'Quakes up for stern test against Sounders
Santa Clara, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - The San Jose Earthquakes will aim for a second consecutive victory on Saturday when the club hosts West rivals Seattle Sounders FC in the first-ever game played at Levi's Stadium, the new home of the San Francisco 49ers.
The 'Quakes have struggled for most of the season, but ended a five-game winless run in emphatic fashion last time out with a comfortable 5-1 drubbing of the Chicago Fire on July 23.
The Quakes opened the scoring in the 45th minute. From midfield, Yannick Djalo sent a first-time ball into space for Shea Salinas to chase down the left wing. He then collected the pass and cut inside, firing home from inside the penalty area.
San Jose doubled its lead in the 52nd minute through Atiba Harris, who pounded home a rebound following a save by Sean Johnson on Chris Wondolowski, who then made it 3-0 in the 62nd minute slipping in a nifty shot from 12 yards past Johnson after Harris set him free from midfield.
The Fire drew a goal back in the 75th minute when Grant Ward collected a pass from Matt Watson and ripped a first-time laser from the edge of the area into the far side netting.
But the Quakes poured it on late as Djalo cheekily chipped Johnson from outside the area in the 79th minute and Cordell Cato then slotted home five minutes later from a Wondolowski pass to complete the rout.
"I feel as though the team has been gelling of late, but it hasn't resulted in goals or wins. I think there have been some positive signs recently," said 'Quakes head coach Mark Watson. "I thought New York was a good performance as well. I thought we did some good things, but we just didn't have that quality in the final third. We continued to do that, raised our quality in the final third and scored some goals."
Seattle, meanwhile, is coming off its worst defeat of the season -- a 3-0 loss at the hands of the Los Angeles Galaxy on Monday at CenturyLink Field.
The Galaxy took the lead in the eighth minute. Landon Donovan was freed behind the Seattle defense and put in a low centering pass that Gyasi Zardes slotted home past Seattle goalkeeper Stefan Frei from the heart of the penalty area.
The Galaxy lead was doubled just 10 minutes later when midfielder Marcelo Sarvas blasted a shot that defected off Frei and landed directly in front of a wide-open Donovan, who tapped home the rebound.
It was 3-0 by the 36th minute as Stefan Ishizaki added the exclamation point, slamming home a feed from Sarvas after finding himself isolated on the right side of the Seattle defense, pushing the margin to the halftime lead that would hold up as the final score.
"I think from top to bottom there wasn't a single guy who could say they played anywhere near their potential, but all I can do is look at myself from a personal standpoint and as a leader on this team and a veteran guy regardless of who�s on the field you need to be able to hold the team together and specifically the defense," said Seattle defender Zach Scott. "Letting in three goals is just ridiculous. I'm embarrassed."
"We didn't connect passes early in the game; they put a lot of pressure on us. We lost confidence in our passing early out of the back. We lost confidence in that, so we are lumping up 50-50 balls. We lost a majority of the duels in the game. As a result of that, they had more [goals]. So today they were better," said Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid.
08/01 16:59:24 ET