In perhaps the most costly defeat of the season, the Sounders limped off the pitch Saturday night at Buck Shaw Stadium in Santa Clara with a 1-0 loss to the Earthquakes and an injury list longer than coach Sigi Schmid’s face. Topping off the debacle was a final-minute red card for Osvaldo Alonso, who was just back from a four-game injury sit-out, and now must sit out the next game.
Just as galling was that the Sounders’ second shutout in a row came against a depleted team missing its best player, defending MLS MVP Chris Wondolowski, and three other teammates called to national team duty. The Quakes also had given up a league-worst 32 goals.
Not long after the Quakes’ Walter Martinez faked DeAndre Yedlin in the 47th minute and slipped a shot across the goal and just inside the far post, past emergency backup goalie Andrew Weber, defender Jimmy Traore was replaced. That was the third and last substitute, all from injuries in a brutal game — 35 fouls and six cards – from a roster that entered the game with eight players unavailable.
“That was an ugly, ugly, ugly, ugly, ugly, ugly, ugly game of soccer,” Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said. “I have nothing against the coaching staff and nothing against the players, but you can’t create chances when a team kicks you and doesn’t want to play soccer.”
Brad Evans went out in the 31st minute with a rib injury. Goalie Michael Gspurning earlier in the game was kicked in the left forearm by Steve Lenhart as Gspurning wrapped up a save. He made it to halftime, but gave way to Weber, who was playing for a USL club team in Phoenix at midweek when he was brought in because backup Marcus Hahnemann was hurt in a reserve game Sunday.
The lineup mash-up resulted in the disjointed Sounders, knocked around rugby style by the Quakes, not getting a shot on goal until the 82nd minute against a team they beat 4-0 at the Clink May 11. Early in the game, Eddie Johnson had a score disallowed on an offsides call. He’s now scoreless in his past five games.
A win would have given the Sounders their best MLS record at the seasonal midpoint in club history. Instead, they are 7-7-3 and have lost five of their past eight, including shutouts in three of the past four. They lost the season series 1-2 to San Jose (6-9-6), which also beat Seattle 1-0 March 23.
Alonso, the club’s three-time MVP, was a welcome sight back in the lineup after missing four games with a thigh strain. But his outster, apparently for words to the referee, will cost him the next match against Colorado at the Clink Saturday.
Seattle did not have the services of two starters, F Obafemi Martins and MF Shalrie Joseph, both out with calf injuries. Besides Hahnemann, three other backups were injured in the reserve game Sunday: MF Andy Rose (hamstring), MF Philip Lund (foot tendon) and MF Alex Caskey (ankle). GK Josh Ford was already out after knee surgery, as was Steve Zakuani (sports hernia).