The Sounders’ “bogey” team, as coach Sigi Schmid refers to a lopsided rivalry, is over as regards the San Jose Earthquakes. Lamar Neagle scored goals in the 28th and 54th minutes and Mauro Rosales drove in a free kick to win 4-0 Saturday at the Clink — a season high and the most goals Seattle has scored in 12 MLS games against the Quakes.
The triumph broke a four-game losing streak to San Jose, including the first meeting this year between the clubs, and lifted Seattle (3-3-3) out of the basement of the MLS West, where they have been for the season’s first 2½ months, to sixth place.
The Sounders are 3-0-2 in their past five, and the turnaround from the dismal start put a smile on the face of coach Sigi Schmid.
“There’s a lot of pride in that locker room and there was a lot of disappointment when we didn’t get off to the start we wanted,” he said. “We had a little bit of a distraction called the Champions League, as well, that held our focus and we accomplished some things there. We were the first U.S. team to knock off a Mexican team in a head-to-head, and I think that can’t be minimized as to how big that was.
“And we were right there — we were one goal away from possibly advancing to the finals. We did well there. I just think the guys know they’re quality, they know they’re better than that, and since that game, everybody’s sort of been very determined about turning it around.”
The Quakes (3-4-5), winners of the 2012 MLS Supporters Shield, continued their rocky start. They have yet to win on the road, where the Sounders have been since April 13. Seattle was 2-0-1 in those games and Saturday gave the 38,380 supporters on hand their first glimpse in 2013 of an MLS home win.
Neagle, from Federal Way, began the scoring when he steamed goalward after Mauro Rosales deflected down from his chest a cross from Eddie Johnson. Rosales sent the ball away from goal but Neagle redirected it from 14 yards so sharply that goalie John Busch hand no chance even though he put his hands on the ball.
Busch was a solo victim again in the 44th minute when Rosales received a free kick following a yellow-card foul on Rafael Baca, who pulled down Brad Evans from behind. Rosales’ shot from 23 yards sailed up and over the defensive wall and bent just inside the near post beyond beyond Busch’s reach. The shot made up for an earlier miss for Rosales when his diving header in front of an open net sailed wide left.
The 2-0 halftime lead went to 3-0 nine minutes into the second half when Neagle scored again. He corralled a high service and dribbled past three defenders before left-footing a worm-burner that just skimmed the inside near post before finding net.
Neagle was coming off a one-game suspension after a red card for fighting, so he felt the need for some make-up.
“Whenever that happens you feel like you’ve let your teammates down a bit and let them out to dry,” he said. “So coming back I had a lot of adrenaline and wanted to prove that I was supposed to be there.”
Obafemi Martins, the heralded designated player, was a 65th minute substitute and scored during stoppage time when he regained the ball after he was dispossessed by a San Jose defender and fired from seven yards.