Behind a stunning volley from Cristian Roldan, the Seattle Sounders beat the San Jose Earthquakes 1-0 on Wednesday evening at PayPal Park in a battle of the Western Conference’s early pace-setters.

Roldan unleashed a left-footed cannon past goalkeeper JT Marcinkowski in the 18th minute, giving Seattle the game’s only goal. San Jose failed to clear a Nouhou Tolo cross from the left, and the US men’s national team midfielder emphatically finished from range.

Seattle, though, took two serious injuries, as Jordy Delem exited in the 9th minute and was spotted on the bench with crutches. Then in the 90th minute, Stefan Frei went down with an apparent knee injury and Seattle were forced to put right wingback Alex Roldan at goalkeeper after using their allotted three substitution windows.

With Alex Roldan in goal, San Jose started pumping balls into the 18-yard box. But the younger Roldan held firm on various crosses and helped the visitors clear their lines, earning three road points.

In the 15th minute, head referee Baldomero Toledo initially awarded the Earthquakes a penalty kick after Javier Lopez’s shot struck Yeimar Gomez Andrade’s arm. But the center back's body wasn’t outstretched or in an unnatural position, leading to a straightforward overturn via Video Review.

Frei preserved his shutout in the 37th minute, robbing San Jose youngster Cade Cowell. Seattle’s goalkeeper got low and to his right, keeping Cowell in check after Eric Remedi squared back following clever build-up play.

San Jose’s best second-half look arrived in the 54th minute, but winger Carlos Fierro couldn’t lash home his off-angle attempt. Fierro was played through by Cristian Espinoza and nearly deposited the one-timed feed.

Goals

  • 18' – SEA – Cristian Roldan | WATCH

Three Things

  • THE BIG PICTURE: San Jose generated plenty of chances, but couldn’t channel their comeback spirit after rallying against Real Salt Lake last weekend. The biggest worry, however, is Stefan Frei’s health. He collided with Shane O’Neill on a cross in the game’s final minutes, appearing to twist his knee in the process. Hopefully it’s not too serious and the 35-year-old can return soon.
  • MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Do yourself a favor and watch this Cristian Roldan left-footed blast on repeat.
  • MAN OF THE MATCH: Cristian Roldan bagged a stunner and was fantastic on both sides of the ball, showing his versatility as a midfielder. The Sounders missed Nicolas Lodeiro, of course, but Roldan is leveling up in a major way.

Next Up

  • SJ: Saturday, May 15 vs. Portland Timbers | 10:00 pm ET (MLS LIVE on ESPN+)
  • SEA: Sunday, May 16 vs. LAFC | 9:30 pm ET (FS1, FOX Deportes)