SEATTLE – For the San Jose Earthquakes, Saturday night’s 2-0 road defeat at the hands of the Seattle Sounders was defined by a couple of chance encounters with the goalpost that didn’t go their way.
The first came in the 58th minute with the Quakes trailing 1-0 courtesy of a goal from Clint Dempsey. Midfielder Simon Dawkins came within inches of equalizing with a pinpoint free kick, but the attempt clanged off the crossbar and fell harmlessly into the arms of Seattle goalkeeper Stefan Frei.
The next came in the 80th after San Jose were awarded a penalty kick taken by star forward Chris Wondolowski. Wondolowski got Frei to commit the wrong way but he put his shot onto the goalpost, keeping the Quakes down a goal. San Jose couldn’t recover, conceding the dagger to Sounders forward Jordan Morris just before the final whistle.
It was an uncharacteristic lapse from the spot for Wondolowski, who has converted 20 of 25 penalty kicks in his illustrious MLS career.
“He’s pretty good at [penalty kicks],” San Jose coach Dominic Kinnear said afterwards. “He’s got a lot of goals and a lot of penalties. If we get a penalty tomorrow in the first minute, I’d like for him to take it. And the next game and the next game.”
The bad breaks spoiled what Kinnear said was an otherwise solid showing from his side, which won both of their meetings with Seattle at CenturyLink Field a season ago.
“I thought we played pretty well,” Kinnear said. “There were swings of momentum during the game, we each had them. That penalty is a tough one because it’s a good chance for us. It’s a tough one. We knew we were facing a team that was going to come out and bring some momentum. Unfortunately for us, we’re the ones on the losing end of it.”
The defeat marked the first time in 22 matches that San Jose couldn’t find the scoresheet. But Kinnear said he didn’t feel that the shutout wasn’t necessarily due to a lack of chances or creativity.
“We’re always good for some chances,” Kinnear said. “I told the guys at halftime that we’re one good play away from tying the game. So it had nothing to do with chances at the end there.”
The Quakes won’t be afforded much time to dwell on the defeat. San Jose now have a quick turnaround, as they take on Kinnear's former team, the Houston Dynamo, on Wednesday at Avaya Stadium (10:30 pm ET, MLS Live).
“You don’t want to forget it because you want to remember the things you did well and the things you didn’t do well so the next time out you can rectify all the errors you made,” Kinnear said. “But I think the guys are looking forward to Wednesday – I know I am.”