The San Jose Earthquakes nicked a goal just before halftime and held off a furious charge in the second half to stun the Seattle Sounders 1-0 Saturday afternoon at Lumen Field.

Cristian Espinoza scored the lone goal just before the halftime whistle, slotting a low left-footed shot past Stefan Cleveland in first-half stoppage time to help the Quakes snap an 11-match winless streak.

The goal came against the run of play, with the Sounders asking most all of the questions to that point. Raul Ruidiaz had two quality chances in a six-minute span before the half-hour mark, but he fired over the crossbar with JT Marcinkowski sprinting off his line after being played behind by Joao Paulo. Then the Quakes goalkeeper denied him with a one-handed save.

Ruidiaz played provider in the 34th minute, settling a long ball out of the back and sending Reed Baker-Whiting into the box. But again Marcinkowski came up with the critical save.

The Sounders dominated possession after halftime and had a quality chance to level just before the hour mark when Joao Paulo settled the ball and fired dangerously toward the net, but his shot pulled just wide.

Will Bruin made his return from injury in the 83rd minute, joining Ruidiaz and Fredy Montero in the quest for an equalizer. Bruin nearly put a charge in the crowd two minutes later with a run behind the Quakes defense, but his low shot toward the far post was off the mark.

Chris Wondolowski celebrated what he thought was the 89th-minute dagger, but the goal was waved off following Video Review when it was determined the ball had gone out of touch in the buildup.

That gave the Sounders a lifeline, as did the eight minutes of stoppage time, but they were unable to find that elusive goal and the Earthquakes celebrated their first win since May 7.

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Goals

  • 45’+1’ – SJ – Cristian Espinoza | WATCH

Three Things

  • THE BIG PICTURE: This was the definition of a smash-and-grab win. The Sounders had 65 percent of the possession, an 11-5 edge in shots and 7-1 in corner kicks. But San Jose took advantage of a lapse in concentration late in the first half and made sure Espinoza’s goal held up to secure three massive three points. Seattle were not only punished for that lapse, but for not being clinical in the final third, especially after the opening 30 minutes, to lose at home for the second straight game.
  • MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Had Marcinkowski not made this save on Ruidiaz, the result surely would have been a different one.
  • MAN OF THE MATCH: Marcinkowski was pressed into action early, making two of his three saves in the opening 35 minutes. He then managed the result well in the second half, frustrating the Sounders and their fans with every delayed restart.

Next Up

  • SEA: Wednesday, August 4 vs. FC Dallas | 10 pm ET (MLS LIVE on ESPN+)
  • SJ: Wednesday, August 4 at Portland Timbers | 10:30 pm ET (MLS LIVE on ESPN+)

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