SEATTLE, Wa. – Jordan Morris and the Seattle Sounders seem to have found their stride, and on Saturday night in the Emerald City, a whole bunch of things were on their side.
Clint Dempsey and Morris provided goals in the 26th and 89th minutes, respectively, as the Sounders picked up three points on a 2-0 scoreline unfriendly to the San Jose Earthquakes. Now-Quakes forward Chad Barrett made his first return to CenturyLink Field since transferring from Seattle.
San Jose's Chris Wondolowski, who came in with a league-leading nine all-time goals against Seattle, had a couple promising chances over the course of the match, one a penalty kick, but he failed to find the net as Stefan Frei and his Sounders back line recorded a clean sheet. Barrett had a close opportunity just cleared away in the 48th minute and Simon Dawkins' 59th-minute free kick found the woodwork, bouncing down and inches off the goal line.
Still winless on the road in 2016, the Quakes remain at 15 points after their tenth match, good for fifth in the MLS's Western Conference, while Seattle has recovered from their tough start and now sits at 13 points through nine games played.
The action started with some nice passing from Seattle which culminated in a sixth-minute Osvaldo Alonso strike from the top of the box. His bottom-right attempt was saved with a David Bingham dive.
Dempsey and the Sounders went up 1-0 in the 26th minute as play built up on the right wing and a string of passes ended up with Erik Friberg finding Deuce for the cool right-footed finish. Morris picked up an assist on the goal as well.
In the 35th minute, Wondo had a prime chance for San Jose, receiving a picture-perfect ball through to between the eighteen and six-yard boxes from Shea Salinas. Wondolowski took a touch too many and Frei leapt out to deny the normally-sound finisher any further opening from point-blank range.
The first half brought no other major events except a 43rd-minute yellow card for Ozzie Alonso. Seattle went into the break up 1-0 but they would be tested much further in the second – despite the stats dictating Frei only made one save throughout the match.
Chad Barrett was unbelievably close to reaching the net just about two minutes out of the half time interval, as Alberto Quintero snatched up a ball in Seattle half and bolted down the right side only to have his shot deflected. Barrett gathered at the center of the box and fired to no avail, unable to get the ball past the legs of an outstretched Frei.
A Morris shot for Seattle in the 52nd was deflected away by Bingham and the sensational rookie hit the right post four minutes later.
Tottenham Hotspur import and designated player Simon Dawkins lined up for a free kick in the 59th and nailed the crossbar directly from the spot, the ball ricocheting downward and touching down inches from the goal line before it hopped back up into the arms of Seattle's goalkeeper.
Tyrone Mears hacked down Victor Bernardez on a touch into the box in the 84th, drawing a foul call and an opportunity for Wondolwski to redeem himself and equalize for San Jose.
But he did no such thing. Running up to take the penalty, Wondolowski beat Frei and sent a laser bottom-right – into the post. The rebound caromed too far out of the way and the Quakes remained scoreless. The resulting chance seconds later saw no chance off the foot of Tommy Thompson.
Jordan Morris tacked on the insurance tally Seattle needed in the 89th minute. Firing a low shot from outside the penalty area, Morris caught David Bingham awestruck, the ball sliding right into the bottom-right of the goal without a flinch from San Jose's keeper.
The match was iced from that point, the result holding 2-0 in favor of the at-home Sounders.