Fredy Montero scores for Seattle, which is unbeaten in its last four MLS matches.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Perhaps the busiest week in Sounders FC history came to a close Saturday night with a 1-0 road win against San Jose.
Culminating a seven-day stretch that has seen three games, the resignation of CEO Tod Leiweke, the signing of designated player Alvaro Fernandez and the trade of DP Freddie Ljungberg, Seattle (7-8-4) protected a first-half goal by Fredy Montero for three valuable points in front of 10,351 fans at Buck Shaw Stadium.
The win improved a pair of streaks for Sounders FC — four straight MLS games without a loss, six in a row in all competitions. With its third straight league win, Seattle also jumped to fourth in the Western Conference and sixth overall in total points.
“It’s a new team,” said goalkeeper Kasey Keller, who had two saves.
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Said coach Sigi Schmid of the turnaround: “I think the guys realized their situation. We realized at the beginning of the year we were maybe patting ourselves on the back a little too much for what we had accomplished last year.”
San Jose (6-5-5) had its four-game unbeaten streak in MLS games snapped.
In an entertaining first half filled with attacking soccer, Seattle took the lead after some brilliant buildup in the 26th minute when midfielder Sanna Nyassi collected a pass from Montero on the right wing and swung in a perfect cross in front of the goal to the Colombian forward for the tap-in header.
It was Montero’s eighth straight MLS game with either a goal or assist. He has been directly involved in 12 of the last 15 Sounders FC goals.
“I don’t know who lit a fire under him, but I’m going to keep stoking that fire,” Keller said with a laugh.
Through a translator, Montero said: “It’s everybody, not just (me). It’s everybody working together.”
Seattle, which had eight shots on goal to San Jose’s two, controlled most of the action in the second half despite the pressing efforts of the Earthquakes to equalize in front of their home fans.
Sounders FC had also dominated the early parts of the first half, forcing goalkeeper Jon Busch into three saves in the first 10 minutes.
San Jose’s best chances to score came in the first half, when speedy forward Cornell Glen broke through the Sounders FC backline on the breakaway, but was stopped on a great save by Keller in the 14th minute. Earthquakes forward Scott Sealy had a shot go off the post in the 32nd minute.
Fernandez, who was added to the active roster Friday in place of Ljungberg, made his debut in the 69th minute replacing Steve Zakuani. Seattle defender Jeff Parke was replaced at halftime by Tyrone Marshall because of a head injury.
The different faces in the lineup fit seamlessly into the collective.
“Obviously winning is great, but what we’re doing right now is we’re growing as a club,” Montero said. “We’re growing as Seattle Sounders together and we’re being rewarded in the games from the hard work we’re putting in everyday.”
• Sounders FC won the Heritage Cup. The fan-based tournament is for MLS teams with roots in the old North American Soccer League. Currently only Seattle and San Jose qualify, but Portland and Vancouver will next year.
• Seattle’s James Riley and Roger Levesque have each played for San Jose in the past. Earthquakes midfielder Joey Gjertsen is a Tacoma native and San Jose assistant coach Ian Russell was a USL Sounder and former Husky.
• The Earthquakes won the previous meeting between the two teams, 1-0 at Qwest Field on May 22 behind a Chris Wondolowski goal in the 11th minute.
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Sounders FC 1, Earthquakes 0
|Seattle FC||1 0 — 1|
|San Jose||0 0 — 0|
First half — 1, Seattle FC, Montero 7 (Nyassi), 26th minute. Second half — None. Goalies — Seattle FC, Kasey Keller; San Jose, Jon Busch. Yellow cards — Cronin, San Jose, 15th; Corrales, San Jose, 80th; Alonso, Seattle FC, 90th+. Shots — Seattle FC 9, San Jose 8. Shots on goal — Seattle FC 7, San Jose 2. Corner kicks — Seattle FC 6, San Jose 5. Offsides — San Jose 8, Seattle FC 4. Fouls — Seattle FC 8, San Jose 8. Saves — San Jose 6, Seattle FC 2. A — 10,351.
Seattle FC — Kasey Keller, James Riley, Patrick Ianni, Jeff Parke (Tyrone Marshall, 45th), Nathan Sturgis, Leo Gonzalez, Sanna Nyassi, Steve Zakuani (Alvaro Fernandez, 69th), Osvaldo Alonso, Fredy Montero, Blaise Nkufo (Nate Jaqua, 86th).
San Jose — Jon Busch, Jason Hernandez (Chris Wondolowski, 74th), Ike Opara, Bobby Burling, Joey Gjertsen, Sam Cronin, Brandon McDonald (Arturo Alvarez, 45th), Bobby Convey, Ramiro Corrales, Scott Sealy (Ryan Johnson, 45th), Cornell Glen.