The Earthquakes split their season series with Seattle on Wednesday, drawing 1-1 in a rubber match that saw San Jose come back after going behind early in the second half.
Chris Wondolowski knocked home a superb Cordell Cato cross in the 65th minute to help San Jose salvage a point in a sloppy game that neither team deserved to win.
Coming off a embarrassing 5-0 drubbing against Dallas at home last week and with eight players unavailable due to injury, coach Mark Watson gave a couple of his young guns a chance to start against one of the leagues best clubs.
19-year-old homegrown player Tommy Thompson started the first MLS match of his career, and rookie JJ Koval took Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi’s spot in the midfield.
Thompson was the most dangerous player for San Jose and put in a man of the match performance. Thompson put two shots on goal and a couple dangerous balls in the box that could have led to first half goals. Overall Thompson was pleased with his first career start:
“I thought it went well. I thought the team started well and got after them with the attitude we needed after a tough loss. Besides Buck Shaw, there’s no better place to have your first MLS start than here in Seattle. I was excited for that and I thought I made a good first impression.”
Coach Mark Watson agreed:
“I thought Tommy played well tonight. I think it’s clear to see that he’s a real quality player. We wanted to be smart with how we brought him into the team. He started the season recovering from a knee injury, so we brought him along slowly, made sure he had fitness and was ready to play. Overall, it was a great performance. He just turned 19 and didn’t seem intimidated by the situation at all. I thought he had a great night. He worked hard, had a couple great moments and started a couple dangerous attacking opportunities for us.”
Seattle struck first less than a minute into the second half, when Obafemi Martins put striker Chad Barrett through for a first time strike from 18-yard line.
Once again it was lax defending from San Jose that lead to the goal, as the Quakes failed to pressure the creative Martins from picking the cutting pass, his team leading seventh assist of 2014.
As they did with success in the win vs. Seattle at Levi’s, San Jose felt content to muck up the Sounders’ possession-based attack by crowding the midfield.
The strategy affected both sides’ ability to keep the ball, with the Quakes unable to achieve any build up play to the attacking third.
San Jose had even more trouble stringing passes together in the second half, but halftime substitute Cordell Cato caught Seattle sleeping in the 65th minute.
Cato beat defender DeAndre Yedlin on the left flank with a couple step-overs, then put a low ball across goal finding the knee of Chris Wondolowski at the far post for a tap-in.
Cato described the buildup:
“The defender gave me a lot of space so I did what a wing is supposed to do. I made a couple of step-overs to make some room and I got the cross in. And Wondo [Chris Wondolowski] did what he always does, he put it in the net.”
Clint Dempsey nearly equalized in the final minute of stoppage time on a point-blank header that was caught by Quakes keeper Jon Busch.
The game marks only the second time in history San Jose and Seattle have played to a draw, and the first time ever while playing at Seattle.