Quakes christen Levi’s with Seattle win

LEVI’S STADIUM — If there’s an ideal way to christen the 49ers’ new stadium, beating Seattle is a good start.

That’s exactly what the San Jose Earthquakes did on on Saturday evening, continuing their winning ways with a 1-0 victory over the Wester Conference leaders in front of 48,765 fans at the first sporting event ever held at Levi’s Stadium.

This story will be updated with post-game quotes and additional material from the Earthquakes locker room.

After their 5-1 romp of Chicago, San Jose started the same XI, and once again paired Chris Wondolowski and Yannick Djalo up top.

Like last week, the pair did not disappoint.

Photos by Scot Tucker and Godofredo Vasquez/SFBay

It was an important night, according to Earthquakes’ manager Mark Watson:

“To open the new stadium and the fans and just everything surrounding the game. Our guys were excited and they wanted to put on a show. it meant a lot to them to see 50-something-thousand support there, and (the fans) were definitely a factor in the game.”

After their 5-1 romp of Chicago, San Jose started the same XI, and once again paired Chris Wondolowski and Yannick Djalo up top.

Like last week, the pair did not disappoint.

Djalo put San Jose ahead in the 42nd minute, coolly rolling it past charging Seattle goalkeeper Stefan Frei from 18 yards out. Wondolowski set up the finish with a beautiful right-footed chip over the head of Sounders defender Zach Scott. The Wondo/Djalo pairing has combined for 3 goals and 3 assists in their last two games.

It was another clever finish by the S.L. Benfica loanee, who earned player of the week honors last week thanks in part to another cheeky goal, that time lobbing Chicago keeper Sean Johnson.

Through a translator, Djalo talked about the goal:

“It was a great pass from Wondo (Chris Wondolowski) and I saw the goalkeeper coming out. I though he would jump because he saw the game last week, so I put it low and it went in. I was glad to hlep the team get an important win tonight.”

Djalo nearly did it again in the 61st minute, just missing on another chip attempt right in front of Frei’s goal. Unfortunately, it would be the last kick of the game for Djalo, who was injured on the play and forced to make way for Khari Stevenson. Injuries have hampered Djalo all season since joining the club this summer.

Wondolowski also had the most important defensive play for San Jose in the 86th minute, heading away a screaming Chad Barrett header off the goal line.

The Quakes defense continued to hold sturdy without the services of Clarence Goodson, keeping a clean sheet and keeping U.S. star Clint Dempsey in check. Dempsey had five shots but could not add to his season’s tally.

After winning four of five, the loss is Seattle’s second in as many games. They have been outscored in those contests by a combined score of 4-0.

Conversely, the win is the second in a row for San Jose for the first time this year, moving them out of the cellar and into eighth place in the Western Conference, usurping Chivas USA on goal difference. The Quakes have won their last two by a combined score of 6-1.

Seattle remains in first place, two points ahead of Real Salt Lake.

With seven points from their last three games, have the San Jose Earthquakes turned the corner. Mark Watson thinks so:

“I think our play has improved for sure. I think there’s still been games prior to our last three games where we have shown improvement and maybe unlucky not to get points. We still have a long way to go, there’s things to work on daily. I think we’re getting better and better and I think there’s a good level of confidence amongst the team right now.”


Follow @SFBay and @DaDudeDatDoDat on Twitter and at SFBay.ca for full coverage of the San Jose Earthquakes.

Leave a Reply