Photo by Jane Gershovich/JaneG. Photography
By JASON MITCHELL
SEATTLE – They say it rains but never pours in Seattle, but don’t tell that to the 38,880 that basked in a deluge of Sounders goals Saturday afternoon at CenturyLink Field.
A Lamar Neagle brace paired with a brilliant Mauro Rosales strike and an opportunistic late goal from Obafemi Martins led the Seattle Sounders to a 4-0 thrashing of the San Jose Earthquakes.
For the Sounders (3-3-3), the victory suggests a team that collapsed out of the gate with an 0-3-1 start to the season is firmly back on track. Seattle is now 3-0-2 in its last five matches and earned seven points from a three-game swing through Colorado, Philadelphia, and Kansas City before walloping San Jose Saturday.
“Obviously it was good to get a good result, to get a solid win,” said Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid. “It’s been awhile for us. I was happy with our team. Proud of what our team did on the field.”
The defeat drops the Earthquakes to 3-4-5, a disappointing loss for a team coming off a four-match unbeaten streak. San Jose had also beaten Seattle four straight times, sweeping all three games in 2012 and winning 1-0 in San Jose earlier this season.
“Was it a four-goal, sort of drubbing loss?” San Jose head coach Frank Yallop asked rhetorically. “It was. I felt that we had chances to score, but you’ve got to hand it to Seattle.”
The Sounders opened the match looking aggressive, confident, and opportunistic, generating chances on both the counterattack and through patient buildup. The reward—well, the first reward—came near the half-hour mark.
In the 28th minute, Eddie Johnson found Mauro Rosales in the penalty area with his back to the goal. Rosales chested the ball down toward Neagle, who sent a booming half-volley into the back of the net to give Seattle what turned out to be the only goal it needed.
But more would come, most spectacularly in first-half stoppage time.
In the 46th minute, Mauro Rosales whipped a free kick in from 23 yards out that curled and curled to the left before slapping the inside left post and caroming past a helpless Jon Busch.
San Jose had built its first decent possession of the match in the minutes prior to Rosales’ goal, but the Earthquakes would never again mount a sustained challenge.
“We started to kind of get into the game and then they scored right before half time,” said Yallop. “It makes it tough.”
Neagle added the third goal less than 10 minutes into the second half, getting under a chipped pass from Servando Carrasco and dancing along the top of the penalty area before unleashing a 17-yard left-footed shot past both Justin Morrow and Busch.
After the match Neagle confirmed he felt additional motivation coming off a straight red card suspension.
“Yeah, whenever that happens you feel like you let your teammates down a little bit, kinda left them out to dry,” Neagle said. “So coming back there was a lot of adrenaline.”
San Jose actually attempted more shots (16) than Seattle (14), but rarely seemed to generate an offensive rhythm and could only put three attempts on frame.
“Disappointing performance from us,” said San Jose midfielder Sam Cronin. “They had a few good goals, but we gifted them a few as well, and on the road we can’t do that. The first one we turned the ball over in midfield, which you can’t do. We’ve just got to look at the film during the week and improve on everything.”
The Earthquakes’ best chances came late in the first half as the team trailed 1-0. In the 37th minute Alan Gordon—in his first game back from suspension—found himself unmarked front-and-center inside the six-yard box, but sent a header over the crossbar.
In the 44th minute, Chris Wondolowski redirected a Walter Martinez cross to Gordon just seven yards from goal. But Gordon once again struggled to make much of a good chance, mustering a weak shot that didn’t seriously challenge Seattle goalkeeper Michael Gspurning.
Just two minutes later Rosales put the Sounders up 2-0 heading into the half.
Obafemi Martins capped the scoring in the 93rd minute, finding himself in the right place at the right time to collect and finish a botched San Jose clearance just outside the six-yard box. Justin Morrow’s clearance bounced off teammate Victor Bernadez and back to Martins, who thighed the ball down to his left foot and past the charging San Jose goalkeeper.
“If you slip up or make a half a mistake,” Schmid said of Martins, “he’s so quick to pounce on things and immediately turn it into a goal.”
Here are the match highlights: