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Sounders Late Magic Topped By Later Magic

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Seattle Sounders FC managed to pull even with the San Jose Earthquakes in the 92nd minute when Fredy Montero poached a goal on a long throw-in. Unfortunately for the Seattle side that had weathered so much pressure with a reduced lineup the game lasted just over a minute when Steven Lenhart worked his late game set-play magic and gave the 'Quakes the 2-1 winner.

Earlier in the game Simon Dawkins would take advantage of space to slot a goal near post threading through traffic and beating Michael Gspurning. Seattle would miss a few opportunities, most notably were Sammy Ochoa's two shots off the crossbar. A brilliant bicycle kick in traffic was for naught and his other was a header from a decent cross. While San Jose did have more shots overall, and more on goal, it was a match where a tie or goal lead for either team would be "fair."

That the Sounders managed to keep the league's best offense off the board for so long with a mix of a tired and second tier lineup was impressive, but in the end the quality of the Earthquakes was better. This result likely ends Seattle's chance at the Supporters' Shield. Montero's goal, though in a loss, will help Seattle if they remain tied with the Vancouver Whitecaps in points, as the Sounders have a four goal edge on their northern neighbor.

In a week that could have redefined soccer in the greater Puget Sound they only picked up three points on LA, dropped the trophy match and lost points to the Conference leader. Fitness near the end of Saturday's match was an issue; still, a lineup that started four central midfielders and Zach Scott as a centerback with no rest held their own. In league play this was a solid and acceptable performance. There are lessons that can be taken to a future MLS Cup Playoff match with no reason to think that Seattle can't win against San Jose when they must.

There is still a contest for second in the West and the possibility of topping Eastern teams for a chance at hosting the MLS Cup Final.