SANTA CLARA, Calif. – The only history being made at Levi’s Stadium on Saturday night was San Jose Earthquakes attacker Yannick Djaló delivering the first score in the new arena’s debut event.
Seattle Sounders coach Sigi Schmid will have to wait another week to try for his own milestone after Djaló’s 42nd minute strike delivered a 1-0 victory for the Quakes in front of 48,765 fans.
San Jose (6-8-5) extended their unbeaten streak to a season-best three games with their second win on the run, moving them into a tie for eighth place in the Western Conference with Chivas USA, pending the Rojiblancos’ game against FC Dallas on Sunday.
Seattle (12-6-2) suffered their first losing streak of the season with a second straight defeat. Schmid, MLS’ leader in coaching victories, can try for his 200th again next weekend against Houston.
Djaló rolled home his third goal of the season to finish a nifty sequence of San Jose passing, a rare moment of sophistication in a mostly ragged first half.
Wondolowski’s equally cultured lead pass allowed Djaló to streak past Zach Scott. With Stefan Frei caught in no-man’s-land, Djaló used the outside of his right foot to knock his initial touch past the Seattle goalkeeper and inside the far post.
The Quakes wasted chances to double their lead in the 59th and 61st minutes, with Atiba Harris rocketing a rebound attempt over the crossbar on the first and Djaló firing just wide from another lead pass by Wondolowski on the second.
Wondolowski’s pass in that instance was fractionally too heavy, and Djaló – who already missed six matches this season with a variety of ailments – appeared to injure himself in the chase. After a lengthy stay on the turf, Djaló limped off the pitch and was replaced by Khari Stephenson.
Seattle poured on the pressure after that. San Jose goalkeeper Jon Busch touched Kenny Cooper’s header over the crossbar in the 68th minute, then turned aside Gonzalo Pineda’s free kick 11 minutes later.
The Sounders’ best chance arrived in the 85th minute from the head of Chad Barrett, who rose to smartly meet Pineda’s corner kick. But Wondolowski, manning the near post on a Seattle corner kick, was able to head clear the attempt.
Seattle’s final gasp came three minutes into injury time, when Quakes midfielder Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi conceded a dangerous free kick at 23 yards. Clint Dempsey’s strike went harmlessly into the wall, however.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Chris Wondolowski||Fabulous chip to set up game-winner; and Wondo came up big on other end, too, with late goal-line clearance|
|2||Jason Hernandez||Full credit to veteran defender, who filled in admirably again in absence of injured Clarence Goodson|
|3||Clint Dempsey||Deuce did what he could, but it just wasn't enough; so why not an audacious bike kick in the late going?|