuadorian received two cautions on September 18 versus FC Dallas, thus ruling him out for last weekend’s match at D.C. United.
- Román Torres made his return to the field on Sunday afternoon, coming on for Brad Smith in the 88th minute. Today marked the Panamanian defender’s first eligible contest following a 10-match suspension that began on August 2. Torres was suspended by Major League Soccer for violating the MLS Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health (SABH) Policy after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance.
MATCH SUMMARYSeattle Sounders FC 1 – San Jose Earthquakes 0Sunday, September 29, 2019Venue: Avaya StadiumReferee: Ismail ElfathAssistants: Kyle Atkins, Corey ParkerFourth Official: Rosendo MendozaVAR: Edvin JurisevicAttendance: 18,000Weather: 63 degrees and partly cloudySCORING SUMMARYSEA – Jordan Morris 90’+4′
MISCONDUCT SUMMARYSJ – Tommy Thompson (ejection) 56′SEA – Xavier Arreaga (caution) 60′SEA – Xavier Arreaga (ejection) 71′SEA – Nouhou (caution) 87′ LINEUPS & STATSSeattle Sounders FC – Stefan Frei; Kelvin Leerdam, Kim Kee-hee, Xavier Arreaga, Brad Smith (Román Torres 88′); Gustav Svensson, Cristian Roldan, Jordan Morris, Víctor Rodríguez (Nouhou 79′), Joevin Jones (Jordy Delem 74′); Raúl Ruidíaz Substitutes not used: Bryan Meredith, Luis Silva, Emanuel Cecchini, Harry Shipp Total shots: 8 (Three players, 2)Shots on goal: 5 (Morris/Jones, 2)Fouls: 9 (Arreaga/Jones, 2)Offside: 1 (Jones, 1)Corner-kicks: 7 (Rodríguez, 4)Saves: 10 (Frei, 10)San Jose Earthquakes – Daniel Vega; Tommy Thompson, Guram Kashia, Florian Jungwirth, Nick Lima; Cristian Espinoza (Carlos Fierro 82′), Jackson Yueill, Magnus Eriksson, Valeri Qazaishvili (Shea Salinas 61′); Chris Wondolowski (Andres Rios HT), Danny Hoesen
Substitutes not used: Andrew Tarbell, Harold Cummings, Marcos Lopez, Anibal Godoy
Total shots: 22 (Eriksson, 6)Shots on goal: 10 (Three players, 2)Fouls: 13 (Espinoza, 3)Offside: 0Corner-kicks: 8 (Eriksson, 7)Saves: 5 (Vega, 5)