SEATTLE — The Seattle Sounders' slow start is quickly fading into the rearview mirror.
Behind a pair of goals from Lamar Neagle and a goal and assist from Mauro Rosales, the Sounders had their most dominant performance of the season and beat the San Jose Earthquakes 4-0 on Saturday.
Since opening the season with a 0-3-1 record, the Sounders have now gone 3-0-2 and are just two points out of playoff position in the Western Conference.
The Earthquakes, meanwhile, seem to be heading in the opposite direction, and are now 1-3-4 since beating the Sounders on March 23.
Rosales spurned a chance to put Seattle up with a wide-open header in the 24th minute, but made amends four minutes later when he helped set up Neagle’s opener. After a turnover in midfield from a too-clever Sam Cronin backheel, the Sounders broke the other way, with Rosales eventually chesting it down for an on-rushing Neagle to laser past Jon Busch.
The Earthquakes had several golden opportunities to equalize but were unable to find the final touch. Alan Gordon, returning from a four-game suspension, felt the rust in the final third, twice missing from close range. Chris Wondolowski also had a solid chance, but his redirect attempt was right at Gspurning.
Those misses would prove especially problematic as Rosales completed his redemption for his earlier flubbed header by curling a 20-yard free kick inside the near post just moments before the halftime whistle.
After going 38 matches without registering a goal and an assist in the same game, Rosales has now done that twice in his past three.
The Sounders essentially put the game away when Neagle got his other goal. The forward fought off a pair of Quakes defenders to control Servando Carrasco's pass and then put a left-footed shot inside the near post to beat Busch from about 16 yards out.
Just for good measure, Obafemi Martins put the final touches on the win with a stoppage time goal. He now has two goals four MLS appearances.
The loss ended the Quakes' four-game league winning against the Sounders. It was also the first time since July 23, 2011 that they had given up four goals in a match.
San Jose (3-4-5, 14 points) drop to fifth in the West, and return home to Buck Shaw Stadium to host the Colorado Rapids next weekend. Seattle (3-3-3, 12 points) climb to sixth in the West, and host front-runners FC Dallas next Saturday.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Lamar Neagle||There's at least one guy in the Seattle locker room who doesn't think it's going to be EJ and Oba up top. Can't take Neagle out of the lineup at this point.|
|2||Mauro Rosales||Finally healthy, and finally playing like a DP again. Was a creative force in midfield, hit a set-piece beauty and was always finding and creating space.|
|3||Zach Scott||When you play the Quakes, you've got to be ready to battle in the 18. That's what Scott did, and was mostly effective - esepecially in the second half.|