The match could not have possibly started any better for the Seattle Sounders. Almost as soon as the ball was kicked off, the Sounders were streaking into the San Jose Earthquakes' end. Just 18 seconds in, Clint Dempsey had the Sounders' fastest goal in their MLS history. It seemed like it was going to be one of those nights.
Well, it turned out to be, but not the kind the Sounders were surely envisioning.
The Earthquakes were able to equalize by the 13th minute and the grabbed the lead just three minutes after halftime when Brad Evans' poor attempt at a pass back to the goalkeeper was pounced on by Chris Wondolowski. Even after the Sounders went up a man in the 52nd minute when Victor Bernardez was shown a red for a thigh-high boot on Micheal Azira, the Quakes were first to strike when Innocent Emeghara turned Evans all around and scored his first MLS goal.
The Sounders pulled one back in the 84th minute on Obafemi Martins' second goal of the season, but they couldn't quite find the equalizer before falling 3-2 on Saturday.
These are what growing pains look like: Even the best center backs give up goals like the ones Evans yielded, but they usually don't do it in one game. There's a lot to like about Evans' ability to play center back -- he's smart, a good communicator and a quality passer -- but he's also learning the position. Never was that more apparent than it was today. Evans lost Wondolowski on the first goal, absolutely flubbed a pass in a spot where you simply can't do that and then got spun like a top on the third. He had other smaller mistakes, too, but he simply can't have games like this if the Sounders are going improve on last year. The good news is that it's still very early. Evans is the kind of player who can learn from a performance like this and, if he can't, there's still time to find an improvement.
Scoring fast is not always for the best: It's ridiculous to suggest that scoring a goal as quickly as the Sounders did to be anything other than a positive, but it should be said that the Earthquakes had the better of the game at least until they equalized. It was almost like a slight switch was turned off and it really wasn't until they went down 2-1 that they really had anything close to control of the match. That shouldn't happen with a veteran team, especially at home, but it did here.
Sounders may have actually missed Sigi Schmid: This will sound like blasphemy to many, but Schmid is far better at halftime adjustments than he's often given credit for. While Brian Schmetzer is not tactical dunce, you have to wonder if Schmid would have had the Sounders a little better prepared than they were. The goal they gave up just three minutes into the second half was almost entirely on Evans, but there didn't seem to be any real urgency until Bernardez's red card. Schmid will be back next week and you can bet he'll have some strong words when he is.
The chances were there: Before we get too wrapped up in how awful the Sounders were, it should be acknowledged that there were plenty of chances to tie or even win this game. For as clinical as the Sounders were in Week 1 against the Revolution, they were equally hard done this week. Earthquakes goalkeeper David Bingham was just as over-aggressive as he was a week ago and nearly handed the Sounders a couple goals, but they just couldn't get that final touch. On another night, the Sounders might win this one 4-3 despite all their mistakes. It's probably best not to overreact too much.