San Jose’s 1-0 win at Seattle on not only dropped the Sounders below .500 for the season, but it dropped them to 2-3-1 at Qwest Field.
That loss of a dependable home fortress is a source of frustration for the club, which lost only two of 15 home games last season.
“That has to stop where teams come here and think they’re going to win or expect to win,” midfielder Steve Zakuani said. “We don’t like that. We’ve lost too many at home already. In any league in the world, the best teams are the teams that dominate at home. We did that last year, and we can’t get where we’re going (on the road) depending on getting points. That shouldn’t be the case.”
Yet, that’s the way it is for now, as the Sounders have been better away from home, earning points in three of their four road games with a win at New York and draws at Salt Lake and Dallas.
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Coach Sigi Schmid’s theory is that Qwest Field’s sellout crowds of more than twice the league average bring out the best in visiting teams.“Every team comes in here and is excited about playing here,” he said.
“It’s different for them; this is not the atmosphere they have at home. So for them, this is a thrilling, exciting experience, and that sometimes work against us.”
San Jose veteran Bobby Convey, who has played in the English Premier League and around the world with the U.S. national team, agreed that the Saturday crowd of 35,953 got the attention of the Earthquakes, who draw an average of 9,514 at San Jose.
Every player, no matter home or away, takes the energy from the crowd,” he said. “I think it helped us early on."