Shea Salinas of the San Jose Earthquakes celebrates his opening goal against the Seattle Sounders in the Round of 16 in the 2017 US Open Cup. Photo: San Jose Earthquakes
The San Jose Earthquakes needed a late goal from Danny Hoesen to get by a 10-man Seattle Sounders side in the Round of 16 of the 2017 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. San Jose took the lead early and went up a man in the first half, but still needed an 84th minute winner to reach the Quarterfinals for the first time since 2012.
It was the fifth all-time meeting between the two clubs in the Open Cup, and with the victory, San Jose earned their first win against the Sounders since 2002, back when Seattle was a member of the USL’s A-League (Div. 2 pro).
Much like their match in the last round of the Cup against the San Francisco Deltas, the Quakes got off to a fast start. Captain Chris Wondolowski nearly scored inside three minutes off of some excellent build up play.
The Quakes followed this early effort with a corner kick in the 6th minute that resulted in the opening goal. Shea Salinas found the back of the net following a rebound off of the corner kick. The shot took a deflection past Seattle goalkeeper Tyler Miller to give the Earthquakes the 1-0 lead.
“I thought we started well, and had control of the game, moving it pretty well, pretty sharply,” said newly-hired Earthquakes head coach Chris Leitch. “That first corner where we ended up scoring, the reason why we didn’t end up playing it short, was because it was an in-swinger, and we purposefully tried to crowd the box.”
San Jose continued to dominate the game and saw many more good chances fall their way in the first 30 minutes of the match. “At times I thought we could have just walked it up,” said Leitch about the early parts of the game. It then got worse for Seattle when Francisco Narbon received a straight red card for a reckless tackle on San Jose’s Jackson Yueill, leaving his team down a man and down a goal. The half ended 1-0 however, as the Earthquakes were unable to take advantage of the man advantage for the final 10 minutes of the half. The second half did not start how San Jose would have liked with their man advantage, as Seattle began to take the game to the Quakes. Through this pressure, Seattle was able to earn a free kick just outside of the box in the 48th minute. Aaron Kovar stepped up for the Sounders and curled the ball into the back of the net to tie the game at one apiece. “If you go up a goal, and go up a man, you’d like to bury that game a bit better, but I think the effort all the way around was very good,” said Leitch The Earthquakes responded well to the equalizing goal, putting the pressure back on Seattle. It started when Tommy Thompson forced a big save out of Tyler Miller in the 53rd minute. The best chance of the game fell to Jahmir Hyka in the 69th minute when he was in on the keeper, but again Miller would come up with a huge save to keep the score level.
As the game look destined for extra time with 10-man Seattle standing tall, San Jose’s substitute, Danny Hoesen, played a nice one-two with Yeuill before beating the Seattle keeper to restore the Earthquakes lead in the 84th minute.
“Danny coming on, being fresh, especially in his recent run of form was very enticing,” Leitch said in his postgame comments. “The message to Danny when he came on was you’re going to get a chance, finish the game off, and he did it like a cold blooded forward.
“[The Cup] gives us a chance to win a trophy and my experience with that both playing and with the group, is that players like to win trophies, and I know this club would enjoy winning another trophy. I look forward to making that run,” Leitch added.
The Earthquakes will now host their California Clasico rivals, the LA Galaxy, in the Quarterfinals of the US Open Cup on July 10 at Avaya. It will be the sixth time the two teams have met and the Earthquakes have never beaten the Galaxy in the Open Cup (0-4-1, 0-1 PKs).
“We are not there yet,” said Leitch. “If this stops at the quarterfinals or the semis, we are going to be disappointed, so we still got a lot in front of us.”