The post match focus has mostly been about why the evil Eddie Johnson pile drove Jed Zayner into the turf after Zayner sent a plate of fresh baked cookies and a polite letter to Johnson requesting that he relocate his victory celebrations. But that's unfair to a game that should be heartening to Seattle fans who were sick of watching a team clearly talented enough to win and win frequently not be able to keep control of a match.
This was not by any means the most talented roster Seattle can put out, in part because the team just played a match two days before and in part because the most talented team wasn't necessarily called for in this match. It did take a bit of talent and skill to generate the lone goal, as Cordell Cato shot from an impossibly sheer angle to beat David Bingham in the 19th minute. But then defending a one goal lead on a small pitch against a team that generates most of its offense in the air, the game became a relentless grind and Seattle had their grinders on the field to match it.
The official highlights are a series of red question marks and Earthquakes logos, so instead I'll embed sonarriley's video and call of the second half, which is nonstop good times. Also, stats and quotes below the cut.
Seattle Sounders FC at San Jose Earthquakes
June 26, 2012 - Kezar Stadium in San Francisco, Calif.
Scoring Summary: SEA - Cordell Cato (unassisted) 19.
Misconduct Summary: SJ - Alan Gordon (caution) 49; SEA - Zach Scott (caution) 51; SJ - Justin Morrow (caution) 75; SJ - Alan Gordon (ejection) 90.
San Jose Earthquakes - David Bingham, Steven Beitashour, Victor Bernardez, Ike Opara, Justin Morrow, Rafael Baca (Marvin Chavez 80), Sam Cronin, Tressor Moreno (Steven Lenhart 53), Shea Salinas, Khari Stephenson (Chris Wondolowski 53), Alan Gordon.
TOTAL SHOTS: 7; SHOTS ON GOAL: 4; SAVES: 4; FOULS: 12; OFFSIDES: 3; CORNER KICKS: 11.
Seattle Sounders FC - Andrew Weber, Brad Evans, Patrick Ianni, Zach Scott, Leo Gonzalez, Cordell Cato (Marc Burch 82), Servando Carrasco, Andy Rose, Alvaro Fernadez (Jhon Kennedy Hurtado 89), Roger Levesque, Sammy Ochoa (Eddie Johnson 75).
TOTAL SHOTS: 8; SHOTS ON GOAL: 4; SAVES: 4; FOULS: 9; OFFSIDES: 1; CORNER KICKS: 3.
(Via San Jose Earthquakes)
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES HEAD COACH FRANK YALLOP
On performance of the Quakes:
"You have to give Seattle credit for the way they defended. We just couldn't quite get the touch we needed in the last 35 minutes. What I liked about the performance was that we pushed; we pushed the issue in the game and on a difficult pitch. Both teams struggled to play decent football. We had to go direct and I thought we were effective without scoring. Spirit wise, I thought it was a good performance."
On playing Seattle:
"I think there is always a rivalry between us and Seattle. We beat them this year once at their home and they beat us here in the Cup. We got to play them twice again, so we're going to look forward to that."
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES FORWARD CHRIS WONDOLOWSKI
On end of the game:
"We have two heated rivals going against each other on the field for 90 minutes. We're both good teams this year so there will be a lot of fight and a lot of heart, and when you put 22 guys together running around on a small bumpy field ... there's going to be a lot of fire. "
On Earthquakes' offensive struggles during the game:
"I thought we did a really good job playing in the second half. We got the ball wide and were getting a lot of crosses in, but Seattle played well. Defensively, they were organized and they deserve a lot of credit. Their keeper had a few nice saves on us and that's a recipe for a shutout."
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES MIDFIELDER SAM CRONIN
Cronin on second half:
"It's an important game so you know it'll get rough and competitive towards the end. It was tough to find a rhythm and the field was bumpy and unpredictable."
(Via March to the Match podcast)
On the nature of the game: That's what we were just talking about in the locker room: Games like this are how rivalries start. I think both teams at this point need to take a little time to cool down, but absolutely we're looking forward to the next time we play each other.
I think it's just a battle. In a cup game when it's do or die, both teams are out there fighting. There are groups that maybe aren't the first team but the players out there were willing to fight and the commitment to the game was so intense that guys were going to do anything to win. That's the way it was out there. It was an all-out war. Not a whole lot of soccer being played in that second half. Definitely a whole lot of fight in these two teams.
We take a lot of pride in the open cup. We've done it since the usl day. those of us are still around from back then. Having won the cup the last three years, it's the same thing. coming out each time and playing as hard as we can.
Every time i step on the field, i'm not as young as i once was, so i try and enjoy it and just do whatever I can to help this team win. This one is a little bit special. We're going to push for it and give it our best shot.
Emotions were definitely running high for both teams. There's no question about that. It's just one of those things where guys get tangled up and there's so much passion involved in the game. I don't know what necessarily happened or what caused each little scuffle, but there were plenty of them on the field. Guys coming up and getting in each other faces. that's all part of the game. I think everyone is out there fighting and doing whatever they can to win the game. Credit to both teams for showing that much passion, that much fight and that much desire. That's how rivalry starts and how this game gets really exciting.
Anytime you can win a game like that, maybe it's not the prettiest soccer, but at the same time you come together and you fight for each other. Hopefully something like that can create momentum heading into the next game and beyond. We're fortunate to have a quick turnaround, we play on Saturday, so this will be fresh in our minds. The fight and determination we showed today will hopefully shine through on Saturday as well.
There's up and downs to any season. just have to keep an even keel. the ultimate goal is to be playing your best soccer at the end of the season.
We're going to come out with the same emotion we showed today.
It's tremendous. Winning three years in a row. Us having an opportunity to write history and to become the first team to win it four years in a row. For me, it's even more important because I haven't won it yet. I'm even more fired up than the whole team, which is good. We're going to push hard and do whatever we can in the semifinal to go the final. ‘
What we've been going through is pretty rough. We haven't been playing bad soccer, but we haven't been mentally tough at certain times in the game. It's big for everyone.
It felt good. Finally we're on top. They have to dig out of the hole. The guys held up in the back as well. Everyone did their part today and fought.
All those guys know their position. Brad did really well on the back. he's got the natural leadership ability. Everyone did really well. I was really proud of them.
We knew what type of players they had. We wanted to make sure we had the ability to match that. Based upon our last few league results it was about understanding that we needed to be tougher to play against as a team. We had to make a lot of lineup changes because of the timing of the game. We were able to accomplish all that and pull out a victory.
The character was fantastic. Leo Gonzalez hasn't played 90 minutes forever and played 90 today. Roger Levesque hasn't played 90 minutes and played that today. (Sammy) Ochoa gave us a good 75. Cato comes up with a big goal. We asked evans to play a different There were a lot of guys that sacrificed a little bit and gave up a little bit of their ego for us to succeed today. that's what we've been talking about lately. We've got to give up a little bit of our ego to and sacrifice for the sake of the team.
It was an important game. Not only winning against a MLS team, but going on the road. There was a lot of people that thought "oh the Sounders can't win the open cup if they have to play on the road". We dealt with only having about 48 hours of rest. So we overcame a lot of things today. That can help the team because you realize that obstacles are there but that obstacles are there to be overcome and we can overcome those obstacles.