Photo by ISIphotos.com
By JASON MITCHELL
Well, that’s how you show off a new billion dollar house, even if it isn’t exactly yours.
Yannick Djalo’s first-half strike gave the San Jose Earthquakes all the scoring they needed in a 1-0 upset victory over the Seattle Sounders in front of 48,765 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.
Opening the new home of the San Francisco 49ers on Saturday night, the Earthquakes (6-8-5, 23 points) rode stellar play from Djalo and Chris Wondolowski and survived a late barrage from the Sounders.
Although the Earthquakes are still tied with Chivas USA for the worst record in the Western Conference, they have now won two straight after going 0-4-1 since the start of June. Newly minted Designated Player Matias Perez Garcia also waits in the wings, likely to add firepower as soon as next weekend.
Djalo opened the scoring in the 42nd minute, tracking down a looping ball over the top from Wondolowski and finishing with just one touch past a charging Stefan Frei. Djalo now has two goals and two assists in his last two matches after a slow start to his first season in MLS.
Wondolowski recorded his second assist of the season on the play.
Seattle nearly equalized off an 85th-minute corner kick, but Wondolowski stood tall at the near post to deny a thundering Chad Barrett header.
San Jose almost doubled the lead in the 59th minute, but Atiba Harris skied a point blank volley off a deflected cross. Moments later Wondolowski played Djalo behind Seattle’s back line again, but Djalo sent his shot wide left. The Portuguese midfielder left the match in the 62nd minute with what appeared to be a thigh injury.
Seattle actually started the match on the front foot. Obafemi Martins, Marco Pappa, and Clint Dempsey all found ample space to combine in the attacking third, but never managed to create meaningful chances. At times the Sounders were perhaps too unselfish, with both DeAndre Yedlin and Brad Evans passing up good first-half looks in the penalty area in search of teammates never found.
San Jose controlled the start of the second half, but the Sounders started to get a foot back in the match around the 65th minute.
Clint Dempsey tracked back to take control of the Seattle attack. Dempsey nearly finished with an over-the-head volley in the 68th minute. Two minutes later Dempsey combined nicely with Kenny Cooper, but Cooper’s shot barely troubled goalkeeper Jon Busch.
Seattle created a flurry of half-chances as the game wound down, but was unable to find the back of the net. The Sounders (12-6-2, 38 points) have now lost back-to-back matches and suddenly trail Sporting Kansas City by a point in the Supporters’ Shield race.
Looking forward, the Earthquakes visit the LA Galaxy (9-4-6, 33 points) on Friday, while the Sounders host the Houston Dynamo (5-11-4, 19 points) on Aug. 10.
Here are the match highlights: