This was a game San Jose needed to win in their push to secure a cup playoff berth. The good news was that both Pelosi and Godoy were back in the Quakes midfield. With Victor Bernardez out injured, Quakes head coach Dominic Kinnear decided to play Alashe out of his usual position, slotting him into the defense alongside Goodson.
It soon became apparent that with the return of Pelosi and Godoy the Quakes midfield was back in business. They provided the midfield linkage that enabled the Quakes to play more like the team that recently enjoyed a four-game winning streak, and a lot less like the one that ran out 2-1 losers against Philadelphia last game.
The first 15 minutes set the tone for a game that alternated between a slow-paced affair with occasional flare ups of end-to-end play. As is always the case when these two teams go head-to-head it was a physical game right from the off.
The Sounders looked their most dangerous playing the ball up the middle via Martens and Dempsey, who found some penetration into the San Jose box. The Quakes were at their most effective when they chose to attack up the wings with Cato and Salinas.
In the 38th minute, after executing great control, Wondolowski pivoted and fired a wicked volley that slammed into the Sounders post.
The 46th minute saw Goodson, possibly inspired by Benteke’s goal against Manchester United today, attempt a spectacular bicycle kick that flew wide of the goal.
The half ended 0–0 with San Jose having enjoyed, if indeed that is what they did, just 37% of the possession
In the second half by as early as the 60th minute both teams were looking decidedly tired and the pace slowed. Alashe looked to be doing well in his unaccustomed defensive role and this must bode well for Wednesday’s game against the Montréal Impact when he’ll have the unenviable task of finding a way to stop Didier Drogba.
The second half also saw Salinas attacking the Sounders box, delivering balls into the area, and generally getting himself more into the game.
If I live to be 100 years old I’ll never understand MLS teams tendency to play free kicks in perfectly good attacking positions quickly, and then all the way back through the defense to the goalkeeper.
By the 65th minute play was often so slow I had to blink sometimes to make sure I wasn’t looking at a photograph. In the 69th minute Jahn came on for Amarikwa and Garcia came on for Pelosi.
A minute later Garcia made good use of a free kick just outside the Sounders box, close to the byline, and sent in a great ball. Alashe rose above the defense and bobbleheaded the ball into the net.
1-0 San Jose
Garcia and Alashe had applied the cardiac paddles to Avaya and the place started rocking. Unfortunately the goal also seemed to signal a shift in the game’s momentum. It was difficult to tell whether San Jose had decided to fall asleep having scored a goal, or whether Seattle had just woken up to the fact that they been scored against.
After a period of protracted Sounders pressure the 82nd minute saw Martins pounce on a ball parried out by Quakes goalkeeper Bingham and in went the tying goal.
San Jose 1 Seattle 1
The last 8 minutes plus 4 minutes added-on were played out with a physicality that often made the game resemble a bizarre combination of soccer, rugby, and wrestling. The final whistle went and the game ended in a 1-1 tie
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES HEAD COACH DOMINIC KINNEAR
"Wednesday is a very important game. We are in the mix for the playoffs. There are no easy games left, that goes without saying. Winning this game would have put us in a great spot and a tie is not the result that we would desire. A win on Wednesday puts us in good spot."
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES DEFENDER CLARENCE GOODSON
On Anibal Godoy and Marc Pelosi returning to the lineup:
"They cover a lot of ground. I think they're both comfortable on the ball and you could see we had good spells of possession throughout the game and we had them sitting back pretty deep, especially in the second half."
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES MIDFIELDER FATAI ALASHE
On making his first career start at center back:
"It was good. Obviously it was a little bit different, but I think having Clay [Clarence Goodson] back there helped out a lot. We've got a lot of veteran guys on the backline, so having those guys talk me through it definitely helped out a lot. I think communication was key between the four of us."
Next game San Jose play host to the Montreal Impact, Wednesday Sept. 16 kick off at 7:30 p.m. PT; broadcast live on CSN California, 1590 KLIV and 1370 KZSF