SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Sounders FC went into the match on Saturday against the San Jose Earthquakes expecting a physical affair. They got that and more as Seattle had three players leave the match with injuries in the first 53 minutes of the match.
Seattle gave up a goal early in the second half and had a pair of late scoring chances, but were unable to find the equalizer and lost 1-0 at Buck Shaw Stadium.
“I thought there were times where we played some decent soccer, but there weren’t enough moments of it,” Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid said. “It was just one of those games where you roll up your sleeves and hope for the best. At the end, we put some pressure on them and came close to getting an equalizing goal.”
Sounders FC had a nice bit of ballwork in the 10th minute that ended with Eddie Johnson putting the ball in the back of the net, but he was flagged offside on the play.
In the 14th minute, Walter Martinez spun a bicycle kick in the middle of the box, forcing Michael Gspurning to dive to his right to make a stellar stop. He was again forced into action in the 18th minute, springing to his right again to snag a header from Alan Gordon that was bound for the side-netting.
Already short-handed without Obafemi Martins and Shalrie Joseph because of injuries, Sounders FC also lost Brad Evans in the first half to a rib injury and was replaced by Mauro Rosales in the 32nd minute. Gspurning was also forced out of action when he suffered a left forearm injury on the stop of Gordon’s header. Backup keeper Andrew Weber replaced Gspurning at halftime.
“It was unfortunate what happened to Mike,” said Weber, who joined Seattle on loan from Phoenix FC on Thursday. “Like anyone, you have to be ready to go in at any given time and perform and try to help your team win.”
San Jose wasn’t immune to absences themselves. Leading scorer Chris Wondolowski and speedy midfielder Marvin Chavez were both away on national team duty, then just before halftime defender Jason Hernandez was subbed out with a groin injury.
In the 48th minute, Martinez got in the box up the left side, cut back to his right foot and put a curling shot inside the far post for his first goal of the season, staking the Quakes to a 1-0 lead.
Five minutes later, Seattle lost another player to injury when Djimi Traore was forced out of the match with a right hamstring injury, bringing on Jhon Kennedy Hurtado for the third and final sub of the match.
“I thought we were reasonably ok in the first half. I didn’t think we started off the second half very well and obviously took the goal early,” Schmid said.
Seattle’s best chance to equalize came in the 83rd minute when Johnson snapped a Marc Burch corner kick for a header, but San Jose goalkeeper Jon Busch was there for the save - his first of the night.
In the 90th minute, Burch got his head to a Lamar Neagle free kick, but his flick missed just over the crossbar.
Just before the final whistle, Osvaldo Alonso, who made his return from injury, was ejected from the match after a tussle in the box.
Sounders FC will return to CenturyLink Field next week, hosting the Colorado Rapids on Saturday.
Sounders FC – None.
Earthquakes – Walter Martinez 48.
Sounders FC – Zach Scott (caution) 25; Servando Carrasco (caution) 42; Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (caution) 85; Osvaldo Alonso (ejection) 94+.
Earthquakes – Steven Lenhart (caution) 15; San Cronin (caution) 22; Alan Gordon (caution) 80.
Sounders FC – Michael Gspurning (Andrew Weber 46), DeAndre Yedlin, Zach Scott, Djimi Traore (Jhon Kennedy Hurtado 53), Leo Gonzalez, Brad Evans (Mauro Rosales 32), Osvaldo Alonso, Servando Carrasco, Marc Burch, Eddie Johnson, Lamar Neagle.
Earthquakes – Jon Busch, Steven Beitashour, Victor Bernardez, Jason Hernandez (Dan Gargan 45), Justin Morrow, Shea Salinas, Rafael Baca, Sam Cronin, Walter Martinez, Steven Lenhart, Alan Gordon.