Seattle Sounders forward Raul Ruidiaz, right, celebrates with teammate Cristian Roldan, left after scoring a goal against the San Jose Earthquakes in the first half at Pay Pal Park in San Jose on Wed Sep 29, 2021 (AP News photo)
by Marko Ukalovic
SAN JOSE–Seattle is a force to be reckon with thanks to their dynamic duo of of Raul Ruidiaz and Cristian Roldan.
The two were involved in all three goals the Sounders scored as they cruised to a 3-1 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes on Wednesday evening at Pay Pal Park.
San Jose had its two match winning streak snapped. The Western Conference leaders have won two matches in a row and now have 51 points on the season.
Seattle (15-5-6-51 points) drew first blood in the 25th minute. Roldan serviced a ball over to Ruidiaz at the top of the D box. Ruidiaz dribbled in without any interference from a Quakes defender and beat Quakes goalie JT Marcinkowski with a left-footed shot for his team leading 15th goal of the season.
Things took a turn for the worse for San Jose (8-10-9-33 points) late in the first half when they conceded a penalty shot in the 41st minute. Roldan got in behind the Quakes defense inside the box and a diving attempt by Marcinkowski where Roldan was tripped up, resulted in a penalty by referee Allen Chapman.
Ruidiaz converted the penalty kick to the far left corner for a brace and 16th goal of the season in the 42 minute.
The Quakes didn’t generate any quality scoring chances in the first 45 minutes as they only attempted two total shots.
Seattle scored its third unanswered goal four minutes into the second half. A turnover by the Quakes in their defensive zone led to Jimmy Medranda servicing the ball into the middle from the left side as Roldan swooshed in and deflected the ball with his right foot past Marcinkowski for his fourth goal of the season in the 49th minute.
They’re a do a great job,” said Chris Wondolowski regarding Seattle’s tactical play. “Especially with their back three (defensive backs). Their best trait is they are able to push out and those three center backs do such a great job.”
The Quakes broke Sounders goalie Stefan Frei’s bid for a shutout two minutes later when Seattle conceded an own goal. Marcos Lopez serviced a ball into the middle where Benji Kinkanovic raced in with a sliding attempt but the ball was redirected in by Sounders defender Shane O’Neill.
That would be as close as San Jose would get in trying to earn any points during the match. Their offense was out of sync, misfiring on passes and moments of indecision led to Seattle laying back and playing a prevent defense throughout the second half.
“In the first half we weren’t able to find that path,” said Quakes head coach Matias Almeyda regarding the Sounders clogging up the middle of the pitch. “We made mistakes. And that means I think we didn’t have control of the game and couldn’t get to the final third of the field.”
Seattle countered whenever San Jose tried to press but weren’t able to add on as they were content with the three points.
Frei finished the match with three saves to earn the victory. Marcinkowski made two saves on five shots on target in the losing effort.
GAME NOTES: San Jose finished with 10 corner kicks. Seattle had just two.
The Quakes hold a 11-15-8 all-time record against Seattle Sounders FC, including a record of 5-5-5 at home. San Jose and Seattle had traded 1-0 road victories in their first two meetings this season.
Seattle has an 9-2-2 road record this season and are 6-1-0 in their last seven matches away from home.
UP NEXT: San Jose travel up to Vancouver to take on the Whitecaps on Saturday 10/2 at 7:00pm at BC Place.