Sounders FC (9-4-4, 31 points) battled to a hard-fought stalemate with the San Jose Earthquakes (6-7-6, 24 points) on Sunday evening in Northern California. Despite the scoreless draw, the contest was filled with contentious challenges and scoring chances for both sides in the back-and-forth encounter. With the result, Seattle narrowly maintains its grip on first place in the Western Conference, level with Portland on points but ahead on goal difference. Sounders FC’s next match looms large in the race for the 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs, as Brian Schmetzer’s side welcomes the Timbers to CenturyLink Field in a nationally televised showdown on Thursday, October 22 (7:30 p.m. PT / FS1, 1090 KJR AM, El Rey 1360 AM).
Seattle Sounders FC had an opportunity in the 39th minute when a header by Nouhou fell to the feet of Jordan Morris, who laid it off for Will Bruin but couldn’t get an effective shot off. Bruin then followed up with a header that went wide a few moments later and stopped San Jose’s sure-fire goal in the 43rd minute when he kicked a cross clear of an open net.
Stefan Frei, in his 250th appearance with the club, made a diving save in the 64th minute in what was arguably the best chance of the game for either side. In the 81st minute, Jordan Morris played a cross into the box that slipped past the foot of Bruin, who couldn’t quite put it in the back of the net.
- With tonight’s result, Seattle remains atop the Western Conference with 31 points, narrowly on top of second-place Portland. The Rave Green are level on points with Portland but ahead on goal difference. Seattle next plays the Timbers on Thursday, October 22 in a battle for the top spot in the West.
- Per MLS Communications, with several matches across the Western Conference still needing to be rescheduled due to COVID-19, Sounders FC was not able to formally clinch a postseason berth tonight in San Jose.
- In 2020, Seattle moves to 1-0-2 against San Jose, including the July 10 Group Stage match in the MLS is Back Tournament. Prior to tonight’s match, the Rave Green defeated San Jose 7-1 at CenturyLink Field on September 10.
- Sounders FC is now 12-10-18 all-time against San Jose in MLS regular season play, including a 3-5-5 mark in Northern California.
- With his start in goal this evening, Stefan Frei achieved a major career milestone for Seattle, recording his 250th appearance in Rave Green across all competitions. Second only to former Seattle midfielder Osvaldo Alonso in this category, Frei now has 215 regular-season appearances, combined with 23 in the MLS Cup Playoffs, three in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, eight in the Concacaf Champions League and one in the MLS is Back Knockout Round (the three MLS is Back Group Stage matches are included in the regular-season count). Frei has been with Sounders FC since the 2014 season.
- Frei also recorded his fifth shutout of the season and 81st of his career.
- Head Coach Brian Schmetzer made two changes to his starting lineup that faced LAFC on October 11. Schmetzer rotated both fullback positions, with Alex Roldan starting in place of Kelvin Leerdam, and Nouhou coming on for Brad Smith. Smith was unavailable for the San Jose match, having picked-up an injury in training prior to Sunday’s trip. He is not expected to be out long-term.
Seattle Sounders FC 0 – San Jose Earthquakes 0
Sunday, October 18, 2020
Venue: Earthquakes Stadium
Referee: Kevin Stott
Assistants: Jeremy Hanson, TJ Zablocki
Fourth Official: Michael Radchuk
VAR: Daniel Radford
Attendance: Closed Door
Weather: 76 degrees and clear
SJ – Judson (caution) 53’
SEA – Yeimar (caution) 76’
LINEUPS & STATS
Seattle Sounders FC - Stefan Frei; Alex Roldan, Yeimar Gómez Andrade, Shane O’Neill, Nouhou (Kelvin Leerdam 90’+2’); Jordy Delem, João Paulo, Cristian Roldan, Nicolás Lodeiro, Jordan Morris; Will Bruin (Miguel Ibarra 82’)
Substitutes not used: Stefan Cleveland, Román Torres, Ethan Dobbelaere, Shandon Hopeau, Josh Atencio, Justin Dhillon
Total shots: 4 (João Paulo, 2)
Shots on goal: 1 (Lodeiro, 1)
Fouls: 11 (A. Roldan/C. Roldan, 2)
Offside: 1 (Bruin, 1)
Corner-kicks: 2 (Lodeiro, 2)
Saves: 1 (Frei, 1)
San Jose Earthquakes – James Marcinkowski; Nick Lima, Florian Jungwirth, Oswaldo Alanis, Tommy Thompson; Judson, Cristian Espinoza (Shea Salinas 86’), Andres Rios, Jackson Yueill, Carlos Fierro; Chris Wondolowski
Substitutes not used: Daniel Vega, Paul Marie, Tanner Beason, Eric Calvillo, Jack Skahan, Luis Felipe Fernandes, Siad Haji, Cade Cowell
Total shots: 11 (Fierro/Judson, 3)
Shots on goal: 1 (Fierro, 1)
Fouls: 17 (Rios, 6)
Corner-kicks: 6 (Espinoza, 5)
Saves: 1 (Marcinkowski, 1)