By IVES GALARCEP
It will go down as one of the uglier matches of the 2013 MLS season, but for the San Jose Earthquakes, Saturday night’s match against the Seattle Sounders will be remembered as being beautiful for the three points they earned.
Walter Martinez scored a 48th minute finish, collecting an errant Steven Lenhart pass and curling a shot past Sounders back-up goalkeeper Michael Gspurning, for the eventual game-winning goal in a 1-0 victory over Seattle.
The match was marred by by physical altercations and consistent fouling from both sides. The teams combined for 35 fouls and seven cards, including a red card to Osvaldo Alonso in second-half stoppage time for what referee Sorin Stoica explained after the match was “violent conduct” and “contact above the shoulder”. Replays showed that there was no such contact.
Lenhart was once again at the heart of several controversial plays, including a challenge on Seattle goalkeeper Michael Gspurning that left him injured, and eventually forced him out of the match at halftime.
Seattle’s offense struggled to generate much offense all night, with San Jose’s physical approach disrupting attempts by the Sounders to string together passes. Seattle still held a possession edge, 54 percent to 46 percent, but the Sounders managed just one shot on goal all night.
The loss spoiled Alonso’s return to the starting lineup after a long injury layoff.
Here are the match highlights:
What did you think of the match?
Share your thoughts below.