Photo credit: @SJEarthquakes
By Marko Ukalovic
SAN JOSE — The Seattle Sounders (6-9-5) picked up an important three points to keep their slim playoff hopes alive, thanks to a birthday gift from one of their new forwards. Raul Riadiaz scored in his first MLS start to help the Sounders shutout the San Jose Earthquakes (2-12-6) 1-0 at Avaya Stadium on Wednesday night.
With the latest loss, San Jose is now on a season-long 11-game winless streak (13 overall if you count the U.S. Open Cup loss against Portland and the Manchester United match), which includes three consecutive shutouts. Seattle is currently on a five-game unbeaten streak.
The Sounders received the lone and game-winning goal in the 62nd minute when off a turnover at midfield, Cristian Roldan center a pass over to Rual Ruidiaz, who turned 28-years-old today, who gathered the ball and fired a shot past Quakes goalkeeper Andrew Tarbell into the lower left corner of the goal for the first MLS career goal of the Peruvian striker.
The first half possession of the ball was merely even with Seattle holding a slight edge of 51%-48% over San Jose. Both teams had scoring chances, but could not find the back of the net in the first 45 minutes. San Jose fired off seven shots (with two on target) while Seattle had five shots (with one on target).
Guram Kashia, making his MLS debut with the Quakes, fired off a header from a Nick Lima centering pass that was stopped by Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei in the 16th minute. He also had another header attempt just sail over the cross-bar in the 70th minute.
“He hadn’t played for a couple of months actually,” said Quakes head coach Mikael Stahre regarding Kashia’s debut. “He gave quite a solid performance and was one of the best players on the Earthquakes this evening.”
Luis Felipe Fernandez, also making his MLS debut with the Quakes, was issued a yellow card from referee Kevin Stott 38th minute for a sliding tackle.
“I don’t understand why I got carded,” said Fernandez regarding the call. “We both slid for the ball, I got the yellow card and he didn’t.”
Best chance for the Quakes came in the 80th minute. Quakes captain Chris Wondolowski shot from the left corner of the goal six yards out that just sailed wide of the net after taking a nice pass from Quincy Amarikwa, who came in as a substitute in the 69th minute for Danny Hoesen.
“We have to be ruthless and lethal when we’re in that final third (of the pitch) and we’re nowhere near that,” said Wondolowski. “We have guys we let them turn in the midfield and run right through us. Poor turnovers, these mistakes are the difference (in the game).”
Stahre called it a slow game between both teams and believed it was more of a 0-0 game from his perspective.
“In general the game was with out energy, I think it was quite a slow game,” said Starhe. “Both teams possessed the ball in a good way but there was hardly any high pressing. There were very few good chances.”
GAME NOTES: Quakes defender Anibal Godoy was suspended for the match due to receiving his second yellow card last week against Montreal.
Will Bruin substituted for Ruidiaz in the 66th minute. This was Ruidiaz’s second game back from playing on the Peruvian World Cup team. Not a bad gift to give oneself scoring a goal on his 28th birthday.
Wondolowski is currently the all-time leading scorer against Seattle with 11 goals.
San Jose is now 10-9-5 versus Seattle and 5-2-4 at home.
Attendance for the match was 16,478.
UP NEXT: The Quakes host Real Salt Lake on Saturday, July 28 at 7:30 pm PDT at Avaya Stadium.