The Seattle Sounders hosted the San Jose Earthquakes in the Round of 32 of the US Open on Wednesday. The match at Starfire Sports Complex saw another agonizing open cup campaign end, and that was so early, it took a full 120 minutes and penalties after the match ended in a 2-2 draw before the Earthquakes eventually won on penalties 10-9.
The match looked like it could have been sore, but at least it ended quickly after Earthquakes opened the scoring in the 10th minute thanks to a penalty kick called up by AB Cissoko and scored by Jackson Scahan. The Sounders had chances, including one sequence that included five first-half shots in injury time, but they couldn’t find a tie. Then, five minutes into the second half, Cady Coyle effectively escorted into the Sounders box where he fired a shot under Stefan Cleveland to double San Jose’s advantage.
Just five minutes into San Jose’s 2-0 lead, the Sounders cut the difference by one. Dani Leyva got a free kick about 25 yards out, Jimmy Medranda picked it up and shot it into the top corner. After erasing the equalizer due to a wrong call, Freddy Monteiro finally equalized in the 77th minute. Dylan Teeves gave the ball to Clain Roe, who showed skill and tenacity in keeping the ball and taking it to the finish line inside the San Jose penalty area before hitting a cross to the back post to return Montero to the net.
Both teams pushed for wins in the remaining 15 minutes of regulation, 30 minutes of overtime, but while there was plenty of energy, it wasn’t the quality to finish the match.
In the penalty shootout, Stefan Cleveland saved early, but the penalty kick that immediately followed was overtaken by Liu Zhou. Then there were 15 consecutive penalties of varying quality before Cleveland stepped up to take a penalty of their own. Cleveland’s penalty was saved relatively easily by Matt Bersano, who then scored his own penalty kick for the Lerthquixes. It was the second longest penalty shootout in the recorded history of the Open Cup.
The Sounders are out of the Open Cup, but there’s no relief anywhere in sight as they host Minnesota United on Sunday at 1 p.m.
10′- Abdoulaye Sissoko was called up for a foul in the penalty area, although replays showed he may have been outside. Jackson Scahan sends Stefan Cleveland the wrong way and puts San Jose ahead. 0-1 earthquakes
12′- At the other end, Sissoko almost corrected his mistake, but his header from Jimmy Medranda’s corner kick hit the ground and bounced wide.
13′- The giveaway at the back makes a 1-v-1 for Cleveland, but the Sounders goalkeeper makes himself big and blocks the shot.
32′- Leo Chú missed the equalizer after a long ball from Josh Atencio and found Medranda, who fired Chú, but the shot went too far.
45′ +1 – An unbridled sequence of events succeeds in not achieving Saunders’ goal. Medranda saved two shots, Dobbelaere’s shot was blocked, and Chú’s header was cleared off the goal line.
50′- Cady Coyle doubled San Jose’s lead, hitting the ball under Cleveland’s legs after missing a challenge from Sissoko. 0-2
55′- Jimmy Medranda cuts the difference by one with a superb free kick. After Danny Leyva was dropped about 25 yards, Medranda hit him in the top corner. 1-2
77′- Freddy Montero! The score is equal after a superb display by Kelyn Rowe to get a cross from the finish line into the penalty area and Montero heads it into the goal at the far post! 2-2
84′- An absolute gift from Cleveland almost gives SJ third, but the shot on the open net is out of sight.
Sounders PK 1 – Freddy Montero scores to his right. 1-0
Earthquakes PK 1 – Christian Espinosa goes to his left and beats Cleveland. 1-1
Sounders PK 2 – AB Cissoko finishes to his right after a short while. 2-1
Earthquakes PK 2 – Jackson Yoel’s attempt was saved by a Cleveland dive to the right of the guard. 2-1
Sounders PK 3 – Liu Zhou kicked a penalty kick over the goal. 2-1
Earthquakes PK 3 – Jeremy Ibobisi scores to his left after Cleveland freezes. 2-2
Sounders PK 4 – Dylan Teeves takes a short walk and scores. 3-2
Earthquakes PK 4 – Francisco Calvo scored, hit the ball off the crossbar, and then rebounded from Cleveland. 3-3
Sounders PK 5 – Sam Adeniran scores on his right by defeating the goalkeeper. 3-4
Earthquakes PK 5 – Gameiro Montero scores, even as Cleveland hits it. 4-4
Sounders PK 6 – Kelyn Rowe scores his own PK for a glimmer of redemption. 5-4
Earthquakes PK 6 – Marcos Lopez ends on his right. 5-5
Sounders PK 7 – Jackson Raggan scores on his left. 6-5
Earthquakes PK 7 – Tanner Bison scored on his left. 6-6
Sounders PK 8 – Josh Atensio scores on his left. 7-6
Earthquakes PK 8 – Jack Scahan scores in the middle after Cleveland serves up the left. 7-7
Sounders PK 9 – Fortunately, Obed Vargas scored to his right, under the goalkeeper. 8-7
Earthquakes PK 9 – Oscar Agren scores to his right. 8-8
Sounders PK 10 – Nuhu scores in the middle while the goalkeeper guesses the wrong way. 9-8
Earthquakes PK 10 – Eric Remedy scores above and right of center. 9-9
Sounders PK 11 – Stefan Cleveland’s penalty attempt hit a low and center left and was blocked. 9-9
Earthquakes PK 11 – Matt Bersano scores on his left to win it. 9-10
Penalties suck: It is not precise or insightful, nor is it particularly interesting or accurate. However, the fact remains the same: penalties are bad. Even if you win on penalties, that’s a frustrating way to win (not talking about you, MLS Cup 2016, I love you). It’s an unfair and unfair way to determine the winner of any contest, and so I recommend switching to guessing the number the referee is thinking of instead.
Ethan Dobellary has a point to make: Ethan Doblery is 19, and prior to his appearance for the Sounders on Saturday against FC Dallas, he hasn’t played a professional game since last season. You could have fooled me. His stats aren’t great from this game, but while we might not have seen box-point stats or choppy dribbles and great skills, we also didn’t notice any signs of a player lacking confidence. Dobbelaere seemed relaxed and confident with his touch, showing a good sense of space on the court and where he could be most useful even if his running mates didn’t take advantage. Starting his second game in a week after not playing for seven months, Dobbelaere has played his second place, showing versatility that will be valuable as the season goes on.
Where do we go from here?: You’ll surely read more about it on this site and others in the coming days, but the Sounders now only have one contest left on their schedule. The CCL is done (cool!) and now it’s the Open Cup (boo!), so all that’s left to focus on is the league. You already know Seattle is 13th in the West, even on points with the Vancouver Whitecaps 14th and last but on goal difference with a game in hand. It’s not the worst position we’ve ever found ourselves in, but it’s far from where anyone in a club would want. Nobody needs to be reminded of that. The way forward begins with Minnesota.
21 – The Sounders took 21 shots from inside San Jose’s 18-yard square.