SEATTLE (AP) — The key to Saturday night’s game was simple for the San Jose Earthquakes: Effort.
San Jose coach Dominic Kinnear was more than pleased with the determination his team showed, as Chris Wondolowski scored a pair of goals to lead an undermanned Earthquake squad to an obstacle-filled 3-2 win over the Seattle Sounders (1-1-0) in front of 39,175 at CenturyLink Field.
“It’s good to see an effort like that no matter when,” Kinnear said. “If we didn’t have that effort tonight, we were going to lose that game.”
San Jose (1-1-0) faced its first obstacle a mere 18 seconds into the game as Clint Dempsey headed in a rebound off a miss by Tyrone Mears to score the club’s earliest goal in a game. The previous record was held by Eddie Johnson, who scored a second-minute goal in 2012 against Colorado.
Wondolowski answered in the 13th minute, though, to tie it at 1. After he settled a cross from Marvell Wynne with his chest, Wondolowski easily beat goalkeeper Stefan Frei.
“I think we bounced back well,” Wondolowski said. “I think it gives us a little bit more character and a little bit more belief, too, since we got it quickly back rather than having to claw back late.”
The forward then made it 2-1 in 48th minute after Brad Evans was unable to clear a ball in the box back to Frei. The loose ball was easily taken by Wondolowski, who then finished an easy attempt.
Wondolowski has scored nine against the Sounders, the most by any active MLS player against the club.
“To be honest, I love it whether there is 40,000 fans screaming for you or against you,” said Wondolowski of his success against Seattle. “They create a great atmosphere, and it makes it exciting to play. It makes it fun to play up here.”
San Jose played nearly the entire second half a man down after Victor Bernardez was sent off in the 52nd minute for a bad tackle attempt.
“I think every team kind of goes through that, where a lot of things go their way and a lot of things don’t,” Kinnear said.
Innocent Emeghara added a goal in the 70th minute to make it 3-1. It would prove to be crucial as Obafemi Martins cut it to 3-2 in the 84th minute.
The San Jose defense was able to keep a steady Seattle attack from tying the game in the final minutes, though, to preserve the road win.
“Hit and miss,” acting head coach Brian Schmetzer said of the Seattle offense. “I don’t really think we had a ton of clean chances until the (Obafemi Martins’) goal. I think after that everyone got a little more inspired. It’s always hard to play a match when you go up a man, certainly down a goal and up a man made things even more difficult.”
The Sounders played without coach Sigi Schmid, who missed the game to attend his son’s wedding. Schmetzer, his first assistant, took over the duties for the third time during Schmid’s reign. Schmetzer is 2-1 acting as the coach.