The San Jose Earthquakes lead Major League Soccer in goals scored in the final 30 minutes of regulation and in goals scored in stoppage time.They added one of each tonight to take a 2-1 win over Sounders FC before a sellout crowd of 10,744 at Buck Shaw Stadium.
The Sounders seemed to have earned a point when they got a stoppage time goal of their own with Fredy Montero equalizing in the 92nd minute.
However, just seconds from the end of the announced three minutes of added time, Steven Lenhart went high to head in a corner kick from about 7 yards.
The win moved league-leading San Jose to 14-5-5 on the season. Seattle fell to 10-6-7 and into a third-place tie with Vancouver in the Western Conference.
It was the Sounders’ fourth game of the month, following a 120-minute Open Cup loss by penalty kicks on Wednesday. Given the heavy workload, coach Sigi Schmid went with an unusual lineup – especially up top, where Sammy Ochoa opened as the lone forward, with newcomer Christian Tiffet tucked behind him as an attacking midfielder.
The makeshift lineup stayed even with the Earthquakes in a scoreless match until the 71st minute, when Simon Dawkins returned a loose ball into the Sounders’ net.
A couple of minutes before that, Schmid made the first of his substitutions, sending in Eddie Johnson for Ochoa, who had sent a couple of scoring chances into the crossbar.
Soon thereafter, regulars Mauro Rosales and then Montero checked in.
San Jose’s opening goal was its 28th of the season in the final 30 minutes. The game-winner was the Earthquakes seventh in stoppage time.
On the eve of the match, Schmid was asked about the Quakes tendency for late heroics.
“They’re a team that keeps coming at you,” he said. “Their depth has definitely improved, so they have the ability to bring on subs and not detract from the quality of their game. … I think they’ve been able to maintain pressure on teams, because they go into a more direct attack at the end of games. Sometimes they go with the double spearhead up front of Gordon and Lenhart, who do a good job of contesting balls and winning balls, so the ball ends up being in front of your goal a lot. So it’s not by accident. It’s because of their quality, and because of the way that they play at the end of games.”
After their busy schedule, the Sounders finally can look forward to a one-game week. They will return to action next Saturday, when Vancouver visits CenturyLink Field.
Should have some quotes soon.
71 minute: GOAL San Jose. Zack Scott goes high to clear a ball in front of the goal, but Dawkins gets it a few yards father out, and knocks it back in. Quakes, 1-0.
Through 60: Scoreless. San Jose leads MLS in goals in the final 30 minutes. I asked Schmid about that this week:
"They’re a team that keeps coming at you," he said. "Their depth has definitely improved, so they have the ability to bring on subs and not detract from the quality of their game. … I think they’ve been able to maintain pressure on teams, because they go into a more direct attack at the end of games. Sometimes they go with the double spearhead up front of Gordon and Lenhart, who do a good job of contesting balls and winning balls, so the ball ends up being in front of your goal a lot. So it’s not by accident. It’s because of their quality, and because of the way that they play at the end of games."
59th minute: Ochoa hits crossbar for second time tonight. This time on a header after flick from Parke.
Second half: ... is under way.
Halftime: Scoreless first half, which I suspect the Sounders will take.
Seattle dominated possession early. San Jose started getting some chances in the middle minutes. Gspurning had to handle a few balls, but not much the Quakes offered seemed dangerous. However, the best chance so far came from Sammy Ochoa, who's bicycle/overhead head clanged off the crossbar in the 31st minute.
Coach Sigi Schmid tells KONG "It's been fine." Says Tiffert playing well now. Says Eddie Johnson for Ochoa is a possibility for second half, and that he'd like more from the flanks, too.
Kickoff: We're under way.
Lineups: I expected an unusual Sounders lineup and am not wrong: G Gspurning; D Johansson, Parke, Scott, Burch; M Evans, Alonso, Rose, Caskey, Tiffert: F Ochoa.
For San Jose: Busch, Beitashour, Bernardez, Hernandez, Morrow, Chaves, Cronin, Baca, Dawkins, Wondolowski, Lenhart.
Pregame: Exceptionally difficult task for the Sounders tonight, visiting a well-rested top-ranked club in MLS, while not well rested at all themsevles.
The basics: Sounders at San Jose, 7:30 first kick, on KONG 6/16, but no English-language radio broadcast.
We'll keep this post open all evening with pregame, in-game, and postgame reports. And we'll have other updates on Twitter @donruiztnt.
Back soon with lineups.