SEATTLE – Clint Dempsey scored his second goal of the regular season, Jordan Morris scored for the fourth consecutive game and the Seattle Sounders’ defense did the rest in a 2-0 win over the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday night at CenturyLink Field.
Dempsey coolly finished a right-footed chance from inside the box in the 26th minute for the game-winner for the Sounders (4-4-1, 13 pts.), who won their fourth consecutive home game for the first time since 2014.
Morris added an insurance tally in the 89th minute with a right-footed blast from outside the box for his fourth goal in as many games, tying an MLS rookie record for consecutive games with a goal.
Goalkeeper Stefan Frei needed to make only one save to pick up his second straight shutout and his third this season as the Sounders managed to keep MLS leading scorer Chris Wondolowski off the scoreboard. Wondolowski came into the game with more goals scored against the Sounders than any other player in MLS (9), but stunningly missed a penalty kick off the post in the 85th minute.
Instead the plaudits went to Dempsey, who didn’t waste a golden chance in front of the San Jose net.
The goal built up down the Sounders’ right side from Morris and forward Aaron Kovar and eventually to midfielder Erik Friberg, back in the starting lineup for the first time in nearly two months. Friberg knifed into the San Jose box and calmly slotted a ball back to Dempsey, who one-timed a curling right-footed shot past San Jose goalkeeper David Bingham.
The goal was Dempsey’s first from the run of play this season, and fourth in 11 games across all competitions in 2016.
The Quakes nearly answered in the 59th minute off the foot of Designated Player Simon Dawkins, but the Tottenham import’s free kick from just outside the box caromed off the underside of the crossbar and out of harm’s way.
San Jose threatened again in the game’s final minutes and drew a penalty kick when Sounders defender Tyrone Mears cut down Victor Bernardez in the box, but the Quakes failed to convert from the spot. Wondolowski snapped a shot off the post for just his second miss in his last 12 penalty kick attempts dating back to 2013.
Morris then put the game away with an easy finish off an assist from midfielder Osvaldo Alonso before celebrating in front of a raucous crowd of 39,570.
Seattle controlled much of the tempo in the first half and nearly scored in the opening minutes. Alonso had the best early chance of the match with a low shot from distance that skipped through the San Jose defense, but Bingham managed to parry the shot wide for a corner kick.
San Jose’s best early opportunity came in the 35th minute, when winger Shea Salinas slipped a pass through to a streaking Wondolowski, but the veteran striker’s first touch on the turf was too strong, and Frei ultimately snuffed out the chance.
Friberg’s first start since March 12 meant that the Sounders have now started a different lineup in each of their nine games this season. Midfielder Andreas Ivanschitz came off the bench for his first appearance in two weeks after suffering a thigh injury vs. Colorado on April 23.
The result gave the Sounders their first four-game winning streak at home since April 26 - July 13, 2014. They also snapped a five-game winless streak against the Quakes.
The Sounders return to action on the road against FC Dallas on May 14.
Seattle Sounders FC 2 – San Jose Earthquakes 0
Saturday, May 7, 2016
Venue: Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field
Referee: Alan Kelly
Assistants: Ian Anderson, Jeff Hosking
Fourth Official: Baldomero Toledo
Weather: 72 degrees and sunny
SEA – Clint Dempsey (Erik Friberg, Jordan Morris) 26’
SEA – Jordan Morris (Osvaldo Alonso) 89’
SEA – Osvaldo Alonso (caution) 43’
LINEUPS & STATS
Seattle Sounders FC – Stefan Frei; Tyrone Mears, Brad Evans – captain, Chad Marshall; Joevin Jones; Osvaldo Alonso, Erik Friberg (Cristian Roldan 72’), Clint Dempsey; Aaron Kovar (Nelson Valdez 64’) Herculez Gomez (Andreas Ivanschitz 85’), Jordan Morris
Substitutes not used: Tyler Miller, Dylan Remick, Zach Scott, Oalex Anderson
Total shots: 15 (Morris, 4)
Shots on goal: 8 (Morris, 3)
Fouls: 8 (Dempsey, 3)
Corner-kicks: 12 (Gomez, 8)
Saves: 1 (Frei, 1)
San Jose Earthquakes – David Bingham; Kofi Sarkodie (Tommy Thompson 81’), Marvell Wynne, Victor Bernardez, Shaun Francis; Alberto Quintero (, Matias Perez Garcia 65’), Matheus Silva, Simon Dawkins, Shea Salinas; Chris Wondolowski – captain, Chad Barrett (Adam Jahn 73’)
Substitutes not used: Bryan Meredith, Jordan Stewart, Kip Colvey, Fatai Alashe
Total shots: 11 (Three players tied with 2)
Shots on goal: 1 (Barrett, 1)
Fouls: 10 (Barrett, 2)
Offside: 3 (Barrett, 2)
Corner-kicks: 6 (Barrett, 2)
Saves: 6 (Bingham, 3)