SEATTLE — The San Jose Earthquakes were lucky to lose to the Seattle Sounders 7-1. In what is almost certainly the most dominant performance of the club’s MLS history, Brian Schmetzer’s squad crushed their opponents wire-to-wire and ran up the score despite missing a handful of gilt-edged chances. Even the Earthquakes’ goal came on highly questionable penalty as Tommy Thompson clearly stepped on Xavier Arreaga’s foot before diving to the ground.
Regardless, the Sounders now claim the top spot in the West and are looking like true Supporters’ Shield contenders for the first time all year. If the team was looking for a good rebound victory after their Portland loss, they certainly found it.
4 — Xavier Arreaga hit a line-splitting pass to Jordan Morris at midfield. Morris spun Florian Jungworth and then gallivanted 40 yards towards goal more or less uncontested. Morris then neatly tucked the ball into the lower left corner for the opening goal.
12 — Arreaga started another attack with a nice find to Jones in the midfield. Jones took a neat first touch to evade his defender before slipping Nicolas Lodeiro into box. Lodeiro then played a cheeky cut back to Raul Ruidiaz for the tap in. Best team goal of the year.
15 — Kelvin Leerdam notched his third goal of the year after making an overlapping run down the right. No one from San Jose seemed to track that run. There were 32 completed passes on the buildup as all 11 Sounders touched the ball. Also the best team goal of the year.
20 — Jones and Morris 1-2’d just about every San Jose defender before the ball squirted to Ruidiaz unmarked in the box. Ruidiaz centered the ball back to Jones for goal No. 4.
33 — The rout continued with another Arreaga-to-Morris connection out of the back (this time aided by a clever Lodeiro dummy). Morris played an exquisite ball to Ruidiaz who wrong-footed the keeper for his second goal.
37 — The soccer gods showed mercy to San Jose as Daniel Vega made a sprawling save to deny the Sounders sixth goal of the match on two very good chances for Morris. The first came on a 1v1 chance and the second on an uncontested header following the corner.
43 — Another merciful bounce for San Jose as Paul Marie deflected a goalbound effort from Jones over the bar.
48 — Shane O’Neill immediately joined in on the fun with a beautiful floated ball to Morris over the back line. Morris then played an overlapping Leerdam who hit an equally beautiful cutback cross that Joao Paulo finished neatly.
55 — Joevin Jones arrived just moments late on a Nouhou cross that Ruidiaz had smartly flicked on.
60 — Schmetzer rudely decided to leave Jones and Morris in the match past the 55th minute, and they unsurprisingly torched San Jose once again for goal No. 7. If this was a youth match, the goal would’ve been the moment when Schmetzer started getting a lot of side eye from opposing parents, but alas it’s professional soccer, and all the Earthquakes could do was bow their heads in dejection.
67 — Despite the lack of action on his end of the field, Stefan Frei was alert enough to make a good reaction save on an Eric Calvillo shot.
71 — Tommy Thompson stepped on Arreaga’s lunging foot and earned a PK. It was a questionable call, but Chris Wondolowski didn’t care as he buried the penalty to give San Jose the faintest of silver linings.
82 — The bear got his paw caught in the proverbial honey bucket as he looked off a simple pass to Lodeiro for what would’ve been an easy shot on goal. Instead, the ball got caught under Bruin’s feet and the chance was squandered.
Wingers get wild: Six different Sounders found their way onto the box score with goals or assists. Of all the stat stuffers, Jones and Morris stood tallest, each racking up four goals plus assists. When your wingers combine for eight goals and assists, you’re gonna have a good time. While Morris lighting up opposing backlines has become somewhat common place, Jones’ performance came as more of a surprise. If Jones can keep putting in good shifts at outside mid as well as outside back, the Sounders depth will be fantastic moving forward.
Attacking central midfield pays off: The Sounders started a very dynamic central midfield trio with Joao Paulo, Cristian Roldan, and Lodeiro all taking turns getting forward. The extra attacking prowess clearly paid off as the Sounders notched 88% pass completion and 56% possession, both massive improvements from their matchup against San Jose earlier in the year. Against a different side, Gustav Svensson’s defending ability will still be crucial, but chasing a goal or needing to break a press, the JP, Roldan, Lodeiro trio may be good option moving forward.
Centerbacks pulls the strings: San Jose’s man-marking scheme necessitates that opposing centerbacks becomes playmakers as they’re often the only ones left unmarked on the pitch. The Sounders’ CBs stepped up to the challenge and then some. At least three Sounders goals started from line-breaking passes from the centerbacks, two from Arreaga and one from O’Neill. Passing has always been one of Arreaga’s strengths, but to see O’Neill get in on the action was a welcomed change of pace since the stalwart defender hasn’t seen as much of the ball in his previous appearances.
Did you see that?!?
This was a very rude back heel from Joevin Jones. Totally disrespectful against a team that’s so clearly outmatched.
Joevin Jones makes it 4-0. pic.twitter.com/1FNmVcm7kj— Sounder At Heart (@sounderatheart) September 11, 2020
He said what?!?
Somber, but important words from coach.
Schmetzer on fires: "People need to recognize that climate change is happening."— Sounder At Heart (@sounderatheart) September 11, 2020
The game in one stat
7 — The seven goals set a franchise record for the Sounders, as did the six-goal margin of victory.
Man of the Match
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