Sounders 1 – 2 Earthquakes
Another 3 points dropped for the Sounders. This time it was a 6 point swing against the division leading San Jose Earthquakes.
This loss makes it almost inevitable that the Sounders will not catch the Quakes and take over first place in the division.
As the table sits Saturday night, the Sounders find themselves in 4th place in the west, a point behind both L.A., and Real Salt Lake, and are clear of Vancouver by eleven for the final playoff spot.
With four of the five games that remain against possible playoff teams (L.A., Vancouver, RSL, and FC Dallas), plus the Cascadia Cup determining match with Portland, the Sounders face an uphill battle heading into the post season.
Second place doesn’t even seem like the gimme it was a couple weeks ago. This team has got to find a way to bury its opponents when given the chance.
That, and the fact that when the game isn’t going their way, the players seem to lose their cool, which resulted in a couple yellow cards tonight to Christian Tiffert and Osvaldo Alonso.
I guess the only silver lining is that Steve Zakuani finally netted his first goal, saving it for the home crowd at the XBOX Pitch.
Didn’t give up fight
Even as the minutes were winding down, and even into stoppage time, the Sounders did keep fighting for that equalizing goal.
Estrada couldn’t quite come up with the ball, and the angle may have been a bit too steep by the time he got it, but it was a wonderful run that was picked up on by Montero.
It is nice to finally have Estrada back in the lineup.
I think more impressive on this certain play was the dribbling abilities of Sammy Ochoa, not only defy his defender, but maintaining possession before finally putting in a ground cross to a wide open Steve Zakuani right outside the 6 yard box.
A perfect gimme goal for Zakuani. Couldn’t ask for a better way to cap his comeback from that terrible injury more than 15 months ago.
His recuperation has come full circle, and he can finally get back to just playing football, and letting the game come to him.
There was nothing that Michael Gspurning could have done with this ball.
A goal that more resembled a power forward getting the deflection in hockey than a goal scored in a soccer match, but given the rate of goals scored by Chris Wondolowski, how come he was allowed to go unmarked inside the 6 on this play?
This is just a lapse in judgement by the Sounders defenders. More like a lapse in responsibility.
This is why this team is now fighting for third place, instead of 1st.
The set piece defense has been atrocious for the last month of the season.
Brad Evans once again came up just wide on a shot that was caused by excellent back checking style defense by the Sounders.
Evans has been coming up on the short end of his shots the past few weeks. He has had ample opportunities to score, and by doing so, the Sounders would still be right on the Quakes heels going into the playoffs.
Maybe it’s time to give somebody else a look Sigi, Evans’ play in midfield may be good, but if he can’t make the keeper make a stop, there is no point in having him in possession of the ball during an attack.
Tough loss tonight, but I think the Sounders waited, like always, until the end to really make their push for the equalizer.
Next up is Vancouver on Saturday night. Game will be shown nationally on the NBC Sports Network.
Full match highlights were not available at time of article, so I included the goal by Steve Zakuani. It was more monumental than the loss anyways.
Video courtesy of mlssoccer.com