Despite a huge edge in time of possession (57.7 percent to 43.3), the Sounders couldn’t cope with the absences of Clint Dempsey (suspension) and Obafemi Martins (groin injury), or the fatigue factor of playing a U.S. Open Cup overtime Tuesday. They lost to San Jose 2-0 Saturday at CenturyLink Field. The Sounders have lost twice at home this season both to the Earthquakes.
Although the Sounders (9-5-2) failed to register a point (they played without four players who had accounted for 18 of their league-high 23 goals), they remain one point ahead of D.C. United in the race for the Supporters’ Shield.
“We just didn’t generate enough offense,” said head coach Sigi Schmid. “Marco Pappa was under the weather, but at the end of the day we just didn’t have enough. There was a little bit of tiredness from Tuesday (the Cup loss to Portland), but the other side of the coin is that they (Earthquakes) were the better team on the day. They caught us at the perfect time. Right now for us, it’s about getting healthy bodies available.”
Dempsey sat out, serving the first of a three-game suspension for a red card incurred against the Timbers for shredding the referee’s notebook. Martins won’t play for three to six weeks after his injury against the Timbers. The Sounders were also without their third designated player, Ozzie Alonso, nursing a hamstring.
Despite the MIAs, the Sounders had a 3-1 edge in shots on target in the first half and a 59.1 percent edge in time of possession. Their best scoring opportunity came in the 13th minute when Lamar Neagle’s powerful shot forced goalie David Bingham to tip the effort over the crossbar.
But the Sounders went into intermission trailing 1-0 on a 28th-minute goal by former Sounder Sanna Nyassi (2009-10; left the franchise for Vancouver in the 2010 MLS expansion draft), whose blast to the far post did not allow Seattle goalkeeper Stefan Frei any chance at a save. In the 34th minute, Andy Rose was denied at close range by Bingham.
Seattle did not get another chance on target in the second half.
Matias Perez Garcia, who set up Nyassi’s goal in the first half, notched his first goal of the season in the 73rd minute, effectively clinching the match.
Bingham recorded his fifth shutout as the Earthquakes halted a three-match losing streak. The Earthquakes are 8-2-1 in matches against Seattle since 2012.
Seattle’s Chad Barrett (three goals) and Leo Gonzalez (1) did not play due to injuries.
The Sounders travel to Philadelphia to meet the Union at 4 p.m. PT Wednesday.