SEATTLE — After falling behind 2-0, the Seattle Sounders rallied to salvage a 2-2 with the San Jose Earthquakes on Wednesday. It was a disappointing result to be sure, but the Sounders were at least able to rally after looking about as bad as they had all year.
- The match started brightly enough for the Sounders and deploying Lodeiro as a false-9 seemed to be causing some confusion. The chances were coming in bunches and through 17 minutes they had out shot the Earthquakes 9-0 with four of them on frame. A goal seemed inevitable.
- But San Jose was able to staunch the bleeding and slowly turn the tide. By the time Shea Salinas scored in the 33rd minute — putting Kelvin Leerdam on skates before blasting it past Stefan Frei — it was a deserved 1-0 lead.
- Brian Schmetzer did not get the halftime response he had hoped for. The Earthquakes came out firing, hitting the goal post in the 47th minute and then again in the 53rd minute. Shortly after the second ball off the woodwork, Salinas grabbed his second when he was left unmarked at the back post and put away Cristian Espinoza’s cross.
- As if that weren’t bad enough, Victor Rodriguez was forced out of the game after falling hard following a midfield collision.
- Rather that deflate the Sounders, though, the injury seemed to finally wake them up. Two minutes after Rodriguez left the match, Leerdam’s diving header off a Lodeiro corner kick cut the deficit to 2-1. Just two minutes after that, Harry Shipp — who had entered for Gustav Svensson — equalized on a clever redirection of a Lodeiro pass.
- The Quakes then came right back and forced Stefan Frei into a couple huge saves. First he stopped Ramirez on a 1-v-1. He then stopped Florian Jungwirth on the doorstep just a minute later.
- It was then Daniel Vega’s chance to come up with a big save, denying Handwalla Bwana on a point-blank header that seemed destined to be the winner.
Two points dropped: There’s no hiding from the fact that the Sounders were forced to settle for one point at home against one of the league’s worst teams — even if they are playing better. What makes it even worse is that this was their most winnable game until they host Orlando City on May 15, a game that will be played on short rest itself. There’s no reason they can’t right the ship, but these were points they could have used.
Testing the depth: On one hand, there were some encouraging performances from players normally relied on for depth. Harry Shipp provided an obvious spark after entering the game; Handwalla Bwana had some obvious bright moments, even if it was an uneven performance; and Henry Wingo brought energy and made some good runs. But those players are no longer depth pieces, as all are likely to be thrust into bigger roles. Gustav Svensson (hamstring), Nouhou (ankle) and Victor Rodriguez (collision) all came out of the game with various injuries, adding to the uncertain nature of Raúl Ruidíaz and Will Bruin.
Defensive woes: The man-marking system was clearly a bit of a challenge for the Sounders, but that doesn’t explain why the once-stout defense has now allowed six goals in two games — and eight in three. Like the LAFC match, this game featured numerous defensive breakdowns and the Sounders should thank their stars they have Stefan Frei in goal or this would have been an ugly loss. More concerning than the chances themselves is how easy they’ve come. Salinas’ second goal, in particular, was especially galling as he was left completely unmarked at the back post after Jackson Yueill had hit the post moments earlier. At that point, the Sounders looked absolutely deflated.
Did you see that?!?
Stefan Frei saves the day. pic.twitter.com/qje85amIi3— Sounder At Heart (@sounderatheart) April 25, 2019
Shortly after tying the game, the Sounders nearly gave back the point. But Frei came up absolutely huge to keep it even.
One stat to tell the tale
38 — The two teams combined for 38 shots, 21 of them by the Sounders.
Quote of the Day
Harry Shipp with some interesting thoughts on the tactical challenges presented by playing the Matias Almeyda-led Quakes: "That was probably as chaotic a 30 minutes as I’ve ever been a part of in MLS. It felt like a track meet out there." pic.twitter.com/3aKsM3ScXj— Ari Liljenwall (@AriLiljenwall) April 25, 2019
Man of the match
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