With their postseason aspirations hanging by a thread and an ugly road trip still fresh in their memories, the San Jose Earthquakes desperately needed a win Saturday night to keep alive their season. Fortunately for San Jose, the Seattle Sounders were its opponent. Once already this season the Quakes shutout the Sounders at Buck Shaw Stadium -- the team's only clean sheet so far this year came in that March 23 match -- and behind a Walter Martinez goal they did it again in front of a sell-out crowd at The Buck.
Seattle head coach Sigi Schmid rightfully called the match a poor advertisement of the league, but that didn't stop Center Line Soccer photographers Joe Nuxoll and Lyndsay Radnedge from capturing the game in all its colorful glory. Ugly challenges look artful in still photos, don't they?
Enjoy Walter Martinez scoring the game's only goal. Celebrate with Steven Lenhart as he block's Seattle's last ditch free kick attempt. Relish the clean sheet earned by season MVP Jon Busch in a tidy performance in goal. And look for yourself among the 10,525 in attendance at Buck Shaw Stadium.
The 1-0 victory moved the Quakes level on points in the Western Conference with the Sounders, though Seattle does have 4 games in hand, which will help lift the team's lagging confidence that they can still qualify for the playoffs. Still, a win is a win, and the Earthquakes can look forward to their next must-win game, two weeks from now against the Portland Timbers.