The Sounders suffered a momentum killing 2-0 loss to the San Jose Earthquake Wednesday night at Pay Pal Park.It was not so much that the Sounders lost to the Quakes for the second time this season. San Jose defeated the Sounders 1-0 earlier at Lumen Field on May 31st securing the season series. What made Wednesday’s loss to the Quakes so disappointing was the Sounder’s inability to create chances in the final third. An issue that plagued the team during its winless streak in the month of June. The issue looked rectified in the last three games leading up to the San Jose match.
The Sounders were unbeaten in those three games. A nil-nil draw at home with Orlando ,was followed by a narrow 1-0 win over the Dynamo and a momentum-building 3-2 win over the Whitecaps seemed to point to a team that had found its offensive rhythm. Seemed is the operative word.
For the first fifteen minutes of the match, the Sounders dominated the game with Leo Chu looking like he was the best player on the pitch. In all fairness he was. As he was in the Vancouver game. For all his creativity Chu was a one-man show. Chu had no support when he had the ball and when he tried to pass the ball a lack of players running to space limited his choices.
Lackluster link-up plays between Nicolas Lodeiro, Albert Rusnak, and starting striker Eber saw very little creativity in the final third. Rusnak and Lodeiro were on different pages. The two advanced midfielders rarely connected offensively. As a result Chu’s touches were limited and the Sounder’s attack fizzled.
An inability to create clear-cut chances allowed the Quakes to get a foothold in the game. Sounders center-back Yeimar fouled San Joe forward Jeremy Ebobisse in the box and the Quakes were awarded a penalty. Cristian Espinoza’s right-footed blast gave the home side a 1-0 lead.
The insertion of Raul Ruidiaz for Eber and Alex Roldan for Cordy Baker at right back gave in the second half gave the Sounder’s attacks a brief boost. The jolt of energy was short-lived. A lack of runs into the box saw the Quakes clog the middle of the field which frustrated the Sounders. An exquisite half-volley from a corner kick by Miguel Trauco double the home side’s lead and took the life out of the Sounders. The Sounders had just one shot after the goolaso by Trauco.
THE BIG TAKE
Lodeiro ‘s wondering from one side of the pitch in the middle of the field has become problematic. His drifting from side to side leaves a big gap in the middle of the field making it difficult for Rusnack and Joao Paulo to switch the play from one side to the other. The result is one dimensional and predictable Sounder attack.
- Sounders FC falls to third in the Western Conference with 35 points through 23 matches played (10-8-5), three points shy of first-place St. Louis City SC and one point behind second-place LAFC.
- With the result, San Jose sweeps the 2023 season series against Seattle, following a 1-0 Earthquakes win on May 31. Sounders FC is now 15-14-9 all-time against San Jose in MLS regular-season play.
- With the win, San Jose clinches the 2023 Heritage Cup, an annual competition between the two sides. This marks the second consecutive win for the Earthquakes.
- With the start tonight, Nouhou surpasses Chad Marshall for the most all-competition appearances made by a defender for Sounders FC in the MLS era (187). He passed Marshall in career MLS regular-season appearances for Seattle in last Saturday’s game in Vancouver.
- Stefan Cleveland made his second consecutive start in goal in place of Stefan Frei, who remains out in the concussion protocol.
- Coach Schmetzer made two changes to his starting XI from Saturday’s win in Vancouver, as Cody Baker and Héber replaced Alex Roldan and Raúl Ruidíaz, both of whom later appeared as substitutes.
- Following this evening’s U.S. Men’s National Team loss to Panama in the Semifinals of the 2023 Concacaf Gold Cup, Sounders FC forward Jordan Morris and midfielder Cristian Roldan are set to return to Seattle ahead of Saturday’s home match against FC Dallas.
Seattle Sounders FC 0 – San Jose Earthquakes 2
Wednesday, July 12, 2023
Venue: PayPal Park
Referee: Fotis Bazakos
Assistants: Cameron Blanchard, Justin Howard
Fourth Official: Matthew Thompson
VAR: Jorge Gonzalez
Weather: 67 degrees and clear
SJ – Cristian Espinoza (penalty) 19’
SJ – Miguel Trauco (Cristian Espinoza) 65’
SEA – Nouhou (caution) 41’
SEA – Léo Chú (caution) 45’+4’
LINEUPS & STATS
Seattle Sounders FC – Stefan Cleveland; Cody Baker (Alex Roldan 46’), Yeimar, Jackson Ragen, Nouhou (Reed Baker-Whiting 81’); João Paulo (Josh Atencio 66’), Obed Vargas, Nico Lodeiro (Dylan Teves 67’), Albert Rusnák, Léo Chú; Héber (Raúl Ruidíaz 66’)
Substitutes not used: Andrew Thomas, Fredy Montero, Abdoulaye Cissoko
Total shots: 9
Shots on goal: 2
San Jose Earthquakes – JT Marcinkowski; Paul Marie (Benji Kikanovic 90’+1’), Tanner Beason, Miguel Trauco, Rodrigues; Carlos Akapo, Carlos Gruezo, Jack Skahan (Tommy Thompson 85’), Judson (Cameron Cilley 90’+3’); Cristian Espinoza, Jeremy Ebobisse (Ousseni Bouda 90’+3’)
Substitutes not used: Emmanuel Ochoa, Jonathan Mensah, Will Richmond, Daniel Munie, Niko Tsakiris
Total shots: 14
Shots on goal: 3
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