Neagle brace helps Sounders lather Quakes
By Michael Ligot
The scoreboard said, “Free Haircut, 1 goal to go!” when Seattle’s Michael Gspurning punted the ball from his penalty area.
A half-minute later, Lamar Neagle got that haircut-earning third goal of the game that also clipped San Jose’s hoodoo over the Sounders.
Neagle’s goal, his second of the game and season, emphatically clinched the Seattle Sounders FC’s 4-0 win over the visiting San Jose Earthquakes Saturday. That, with additional markers from Mauro Rosales and substitute Obafemi Martins, slammed a four-game losing streak against the defending Supporters Shield winners.
Gspurning’s punt eventually found its way to the foot of Servando Carrasco. The midfielder sent a pass on the right wing to Neagle, who barely stayed onside. Neagle snaked his way into the San Jose area, where he juked Earthquakes defender Justin Morrow. Before Victor Bernardez could help Morrow out, Neagle had blasted a shot past a helpless Jon Busch. The 38,880-strong crowd at CenturyLink Field celebrated the Sounders’ third goal, which earned them a free haircut at hairstyling chain Great Clips.
That 54th.-minute goal complemented the Federal Way products’ season account-opener a half-hour in. A minute after referee Jair Marrufo declined to whistle a takedown of Neagle by an Earthquakes’ defender, Mauro Rosales intercepted a bad backwards pass from Sam Cronin in midfield. Brad Evans fed a diagonal ball to Eddie Johnson on the right wing. Johnson’s cross was chested back to Rosales, who found a trailing Neagle. Steven Beitashour couldn’t close Neagle down before he drilled a one-time shot past Busch for the 1-0 Seattle lead. “(Neagle’s) a gamer,” Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said.
San Jose (14 points, 3-5-4 W-D-L, fifth in the Western Conference) took majority of possession after the goal, but just before halftime, Rosales of Seattle (12 points, 3-3-3, sixth in the West) made the Quakes pay for the games’ first caution.
Rafael Baca entered Marrufo’s book for taking down Evans between the legs from behind on a not-that-dangerous play outside of the box. Seattle’s Argentine captain nailed a curving free kick that Busch punched, but it hit the post and went in for Rosales’ second of 2013 and the Sounders’s 2-0 halftime lead.
With Steven Leinhart suspended, Alan Gordon inaccurate and Chris Wondolowski marked out of the match, San Jose’s trademark “Goonies” comeback skills didn’t have a chance to materialize. They did launch several attacks, but Gspurning was well-positioned to snuff anything out.
Martins, in just his second home game, rubbed salt into the wounds in injury time. A second-half sub for Evans, whom Schmid said was nursing a sore calf, he threaded the ball through the hapless Morrow’s legs, and snuck it past Busch for the four-spot and his second of the year.
The only remaining talking point wad a collision between Johnson and Wondolowski. After the two went after a ball, Wondolowski clipped Johnson (according to Johnson), and Johnson shoved Wondolowski (according to Wondolowski). Both entered Marrufo’s book, although Wondolowski expressed surprise after the game when Marrufo said his card was for a shove.
That ended a four-game run of San Jose wins over Seattle, dating back to a season sweep in 2012. The Sounders’ previous win was 2-1 in October of 2011, Kasey Keller’s last regular-season home game.
The teams next and final match of the season is July 13 at Buck Shaw Stadium, which will resolve the 1-1 season series. Both teams, who had played three games in two weeks, get seven days to rest for their next matches, Seattle at home versus West leader Dallas, San Jose at home versus Colorado.
1) Seattle, Neagle (Rosales, Johnson), 28′
2) Seattle, Rosales 45+1′
3) Seattle, Neagle (Carrasco) 54′
4) Seattle, Martins 90+3′
STATISTICS (from MLSSoccer.com)
Shots: Seattle 6+8=14, San Jose 10+6=16
Shots on Goal: Seattle 3+3=6, San Jose 2+1=3
Saves: Seattle 2+1=3, San Jose 1+2=3
Corners: Seattle 0+1=1, San Jose 1+1=2
Offsides Seattle 0+0=0, San Jose 0+2=2
Fouls: Seattle 6+7=13, San Jose 6+4=10
Cautions: Seattle 1 (Johnson 88′), San Jose 2 (Baca 45′, Wondolowski 88′)
Duels Won: Seattle 21+32=53, San Jose 39+28=67
Duels Percentage: Seattle 44.2%, San Jose 33.8%
Possession: Seattle 47.2% San Jose 52.8%
Seattle: Gspurning; González, Traore, Scott, Yedlin; Alonso, Evans (Martins 55′), Rosales (Martínez 62′), Carrasco; Neagle (Estrada 86′), Johnson.
San Jose: Busch; Morrow, Gargan, Beitashour, Bernardez; Cronin, Corrales (Salinas 64′), Martinez, Baca; Wondolowski, Gordon (Tracy 65′).
Officials: referee Marrufo, referee’s assistants Jallow and Johnson, fourth official Cisneros.