The Seattle Sounders dropped another home match Wednesday Night on the Emerald Queen Casino Pitch at Lumen Field. The 1-0 loss to the San Jose Earthquakes was the third home defeat in the Month of May for the Rave Green. The team’s inability to be creative in the final third continued to haunt the Sounders.
The team found width and space early in the game with Leo Chu roaming on the left flank and whipping in passes that were just out of the reach of Heber, Nicolas Lodeiro, and Albert Rusnack. Dylan Teves also found room to roam on the right side and the story was pretty much the same as that of Chu. Wide open spaces to roam, crosses in the middle with no one individual able to find foot, head, or hip to deflect the ball into the back of the net.
NO FRUITS FOR THE LABOUR
Ceding the majority of the first-half possession to the home side, the Quakes did produce a few moments of danger for Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei and the backline that feature Xavier Arreaga filling in for Yeimar Gomez who was given being rested. With both sides unable to break down the other defensive the first half ended goalless.
The second half started with the visitors finding the breakthrough that saw them take the lead. The 48th-minute corner kick header by the Earthquakes forward Jeremy Ebobisse gave the visitors the go-ahead and game-winning goal.
DOMINATING POSSESSION BUT NOT GOAL
After the goal the visitors bunkered down and ceded possession to the Sounders who were unable to find the equalizer or the go-ahead goal. Striker Raul Ruidiaz entered the game in the 58th minute. It was his first action since April 15th. Fredy Montero, Reed Baker- Whiting and Kelyn Rowe were all late-game substitutions commissioned to break the Earthquakes bunkered defense.
The influx of fresh legs and hungry players brought the Sounder’s attack to life once again. Alex Roldan was pushed up to the midfield giving the Sounders a numerical advantage in the middle of the field. In what is becoming an all too familiar story, the chances were there but to no avail. The
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
The team’s inability to find the net with any regularity is a problem. With Jordan Morris sidelined for at least another two weeks Ruidiaz will need to find his form very quickly. In the loss, Ruidiaz was close on several chances and some of those misses can be attributed to a lack of game time. Now that he has some game time Ruidiaz should produce. Having said that the Sounders need to send more players into the box. On too many occasions the Sounders have multiple players standing outside the goal box. More players are needed to run through the goal box, drag defenders with them and create space for a running teammate.
The long-awaited match with the Timbers is next and creativity in the final third is a must if the team is going to get positive results against a rival who has been dominating the Rave Green.
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POST MATCH NOTES
- Following tonight’s loss, Sounders FC remains atop the MLS Western Conference with 26 points, one point ahead of St. Louis and LAFC. Both St. Louis (three matches) and LAFC (four matches) have games in-hand over Sounders FC. Next up for Seattle: a pivotal Cascadia Cup matchup at Lumen Field against arch-rival Portland on Saturday, June 3 at 1:30 p.m. PT, the first of a two-match doubleheader the features both Seattle’s men’s and women’s teams facing off against their Portland counterparts (OL Reign hosts the Portland Thorns at 5:00 p.m. PT).
- On home turf at Lumen Field in 2023, Seattle has five wins, three losses and one draw through nine MLS contests in SoDo.
- On the heels of tonight’s result, Sounders FC moves to 15-13-9 all-time against San Jose, including a 10-7-3 mark at Lumen Field. San Jose’s seven wins at Lumen Field are the most road victories against Sounders FC in the club’s MLS era (since 2009).
- Tonight’s win was San Jose’s first road victory of 2023 (1-5-2).
- San Jose had lost just one its last five MLS matches against the Rave Green (1-3-1), including going unbeaten in both of last season’s meetings (one win, one draw).
- San Jose forward Jeremy Ebobisse scored his third goal against Sounders FC (all competitions) with his strike in the 48th minute of play.
- Entering the match as a 58th-minute substitute, forward Raúl Ruidíaz made his return from an injury layoff that dates back to April 15. The Peruvian had been battling a hamstring strain. He remains Seattle’s second all-time leading scorer across all competitions with 75 goals, trailing current teammate Fredy Montero by four strikes.
- Kelyn Rowe also made his return from injury tonight as a substitute, entering the match in the 73rd minute of play, marking his first minutes since suffering a knee sprain at Real Salt Lake on April 29.
- Seattle Head Coach Brian Schmetzer made four changes to his starting XI this evening following Saturday’s 1-0 win over the New York Red Bulls. Xavier Arreaga rotated in for Yeimar Gómez Andrade at centerback, while Nouhou replaced Cody Baker (concussion protocol) at left-back. Josh Atencio replaced João Paulo in central midfield (suspension), while Dylan Teves stepped in for the injured Jordan Morris (left adductor strain).
Seattle Sounders FC 0 – San Jose Earthquakes 1
Wednesday, May 31, 2023
Venue: Emerald Queen Casino Pitch at Lumen Field
Referee: Ramy Touchan
Assistants: Cameron Blanchard, Jeffrey Greeson
Fourth Official: Brandon Stevis
VAR: Malik Badawi
Weather: 60 degrees and clear
SJ – Jeremy Ebobisse (Rodrigues, Cristian Espinoza) 48’
SEA – Alex Roldan (caution) 19’
SEA – Jackson Ragen (caution) 43’
SJ – Paul Marie (caution) 66’
SJ – Jackson Yueill (caution) 77’
SEA – Josh Atencio (caution) 86’
LINEUPS & STATS
Seattle Sounders FC – Stefan Frei; Alex Roldan, Jackson Ragen, Xavier Arreaga, Nouhou (Kelyn Rowe 73’); Albert Rusnák (Fredy Montero 73’), Josh Atencio, Dylan Teves (Reed Baker-Whiting 58’), Nico Lodeiro, Léo Chú; Héber (Raúl Ruidíaz 58’)
Substitutes not used: Stefan Cleveland, Yeimar, Abdoulaye Cissoko, Sota Kitahara, Travian Sousa*
*Tacoma Defiance player on short-term agreement