Saturday, May 22, 2010

SOUNDERS FC: Sounders lose 1-0 off early San Jose goal

Zakuani lays in fetal position after
his shot deflected back into his head.
Jane Gershovich / NSS

It’s almost cliché at this point, but once again the Seattle Sounders appeared to outplay the visiting San Jose Earthquakes Saturday afternoon. The only difference is the ‘Quakes scored and the Sounders didn’t.

One could write the same basic story for the Seattle Sounders countless times since they opened in Qwest Field last season. Opposing team scores on its few shots. Sounders dominate possession but can’t find net.

That's what happened at Qwest Field today as Seattle lost 1-0.

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Such is the state of the Seattle Sounders, who teased fans with a win last week at New York but couldn’t notch one at home. In fact, it’s been more than a month since Seattle won in Qwest Field (April 17 against Kansas City.)

The game began, as it usually does, with Seattle appearing somewhat flat, unable to connect passes through the midfield to build up any attack. San Jose, however, looked sharp controlling most of the possession.

It all boiled over with a goal in the 11th minute off a corner kick that yielded a lose ball falling to the head of defender Bobby Burling who passed it off to the unguarded forward Chris Wondolowski for the easy goal from the far post.

"I think we all need to look inside ourselves and ask ourselves why it takes us 10-15 minutes to start playing," head coach Sigi Schmid said.

Zakuani takes a shot at Joe Cannon, who blocked
it right back into Zakuani's forehead.
Jane Gershovich / NSS

Afterward, the San Jose defense was content sitting back preventing attack after attack from Seattle, who finished with 18 shots and three targeted on goal. Meanwhile, San Jose accumulated just three shots with one on goal. Think about that for a second. For those mathematically challenged, Seattle had six times more shots than the visiting side.

Even the second-half offensive substitutions of Pat Noonen and Miguel Montano couldn’t spark a goal.

Perhaps the best chance of the game came in the 85th minute from the 18-year-old Montano. Montano had a wide open shot five yards from the net but failed to capitalize on the cross that put the ball at his feet, letting the ball sail wide.

Seattle even received Freddie Montero's best effort, maybe ever in a Seattle uniform, as he made deep runs and even contributed defensively.

By the end, Seattle’s desperation was punctuated by Kasey Keller running across the field into San Jose goalkeeper Joe Cannon’s net for a corner kick (speaking of corner kicks, Seattle had 11 but didn't score - what's new?) Perhaps an extra man could convert a goal?

The play ended with Keller frantically running back the length of the field as San Jose regained possession from the fray and attempted an empty netter, which sailed wide.

As the game ended, nearly every Sounder bent over in frustration. How could so many chances yield nothing? Schmid and the rest of the team will need to find an answer to that question if they hope to stay in contention this year and keep the fans happy.

Reach Aaron Weinberg at