SEATTLE -- Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid has seen this movie before.
Seattle held possession for most of their afternoon match with the San Jose Earthquakes, but an 18-3 shot advantage couldn’t make up for one play. Chris Wondolowski’s 11th minute goal held up and the Earthquakes walked out of Qwest Field on Saturday with a 1-0 victory.
“If you go into a movie, you can’t every four or five minutes close your eyes for 30 seconds. At the end of the day you don’t know what the movie is about anymore,” a disappointed Schmid said. “I think we lose the plot in the game because we shut down.”
“I thought we started off the game poorly. Our first ten minutes were very poor and allowed them to get into a rhythm of play and gain their confidence early. Their goal came out of that sequence as well. Then we woke up and probably had more of the game. At the end of the day, we lost 1-0.”
San Jose came out the aggressors over the games first ten minutes, holding much of the possession, although they didn‘t get a shot until the 11th minute goal. They earned a corner kick on the right side and Bobby Convey twisted it into the box, where Sounders defender James Riley headed it out of harms way, but it came right out to Joey Gjertsen on the right side. He sent another cross into the box from a higher angle, bouncing the ball off the heads of Brandon McDonald and Bobby Burling before it came to Wondolowski for a one-touch goal from the far post.
“I was very disappointed,” Sounders FC goalkeeper Kasey Keller said. “We didn't clear the ball when we needed it clear. We let them put pressure on us. We let them get themselves into a game. They looked like the home team.”
It was Wondolowski’s fifth goal of the season, giving the Earthquakes all they would end up needing.
From that point, though, the Sounders laid the pressure on thick. Whether it was a James Riley blast from the top of the box in the 21st minute, a Sanna Nyassi shot from the right side of the box in the 43rd minute only to have Steve Zakuani miss outside the far post from virtually the same spot one minute later.
Zakuani had another great opportunity in the 28th minute, getting away up the left side and going one-on-one with San Jose goalkeeper Joe Cannon. However, Cannon blocked the hard shot from Zakuani and the ricochet popped back and hit Zakuani in the head, leaving the Sounders winger on the turf for a minute before he could return to the field.
That trend continued in the second half, as the Sounders fired off 11 shots after halftime, but were only able to get one of them on goal and Cannon finished with three saves to collect his fourth consecutive clean sheet.
“We created enough chances to win this game comfortably,” Keller said. “It's not super doom and gloom. I think if you're going to watch the game on tape you would see that we easily had enough chances to win this game but when things are going wrong, they are going wrong.”
Added Schmid, “You’ve got to put shots on frame. The ball that bends into the upper-v counts just as much as the ball that goes through the goalkeeper’s hands. We have to force more saves.”
Wondolowski’s goal, meanwhile, was the only shot that the Earthquakes put on frame as San Jose improved to 5-2-1 on the season. Seattle fell to 3-4-3 with the defeat and have now gone 266 consecutive scoreless minutes at Qwest Field.
“I think mostly we were a bit not on it in the first ten minutes and we made a mistake and it cost us dearly. I think after that, the rest of the eighty minutes, we were on it and we fight and we don't score a goal,” said Sounders FC midfielder Freddie Ljungberg. “We can't let them get the advantage at 1-0. Like everybody has seen, teams bunker in after they get a lead here and it makes it ten times harder to play.”
The Sounders FC will host Boca Juniors from Argentina in a friendly match on Wednesday at Qwest Field before taking to the road to resume their MLS schedule on Saturday against the Colorado Rapids.
San Jose Earthquakes - Chris Wondolowski (Bobby Burling , Brandon McDonald ) 11
Seattle Sounders FC - None
San Jose Earthquakes - Joe Cannon, Chris Leitch, Bobby Burling, Jason Hernandez, Ramiro Corrales (Brad Ring 89), Joey Gjertsen (Steven Beitashour 55), Andre Luiz, Brandon McDonald, Bobby Convey, Ryan Johnson (Scott Sealy 69), Chris Wondolowski.
Seattle Sounders FC - Kasey Keller, James Riley, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Tyrone Marshall, Leo Gonzalez (Pat Noonan 76), Sanna Nyassi (Miguel Montano 62), Patrick Ianni, Nathan Sturgis, Steve Zakuani, Freddie Ljungberg, Fredy Montero.