Call this victory improbable. Call it what you will. Bottom line is that the San Jose Earthquakes walked out of CenturyLink Field on Saturday with three points against a high powered Seattle Sounders team.
After a rather disappointing road loss last week, this result seems to make up for it and more. Seattle thrashed New England in the opening weekend and had all the momentum on its side. After a first-minute goal against the Earthquakes, there was every possibility that the Sounders would take that momentum and run away with the game. Major credit to the Earthquakes for having a strong mentality to battle back from the goal. They never lost self belief and outplayed Seattle in nearly every position.
There were very few players that didn't improve on last week's performance. The team showed significant effort all over the field, and that effort was matched with moments of real quality up front. This result should be one to build on as the Quakes prepare for the regular season opening at Avaya Stadium.
Check out last week's ratings to compare.
G David Bingham, 8 - Certainly made up for last week's error that led to the only goal. Was very active in the box, stopping crosses and attacks before they had the chance to be really dangerous. Made some fine saves to see out the game with the Quakes down to 10 men. Still takes a lot of risks, but was able to make up for them this game.
D Marvell Wynne, 9 - A standout performance from the right back. My biggest criticism of him last week was a lack of contribution in attack. Well, he assisted on Wondo's first goal, and was a handful on the right flank all game. Was beaten a couple of times defensively but overall did well to handle Seattle's big names.
D Shaun Francis, 7 - An unspectacular but solid game for Francis. Generally did well defensively, although he did get beat my Dempsey on the opening goal. Didn't have much to contribute on the attacking side, but on this night, he didn't have to.
D Paulo Renato, 6.5 - A bit of a regression from last week. Was caught ball watching (along with almost every other defender) on the opening Seattle goal. Still, did enough to limit a dangerous Seattle team, bolstered by a strong showing from the midfield.
D Victor Bernárdez, 6 - Tough to judge his game before the red card. Like Renato, did well enough to contain Seattle, but was disappointingly caught out in the first minute. Although the the play that led to the red card looked unintentional, it was rightly given. Not the worst game but not the dominating Vic we're used to seeing.
M Fatai Alashe, 7.5 - Fatai was an important part of the midfield unit that was really the difference against the Sounders. Won possession plenty of times and never looked scared to get stuck in. His next step will be to improve his passing and contribute to the attack. However, when you select a player with a top-five pick, you expect him to be able to contribute right away. And Alashe has.
M J.J. Koval, 6.5 - A much improved showing from last week. Did well playing multiple positions during the match and was useful as a center back. Still got caught in possession a few too many times and tended to give the ball away cheaply. Nevertheless, most of his contributions were positive.
M Sanna Nyassi, 7 - Not quite the dynamic performance we witnessed from him last week, but still worked his tail off all night. Showed a much improved relationship with Wynne on the right after just one week. A very valuable part of the Quakes' lineup at the moment.
M Innocent Emeghara, 8.5 - Justified the DP status in his first Earthquakes start. Like Nyassi on the opposite side he worked just as hard defensively to win possession as he did with the ball in attack. Repeatedly showed great positional awareness and excellent skill on the ball. Faded towards the end of the match, but his strike was goal-of-the-week stuff, and it deserves another look.
M Matías Pérez García, 8 - Looked dangerous all night, and was only subbed out due to necessity with Bernárdez sent off. Unlucky not to score right before halftime on a brilliant run and curled attempt. If the DP triumvirate of García, Emeghara, and Wondo continue to perform like they did Saturday, there's reason for optimism in San Jose.
F Chris Wondolowski, 9 - If he was wasteful last week, he was quite the opposite here. He was opportunistic and clinical as you like. His impressive run of form against Seattle continued with a fantastic brace, and he was even involved in the third goal. Was obviously less involved after the red card, but did some very capable defensive work after being moved into midfield.
D Ty Harden, 6.5 - Harden was useful, adding defensive help after the red card. Did enough to prevent the Sounders from coming all the way back, although he was beaten on the second goal.
F Adam Jahn, 7 - Worked hard in relative isolation up front. Wasn't asked to contribute too much offensively with only 10 men on the field, but still provided an outlet to relieve pressure late. His best moment came on the give-and-go with Emeghara on that third goal.
M Shea Salinas, 6 - Just doesn't look comfortable yet in Kinnear's team. Also worked hard defensively, but didn't contribute significantly to the action.