Obafemi Martins scored the go-ahead goal early on as a World Cup depleted Seattle Sounders team defeated an even more ravaged San Jose Earthquakes squad, 1-0, on Saturday evening.
Martins goal came off an absurd angle on a chip shot, and luckily it went in. The Sounders, missing Clint Dempsey because of World Cup duties, weren't the most inventive offensively in the game. Although Lamar Neagle had a couple of good looks, for much of the evening, the Sounders couldn't capitalize. Somewhat shoddy animated GIF of Martin's goal below.
The Sounders back line sounded like an April Fools joke, but it was more than enough to render the Earthquakes front line meaningless. The Earthquakes managed one shot on target, giving Stefan Frei a much easier time after last week's drubbing.
It was the right tone to set for the club to rebound with a Cascadia match coming up next week. The Sounders travel to Vancouver to face the rivals to the north for the first time this season.
Post game notes
- Sounders FC remained atop the Supporters' Shield standings with 25 points through 12 games, averaging 2.08 points per game.
- Obafemi Martins scored his fifth goal of the season, ranking second on Sounders FC. His six assists lead MLS and his five goals are tied-seventh. Martins has scored (5) or assisted (6) in nine of his 12 appearances.
- Gonzalo Pineda recorded his fourth assist of the season, ranking second on Sounders FC and tied-fourth in MLS.
- Leo Gonzalez returned to the starting lineup for the first time since a 2-1 win at Chivas USA on April 19.
- Sounders FC scored the first goal of the game for the sixth time (4-1-1) this season and first time since a 4-1 win over the Colorado Rapids on April 26.
- Seattle's four-game home winning streak is the longest in MLS this season. The streak has included wins over the Colorado Rapids (April 26), Philadelphia Union (May 3), FC Dallas (May 7) and San Jose (May 17).
- Sounders FC has won the most home games (5) this season, going 5-2-0 for a league-best 15 points.
- The shutout marked the third of the season for Sounders FC, and first since a 2-0 road win at Montreal on March 23.
- Seattle earned its league-best eighth win of the season. It is the earliest in club history that Sounders FC has earned eight wins. The previous record was 19 games (2011, 2012 and 2013).
- Sounders FC improved to 6-2-0 in one-goal games this season, marking the most wins in games decided by one goal.
- Sounders FC expanded seating to include the upper bowl at CenturyLink Field for the first time this season as 49,746 were in attendance, marking the largest single-game attendance in MLS this season. Seattle leads the league with an average attendance of 40,211. Sounders FC improved to 9-0-3 in games played in front of an attendance of over 40,000.
- The match marked Seattle's annual Military Appreciation Night as the club honored service members from the five branches.
SEA - Obafemi Martins (Gonzalo Pineda) 8'
Seattle Sounders FC - Stefan Frei, Jalil Anibaba, Zach Scott, Chad Marshall, Leo Gonzalez, Lamar Neagle (Andy Rose 90+1), Osvaldo Alonso, Gonzalo Pineda, Marco Pappa (Dylan Remick 87), Obafemi Martins, Kenny Cooper (Chad Barrett 70).
Substitutes Not Used: Marcus Hahnemann, Djimi Traore, Micheal Azira, Tristan Bowen.
TOTAL SHOTS: 16 (Neagle 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 5 (Neagle 3); FOULS: 7 (7 players, 1); OFFSIDE: 2 (Cooper 2); CORNER KICKS: 6 (Pappa, Pineda 3); SAVES: 1 (Frei 1).
San Jose Earthquakes - Jon Busch, Brandon Barklage, Ty Harden, Jordan Stewart, Shaun Francis, Cordell Cato (Sam Garza, 80), Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi (JJ Kovall, 88), Sam Cronin, Khari Stephenson, Atiba Harris, Billy Schuler (Mike Fucito 75).
Substitutes Not Used: Bryan Meredith, Adam Jahn.
TOTAL SHOTS: 8 (Stephenson 5); SHOTS ON GOAL: 1 (Stephenson 1); FOULS: 4 (Stephenson 2); OFFSIDE: 2 (Cato, Shuler 1); CORNER KICKS: 2 (Cato 2); SAVES: 5 (Busch 5).
SEA - Gonzalo Pineda (caution) 90'
Referee: Jair Marrufo
Referee's Assistants: Claudio Badea, Matthew Nelson
4th Official: Baboucarr Jallow
Time of Game: 1:50
Weather: Cloudy and 63 degrees
All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial
Sigi Schmid- Sounders FC Head Coach
(Opening Statement...) "[I am] pleased with the victory. We got a clean sheet-it's been a while since we did that. That's something we tried to improve this week, concentrating on the defensive aspect as we move forward. I thought in the second half we had some good looks, some good chances. Jon Busch came up with some big saves in the second half to keep it at one, but overall I was very pleased with our defensive effort and the things we created. Fantastic goal by Oba (Martins), showing his quality."
(On choosing the lineup...) "(Jalil) Anibaba has played a lot of right back last year for Chicago, so that's what we came with him at right back. Depending on what they were coming with-they like to play long balls and big target players-so we thought Zach Scott was a good choice because he is one of our better players in the air, along with Chad Marshall. We felt that was good for us as well. Leo (Gonzalez) was healthy enough to come to the team, as well as Kenny Cooper."
(On the offensive performance...) "It's always fantastic when you get an early goal. We always talk about coming out and putting pressure on them, going after them early on. I thought we did that. After we scored I thought we took our foot off the accelerator a little bit, allowing them to get back in the game. They had some good passing, but a lot of it was in their deep end of the field. I wish we would have pressed a little bit more, but right now I am just happy with what we came away with-three points is always the most important."
(On the defensive performance...) "I think the defenders did a great job. The outside guys, Marco (Pappa) contributed a much better effort defensively, as did Lamar (Neagle), so that really helped us as well. The nature of (Jalil) Anibaba and Leo (Gonzalez) are little more defensive-orientated than DeAndre (Yedlin) and Brad (Evans), but overall, even with those guys, we would have done well because of the commitment of the team after what happened last week."
(On the development of on-field chemistry...) "It was OK, sometimes it's still in the making. The partnership between Oba (Martins) and (Clint) Dempsey didn't hit full stride, but I think Kenny (Cooper) did alright. He had some good looks as well. There was one time in the first half and another in the second half. And I thought Chad Barrett came in and had a good relationship as well. We will continue to develop."
(On Obafemi Martins getting more touches...) "He knows he's got to drop and find the ball a little more. When he drops you saw Oba get touches a little more...I thought Oba was fantastic tonight. He was busy, he was active; he put in a tremendous effort in terms of covering ground tonight. "
(On San Jose traveling 16 players...) "We didn't talk about it much at all except guessing what their lineup would be, assuming they would have some big guys up front. Guys are missing, so other guys are on the field, and they give you something different. The effort they give you may be something different than the other guys. A guy like Shaun Francis steps up and gets his opportunity, he wants to show a coach he belongs out there."
(On the shutout...) "I think after last week we decided we wanted to play better defensively. We were all committed to defending as a group, so it was good to get the shutout today."
(On Martins' goal...) "That's an outstanding goal...It's just an athletic ability you can't teach that, it's just something that someone has. It's definitely as good as a goal that's been scored here."
(On Martins' performance...) "I thought he covered a ton of ground today. I thought he was really motivated and played well. In his disappointment in not being selected, he's not walking around moping. He is going out there and showing, 'Hey, you made a mistake.' And that's good for us. What he did for Seattle was fantastic."
(On playing in front of the season's largest crowd...) "We always feel that. We do alright when fans show up. You can definitely sense it-it's a little bit louder for sure when we step onto the field. There was a great energy in the beginning."
Obafemi Martins - Sounders FC Forward
(On his goal...) "I saw Gonzo (Pineda) with the ball, and I just made the run and he got me the ball. There was nothing I could do other than just play it over the top of the goalkeeper. Afterward, I wasn't sure if I had scored, so I listened to the fans reaction."