It was, simply put, a historic dismantling at CenturyLink Field on Thursday night: The Seattle Sounders dropped five goals in the opening 33 minutes on their way to a 7-1 victory over the visiting San Jose Earthquakes.
It’s hard to keep track of the night’s noteworthy numbers.
It was the fastest a team has scored five goals to open a match in the history of Major League Soccer; the most goals the Sounders have ever scored in MLS; and just the ninth time in league history a team has scored seven times. It was the largest margin of victory in the club’s MLS history, and the worst margin of defeat in the Earthquakes’ MLS history.
With the win, the Sounders (5-2-3, 18 points) close Phase 1 of the return to regular-season MLS play perched atop the Western Conference.
The goals came fast and furious and from everywhere against a man-marking, pressing opponent that looked physically outmatched and listless to boot. Seemingly every time a Sounders’ attacking player turned on his man he found himself through on goal with teammates flanking in numbers and opponents trotting behind.
Joevin Jones had a brace and two assists. Raul Ruidiaz — back to his lethal ways after appearing out of sorts earlier in the year — had himself a brace and an assist. Jordan Morris opened the scoring in just the fifth minute and delivered not one, not two, but three assists. Designated Player Joao Paulo picked up his first goal in MLS. Right back Kelvin Leerdam scored his third goal in five games.
Somehow, it could have been worse. Earthquakes goalkeeper Daniel Vega delivered a pair of quality saves against Morris late in the first half that kept the score from being even more lopsided.
With his team already trailing 7-0, Chris Wondoloswki converted a penalty kick in the 71st minute for the Earthquakes. It was his 12th career goal against the Sounders, his eighth at CenturyLink Field.
The Earthquakes (2-4-3, 9 points) have lost three out of four and sit in last place in the Western Conference. With Earthquakes players at times looking disinterested, questions will have to be asked as to whether head coach Matias Almeyda has lost his team.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Jordan Morris. Yes, it was an awful showing from the Earthquakes defense. But Morris was an absolute beast throughout, delivering a goal and three assists.
MATCH TO FORGET
This one almost always goes to a player on the field, but Matias Almeyda takes the hit for fielding a team that looked unprepared across the board, and for failing to adjust after it became clear that pressing Jordan Morris at midfield with no other defenders behind the ball was not going to be a successful approach.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
Jordan Morris’ opening goal, the result of a thunderous run down the heart of the pitch in just the fifth minute, exposed the Earthquakes and set the tone for the match.