(San Francisco, CA) The San Jose Earthquakes’ bid for the US Open Cup ended at Kezar Stadium, but a new, fierce rivalry may have been born. The Quakes dropped a 1-0 decision to the Seattle Sounders Tuesday night, a rough and tumble affair that escalated as the night wore on; even past the final whistle.
“You put 22 guys on a small field, a bumpy field, with a referee that let a lot of stuff go, and there’s going to be a lot of fire,” Chris Wondolowski said. “At the end, one of their guys took a cheap shot at Jed Zayner and it escalated from there.”
After Seattle took an early lead, the night grew colder, and the game got rougher. Three yellow cards were handed out over the games’ final 22 minutes, topped off by a red card to San Jose’s Alan Gordon in stoppage time. When the game ended, Seattle’s Eddie Johnson “was celebrating in front of our bench and yelling at our fans,” Wondolowski said. “Jed (Zayner) told him to go do it over and do it on his side, and he took a swing and hit Jed in his eye.”
Both teams met in the middle of the field as Johnson was pulled away by his teammates and the San Jose trainers looked after Zayner. As the grumbling crowd made their way to the exits, the Sounders waited at midfield until security could safely escort them off the pitch.
“It’s a rival game. I know us and LA are big rivals, but us and Seattle are growing as well,” Wondolowski said. “They’re a good team, and any time you play a good team, you have to ready to tackle, to fight and battle. They were ready, and so were we, so that’s what happens.”
The game’s lone goal came in the 19th minute. Seattle’s Cordello Cato, a Trinidadian youth international who had a brief trial with San Jose last year, was almost on the right side end line when he slotted a shot between goalkeeper David Bingham’s legs, hitting the net just inside the far post.
After a quiet opening period, San Jose bolstered their attack in the second half, bringing Wondolowski, Steven Lenhart, and Marvin Chavez off the bench, but while the Earthquakes looked much brighter the rest of the way, they couldn’t break through Seattle’s 5-4-1 formation. Andrew Weber, whose contract option was not picked up by San Jose this winter, picked up the shutout in goal for Seattle.
“I give Seattle credit for the way they defended, especially the last 35 minutes,” San Jose coach Frank Yallop said. “Realistically, we had enough chances to get something out of it.”
In stoppage time, a shot by Victor Bernardez from the top of the penalty looked to be knocked down by a Seattle defender’s arm, but San Jose’s appeal for a hand ball, and a penalty kick, were denied by referee Yader Reyes.
“It looked a hand ball,” Yallop said. “I thought we had a couple calls that could have gone our way. That’s being diplomatic.”
Yallop refused to discuss the game’s rough ending, though he could be heard arguing with the Seattle coaching staff all the way to the locker room door. “There’s always a rivalry between us and Seattle,” he said. “We beat them once this year, (now) they beat us in the Cup, and we’ll play them twice again this year. So, we got to look forward to that.”
While Seattle goes on to the US Open Cup semifinal, their hopes of an unprecedented fourth straight Open Cup title still alive, San Jose prepares to face the LA Galaxy in front of a sold out Stanford Stadium crown on Saturday.
“This is a game we would have loved to have won,” Yallop said. “We’re knocked out in the quarterfinals of the Cup. Cup competitions are about one game. Our league form has been good and solid and consistent. We’ve got to make sure we’re focused, and ready for the weekend.”
Seattle Sounders FC at San Jose Earthquakes
June 26, 2012 — Kezar Stadium in San Francisco, Calif.
Scoring Summary: SEA — Cordell Cato (unassisted) 19.
Misconduct Summary: SJ — Alan Gordon (caution) 49; SEA — Zach Scott (caution) 51; SJ — Justin Morrow (caution) 75; SEA — Andy Rose (caution) 82; SJ — Alan Gordon (ejection) 93; SEA — Marc Burch (caution) 94.
San Jose Earthquakes — David Bingham, Steven Beitashour, Victor Bernardez, Ike Opara, Justin Morrow, Rafael Baca (Marvin Chavez 80), Sam Cronin, Tressor Moreno (Steven Lenhart 53), Shea Salinas, Khari Stephenson (Chris Wondolowski 53), Alan Gordon.
Statistics: Total Shots: 7; Shots on Goal: 4; Saves: 4; Fouls: 12; Offside: 3; Corner Kicks: 11.
Seattle Sounders FC — Andrew Weber, Brad Evans, Patrick Ianni, Zach Scott, Leo Gonzalez, Cordell Cato (Marc Burch 82), Servando Carrasco, Andy Rose, Alvaro Fernadez (Jhon Kennedy Hurtado 89), Roger Levesque, Sammy Ochoa (Eddie Johnson 75).
Statistics: Total Shots: 8; Shots on Goal: 4; Saves: 4; Fouls: 9; Offside: 1; Corner Kicks: 3.