SEATTLE – The Sounders returned to CenturyLink Field for the first time in nearly a month and they made sure to put on a show for the 38,880 in their home crowd against the San Jose Earthquakes.
With two goals from Federal Way product Lamar Neagle, a goal and an assist for Mauro Rosales and a goal in the return of Obafemi Martins, it was quite the homecoming as Seattle continued their hot streak with a 4-0 win over the Earthquakes, extending their unbeaten streak to five matches.
“It’s been a while for us. I was proud of what our team did on the field,” Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid said. “As a coach, you’re never completely happy. I think from a standpoint of scoring goals, creating chances and also playing good defense, in terms of league, this was probably our most complete game.”
The match started with Seattle taking control from the opening whistle.
In the ninth minute, the Sounders transition into the attacking third nearly led to an early lead. Brad Evans played a long ball to Neagle, who touched it down to Eddie Johnson. The Sounders forward then returned the pass to Neagle running to the middle, creating a two-on-one with Dan Gargan. Neagle fired a shot from 25-yards out heading toward the far corner, but missed just wide.
In the 24th minute, Rosales got on the end of a cross from Evans, but his diving header went back across the front of the open net and was cleared by San Jose.
Seattle’s attack finally paid dividends in the 28th minute. Johnson played the ball into the box for Rosales, who chested it down to Neagle charging down the middle to rocket a shot past Jon Busch for his first goal of the season and a 1-0 Sounders lead.
“I saw Eddie go out wide and Mauro was taking the near post, so I was trying to hold back,” Neagle said. “Mauro ended up chesting it down and I just kept my head down and ran through it.”
It was the third assist of the year for Rosales, but he wasn’t finished there.
Just as the match headed into first-half stoppage time, Rosales made it 2-0 off a brilliant free kick goal, bending it over the four-man San Jose wall and into the near post, caroming into the net for his second goal of the season.
The Sounders started the second half right where they left off, putting more distance between them and the Earthquakes, who are among the best second-half teams in the league and had beaten the Sounders in four straight MLS matches.
Neagle added his second goal of the match in the 54th minute when he brought down a ball from Servando Carrasco, evaded a pair of defenders and cut a left-footed shot inside the near post for a 3-0 Sounders lead.
“I knew I had to take advantage of the chances I was given so it ended up working out,” Neagle said.
The Sounders continued to press and added to their lead in stoppage time when Martins scored on a misplayed clearance for his second goal of the season putting the Sounders up 4-0.
San Jose outshot Seattle 16-14, but Seattle put six of their shots on goal to just three for the Earthquakes. Michael Gspurning made all three saves for his fourth shutout of the season, all coming in the last five matches.
“We showed from the beginning that we really wanted to win this game,” Gspurning said. “The road trip was nice but of course you have to win the games at home, too.”
The win lifts the Sounders to 3-3-3 and their next match will come at CenturyLink Field against FC Dallas on May 18. First, though, they will host a Reserve League match at Cheney Stadium in Tacoma against Orlando City SC.
Sounders FC – Lamar Neagle (Mauro Rosales, Eddie Johnson) 28; Mauro Rosales 46+; Lamar Neagle (Servando Carrasco) 54; Obafemi Martins 93+.
Earthquakes – None.
Sounders FC – Eddie Johnson (caution) 88.
Earthquakes – Rafael Baca (caution) 45; Chris Wondolowski (caution) 88.
Sounders FC – Michael Gspurning, DeAndre Yedlin, Zach Scott, Djimi Traore, Leo Gonzalez, Mauro Rosales (Mario Martinez 62), Osvaldo Alonso, Servando Carrasco, Brad Evans (Obafemi Martins 55), Lamar Neagle (David Estrada 86), Eddie Johnson.
Earthquakes – Jon Busch, Steven Beitashour, Justin Morrow, Victor Bernardez, Dan Gargan, Rafael Baca, Sam Cronin, Ramiro Corrales (Shea Salinas 65), Walter Martinez, Chris Wondolowski, Alan Gordon (Marcus Tracy 65).