Sounders FC can't overcome early San Jose goal, lose 1-0
Seattle has plenty of scoring chances, but can't convert and didn't win for the third straight time at home
Seattle Times staff reporter
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The frustration of Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid was palpable during a postgame interview as he relentlessly fiddled with his watch.
His team had suffered another disappointing loss at home Saturday afternoon, this time a 1-0 defeat to San Jose in front of 35,953 fans at Qwest Field. For the second time in three weeks, his team stood at a soul-searching moment.
"I think we all need to look inside ourselves and ask ourselves why it takes 10-15 minutes before we start playing," Schmid said. "We have to look at ourselves as to why we spend game time to argue insistently with referees. We've got ask ourselves, if a guy hits a bad pass, why we throw up our hands and stop playing for a second?"
The last couple rhetorical questions appeared to be pointed at star midfielder Freddie Ljungberg, who is known for his open displays on emotion on the field.
Ljungberg, however, disagreed with Schmid's feelings and fired back.
"I've played in the biggest teams in the world," he said, "and you need to get upset if the ref isn't doing the right thing as you think. And if you lose your passion, you won't play."
Seattle (3-4-3) certainly didn't play with enough passion in the first 10 minutes of the game. The Sounders struggled dearly to hold on to the ball and were punished in the 11th minute when a San Jose cross by Tacoma native Joey Gjertsen was flicked on by two Earthquakes to forward Chris Wondolowski on the far post, who slammed home the close-range shot for the 1-0 lead and his fifth goal of the season.
San Jose (5-2-1) held on the final 79 minutes for its fourth straight shutout, but it was the poor start that did the home team in.
"I think the game was lost in the first 10 minutes," said forward/midfielder Steve Zakuani. "They came out, and we gave them too much time. I don't think we touched the ball in the first 10 (minutes), and then they got their goal. And after that we decided to play."
After the San Jose goal, the tables turned in Seattle's favor. In fact, the home team held a 7-1 advantage in shots at halftime and had 18 attempts on goal in the game.
As fans have become accustomed, each chance was squandered.
"We created enough chances to win this game comfortably," said goalkeeper Kasey Keller.
Seattle is winless in its last three games at home, a span of more than a month dating to April 17. At the one-third mark of the regular season, Keller said the trend of disappointing results can't continue.
"I think I said a while ago that I kept feeling like this corner was going to get turned," Keller said, "but at some stage there has to be some accountability."
• Saturday's game was the first in a home-and-home series between the teams for the 2010 Heritage Cup, a fan-driven tournament for MLS teams with roots in the old North American Soccer League. Seattle and San Jose are currently the two old teams in the league that qualify for the competition, but next year Portland and Vancouver will join the field.
• Seattle was without forward/midfielder Brad Evans (knee) and midfielders Peter Vagenas (quad) and Osvaldo Alonso (quad) due to injury. Defender Jeff Parke, signed last week, made the 18-man gameday roster for the first time but didn't play.
• Seattle's next game is an international friendly against traditional Argentina power Boca Juniors on Wednesday.
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or email@example.com
EARTHQUAKES 1, SOUNDERS FC 0
|San Jose||1 0 — 1|
|Seattle||0 0 — 0|
San Jose — Joe Cannon, Jason Hernandez, Bobby Burling, Chris Leitch, Andre Luiz, Joey Gjertsen (Steven Beitashour, 55th), Ramiro Corrales (Brad Ring, 89th), Bobby Convey, Brandon McDonald, Ryan Johnson (Scott Sealy, 69th), Chris Wondolowski.
Seattle — Kasey Keller, Leo Gonzalez (Pat Noonan, 76th), James Riley, Patrick Ianni, Nathan Sturgis, Tyrone Marshall, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Sanna Nyassi (Miguel Montano, 62nd), Steve Zakuani, Freddie Ljungberg, Fredy Montero.