By Ashley Savage // @savage_hart
In a night when team and league records were broken, the Seattle Sounders slotted home 5 goals in the opening 33 minutes of play at CenturyLink Field against the San Jose Earthquakes. Seattle would add 2 more goals in the second half and Chris Wondolowski would tally a PK for the Quakes to eliminate the goose egg.
After bearing a defeat at home from rival Portland Timbers due to a sluggish offense, it was clear from the opening whistle that Seattle had made some adjustments.
With Gustav Svensson still away on international duty in Sweden, Cristian Roldan was moved into central midfield instead of playing as an attacking winger as he had in previous matches, Joevin Jones replacing him on the right wing. Nouhou Tolo grabbed his first start at left back since the MLS restart as Jones moved to midfield and Xavier Arreaga made his return to the starting XI after an injury and several tumultuous errors in previous matches.
While the scoreline is what will make headlines, it was Seattle’s chemistry and teamwork that was truly showstopping. For San Jose, who had an incredible run during the MLS Is Back Tournament, it was also a failed example of man-marking.
Jordan Morris spoke after the match about how after the loss to Portland, the team just wanted to get back on the field again. He also referenced the changes the team made to wing play, by coming inside more often and the outside backs filling more space out wide. The adjustments and mental toughness were, to state the obvious, effective.
The floodgates opened early in the 4th minute when Jordan Morris made a solo run from midfield to burn his man-marking defender.
In the 12th minute, Joevin Jones and Nicolas Lodeiro combined to set up an unimaginably open Raul Ruidiaz inside the 6.
Just 3 minutes later, Kelvin Leerdam, the highest goal scoring defender the past two seasons in MLS, took an unchallenged shot from right inside the 18 that slid past Daniel Vega to make it 3-0 Seattle.
In the 20′, with San Jose sticking to their man-marking game plan, Joevin Jones and Raul Ruidiaz made it look too easy with the Sounders’ 4th goal.
With a ridiculous dummy from Nicholas Lodeiro and pinpoint pass from Jordan Morris, Raul Ruidiaz got his second of the match with a full-blown FIFA mode goal in the 33′, bringing Seattle’s tally up to 5 before the end of the half.
With only one substitution at halftime (Shane O’Neill in for Yeimar Gomez Andrade) the Sounders started the second half the same way they began the game: with goals. In the 48th minute João Paulo grabbed his first MLS goal to make it six for the Sounders.
Without taking the foot off the gas, the Sounders made it seven in the 58th with Joevin Jones grabbing his second of the game with a strong finish in between two defenders. While there is no official stat category for this, Jones’ goal was the only one of the game where a Sounders player faced physical contact from a San Jose defender while shooting.
Just 1 minute after going down 7-0, Thomas Thompson drew a penalty after stepping on Xavier Arreaga’s misplaced and outstretched foot. MLS all-time high goal scorer, Chris Wondolowski, stepped up and beat an outstretched Stefan Frei to steal the shutout from the Sounders.
With today’s release of Phase 2 scheduling, Seattle will next host LAFC Friday, September 18th while San Jose will host LA Galaxy this Sunday, September 13th.
All Images: Jill Peck