MLS- Seattle Sounders

Earthquakes ride strong defense, controversial penalty to win in Seattle

  EarthquakesWin (Getty)

The San Jose Earthquakes did an outstanding job shutting down the vaunted Seattle Sounders attack, but their stunning 1-0 victory over the Sounders on Saturday night was marred to some extent by the controversial penalty that helped them score the winner.

Forward Steven Lenhart fell in the penalty area after contact with Seattle defender Marc Burch and collapsed to the ground, drawing a penalty that Chris Wondolowski converted in San Jose's 1-0 victory at CenturyLink Field.

Lenhart appeared to go down very easily as Burch appeared to trip him. Seattle head coach Sigi Schmid wasn't too impressed with the play, and implied it was a dive.

“That’s (Lenhart's) game,” Schmid said after the match. “That’s what he does all the time. He does it all the time and then afterward he apologizes, so that’s his thing.”

The penalty decision aside, San Jose did extremely well to neutralize Seattle's high-powered attack, with goalkeeper Jon Busch making some outstanding saves, and the back four keeping David Estrada and Fredy Montero in check.

Here are the match highlights:

The victory improves San Jose to 3-1 on the season, and into a tie for first place in the West with Real Salt Lake.

What did you think of the match? Did you think Lenhart dove, or was it a legit penalty? Impressed with San Jose's defense?

Share your thoughts below.

  • JohnC

    Oh, I hate watching Lenhart play. Guy dives, hacks, elbows, whines to the ref and does it for 90 minutes. I also hate that damn afro. He pulled this same crap in Philly last year, trying to get Calif carded. That call in the Sounders game was a joke, it was a dive and it wasn’t part of the play. Steven Lenhart, the bigger, goofier looking Carlos Ruiz of MLS.


  • Me

    Definitely a dive. Lenhart looked right at Burch before proceeding to run into his leg. Neither team looked particularly good last night and a draw would have been the “fair result.”


  • CA

    Pretty weak pk. 9 times out of ten that isnt called. So in that regard, San Jose got lucky. On the other hand, the Sounders couldn’t find the back of the net at home in front of 38k of their own fans. And that makes me even madder than the pk.


  • Sergio Hernandez

    It was embellished for sure. But there was enough contact for the penalty, in my opinion. Also, the Quakes played a very solid game. The back line rarely allowed Seattle any good chances. They have allowed one goal in four matches, and that goal was a penalty against the Dynamo. If their attack can start clicking more in the final third, this team can go far.


  • Tony in Quakeland

    Lenhart is becoming one of my least favorite players. It was not only a dive, but it seems to me that the Quakes were hitting the deck on the slightest contact all night. I thought he was looking for contact at the beginning of the play, then came and deliberately came back across looking for it again. I hate this type of play


  • ex_sweeper

    Yep, he dove. Granted, Burch stuck out a leg, and also swiped backwards with his arm, but come on… It takes more than that to send someone flying.

    Watching Lenhart turn the Quakes games into a wrestling match is like waiting for Mario Balotelli to do something stupid (but without the redeeming awesome skills). You know it’s going to happen, it’s hilarious in a sort of perverted way, but it doesn’t produce watchable soccer. While Lenhart is on the field, the Quakes play is rushed and chaotic, although it sometimes gets results.

    Very impressed by Victor Bernardez. He has taken a back line that last year invariably conceded a goal in the final 15 minutes and turned them into a cohesive unit.

    I’d like to start a pool – how many games do you think Stephen will miss this year due to suspension. My guess is 3 or 4.


  • BEB

    Both. Burch moved into him a bit, but Lenhart flopped, too. Most of the time, not a PK.

    What you don’t see is that about 10 seconds earlier, Sideshow Bob had given a Sounders player a full-on two-handed shove in the back. So when you loom at the context, it’s 100% up his alley- he pulls cheap s***, shoves and hacks, draws a bit of a response, and once in a while it pays (lke last night).

    It’s effective, and shameful.


  • Every team are thugs except Seattle

    Lenhart just beat Seattle at their own game. What everyone else calls diving, Seattle calls embellishing. It was crap, but Seattle’s antics forfeit any right to complain. Hey Flaco, what did you think of Lenhart’s dive? Montero, how’d you like that?


  • Henry

    Yes, Sigi’s comments about Lenhart are hilarious. It could be any coach in the league talking about Fernandez or Montero. So funny. It’s only b.s. when someone does it against you I guess.


  • yee

    i actually kinda like lenhart, for the simple fact that when i tried out for the APU team years ago, i nutmegged lenny twice in a scrimmage 🙂 Then he kicked the crap out of me next time i had the ball. and he made the team, and i didn’t. but at least i embarrassed him once


  • SETI

    I really hate players who play very physically, yet go down in a heap with the slightest contact against them. Lenhart is a perfect example of that player, he flies into players with elbows and his studs, grads, wrestles, and throws players. And when an opposing player so much as brushes upon him he acts like he’s been hit by a truck. Shameful.

    If you are going to play physical you should be able to take it in return.


  • vivalosburros

    I know that people (rightly) do not like Lenhart. But I fail to see how this can be considered a dive. Burch definitely catches his left foot. It is not a lot, but definitely enough to make him go down. Should it be a pk? I think it is a little soft, however, I don’t think it is the wrong call.


  • g?

    Zakuani-Missed at least a year due to tackle.
    Rosales-Missed playoffs due to repeated tackles.
    Flaco-Subbed out early in playoffs after tackle.
    Evans-Missed game due to tackle.
    Alonso-THANKFULLY avoided the same sort of injury as Rosales in the Toronto game.

    And embellishing? You REALLY think one player making a meal of challenges (Montero is not as bad as you seem to assert) makes it team ‘antics’? After Sigi stated explicitly this week that they’re trying to get Flaco to cut the diving?



  • Travis

    If refs start calling that as a PK we are going to see a whole lot more PKs cause that happens all the time on set pieces and other crosses.


  • Lassidawg

    The real problem with the call was the 2 handed shove not called on the play about 5 seconds earlier. For all the stuff that isnt called in the box that was weak.
    If sj can only beat Seattle 1-0 with the line up Seattle had to throw out there, then they are going to have bigger issues later in the year. The Sounders will be fine.


  • Cholmondeley Warner

    As previously stated any team with Fernandez in their line-up has little right to complain about diving


  • yee

    oh i see, the sounders lost at home and the quakes shut them out, but the quakes are in trouble, and the sounders are fine. LOL. what a delusional justification for a loss


  • Quakes87

    It was the same player, Burch. I think thats what sigi said when he does that the same thing every game and apologizes. Maybe the ref saw Burch go in and thought it was a retaliation attempt. Whatever it was Lenhart won the mind game there. I like him because he is on my team, but I would probably react the same way if he pulled that stunt on us. What a pest


  • Cello

    I agree on Fernandez. I will say that last year and so far this year Montero has not seemed interested in pulling the diving crap like he used to. Who can forget the hands to the face and fall down with nobody within five yards vs. Dallas in 2010. However, Seattle’s reputation is definitely warranted. Since they came in they have always had the league’s worst divers. Ljungberg set the league standard and while at the time I think most Sounders fans actually thought he was getting fouled, they seem to have caught on now. Montero played the game for a spell. And now Fernandez. It’s just hard to feel sorry them.


  • Hella Bay Area

    It was a PK because the Ref called it! The Quakes have the strongest D in the league and will stay at the top of table for the rest of the year.


  • Mark

    Fell in the box! You mean when the defender stuck out his leg and then used an arm to push him over that leg.



  • Polo

    You have Fernandez and Montero on your team. Possibly the two biggest divers in the league.

    Shut up.


  • marco

    A dismal game that no one deserved to win. Sigi will not contend with that line-up. The win against Houston with a similar side was pure luck. This loss goes to GM Hanauer who traded needed subs Fucito, and Neagle for the invisible EJ. Hanauer has some other skeletons in his closet, a recent one, passing on Soares and Anibaba in the draft saying they were not good enough. The fans deserve better, and should vote him out.


  • divers suck

    When the run of play and the ball is 30 yards away, yes it’s the wrong call.


  • divers suck

    Steve Zakuani and the oft clobbered on Mauro Rosales would beg to differ I’m sure.


  • Ballin is My Hobby

    Rafael Baca and Marvin Chavez soared in the midfield, opening the attack with colorful, creative football that at times reminded one of watching the likes of Iniesta and Xavi at Barcelona


  • vik

    It was interesting how central Chavez came at times. He did a great job of pressing and switching play. Baca is also more thoughtful than any of our other box to box midfielders.


  • lassidawg

    It isn’t being delusional it is being truthful, the Sounders didn’t play well. The reason they didn’t play well is they were without 3 or 4 starters and played most of the game with their 7th, 8th and 9th best midfielders. Then throw in Zach Scott trying to complete a pass it is easy to see why they lost and didn’t score.

    My point is if that is the best SJ can do is get a soft PK and win once the Sounders get healthy they will be one of the top teams without question.

    Nice job to SJ to get the win they deserved it, but if that is the best they have I am not too worried about SJ.


  • lassidawg

    Name a better line up, given who was available.

    Estrada is a better version of Fucito, Neagle would have helped last night, but when everyone is healthy he will be option number6 at best.


  • paul

    Weak PK, but I don’t think Seattle did enough to earn much…a tie at most. SJ’s defense was fantastic. Montero looked good but but SJ’s defense just closed him down quickly without Rosales to take some heat off of him. Montero is really fun to watch, good footwork and comes back for the ball well…too bad he has little support without Rosales.


  • shelsilverstein

    burch has always been a hack, maybe he should try less hacky play so other hacks like big bird won’t try to take advantage of him

    and fat sigi calling big bird out for diving is hilarious given the play of montero and ferndandez. change comes from within, siggers.


  • SWED

    Vote him out? Not a chance. Don’t forget the Sounders are still only a few years removed from being an expansion side. Look around the league — how many other fans would kill for the quality and depth SSFC has?


  • brant

    {start quote}Lenhart appeared to go down very easily as Burch appeared to trip him. Seattle head coach Sigi Schmid wasn’t too impressed with the play, and implied it was a dive.

    “That’s (Lenhart’s) game,” Schmid said after the match. “That’s what he does all the time. He does it all the time and then afterward he apologizes, so that’s his thing.” {end quote}

    If that’s Lenhart’s game, then was Sigi so disgusted by it when he drafted Lenhart, and when he was putting Lenhart into all those late-game situations in ’08 in Columbus, when Lenhart was the holding forward for The Crew and Sigi was their coach?


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