The Seattle Sounders hosted the San Jose Earthquakes in the Round of 32 of the US Open Cup on Wednesday. The match at Starfire Sports Complex saw yet another Open Cup campaign end in pain, and all too early, as it took a full 120 minutes and penalties after the game finished tied 2-2 before the Earthquakes eventually won the shoot-out 10-9 .
The game seemed like it might be painful, but at least over fast after the Earthquakes opened the scoring in the 10th minute thanks to a penalty called on AB Cissoko and scored by Jackson Skahan. The Sounders had chances, including one sequence that featured a five shots in first half stoppage time, but couldn’t find the equalizer. Then five minutes into the second half Cade Cowell was effectively escorted to the Sounders box where he slotted a shot under Stefan Cleveland to double San Jose’s advantage.
Only five minutes after San Jose went up 2-0, the Sounders cut the gap by one. Danny Leyva was awarded a free kick about 25 yards out, and Jimmy Medranda stepped up and smashed it into the top corner. After having an equalizer erased due to a foul call, Fredy Montero eventually equalized in the 77th minute. Dylan Teves gave the ball to Kelyn Rowe, who showed both skill and tenacity to keep the ball and take it to the end line inside the San Jose penalty area before hitting firing cross to the back post for Montero to head home.
Both sides pushed for a winner over the remaining 15 minutes of regulation, and 30 minutes of extra time, but while there was plenty of energy there just wasn’t the quality to end the game.
In the shootout, Stefan Cleveland got an early save, but the penalty that immediately followed was skied by Leo Chú. After that there were 15 consecutive scored penalties of varying quality before Cleveland stepped up to take a penalty of his own. Cleveland’s penalty was relatively easily saved by Matt Bersano, who then scored his own penalty to win it for the Earthquakes. It was the second-longest shootout in recorded Open Cup history.
The Sounders are out of the Open Cup, but there’s no rest anywhere in sight as they host Minnesota United on Sunday at 1 PM.
10′ — Abdoulaye Cissoko is called for a foul in the box, although replays showed that it was probably just outside. Jackson Skahan sends Stefan Cleveland the wrong way and puts San Jose in the lead. 0-1 Earthquakes
12′ — At the other end Cissoko nearly rights his own wrong, but his header off of a Jimmy Medranda corner is hit into the ground and bounces wide.
13′ — A giveaway in the back sets up a 1-v-1 for Cleveland, but the Sounders goalkeeper makes himself big and blocks the shot.
32′ — Leo Chú just misses equalizing after a long ball from Josh Atencio finds Medranda, who releases Chú, but the shot goes just wide.
45′ +1 — A wild sequence of events manages to not yield a Sounders goal. Medranda has two shots saved, Dobbelaere’s shot is blocked, and Chú’s header is cleared off the line.
50′ — Cade Cowell doubles San Jose’s lead, slotting the ball under Cleveland’s legs after a missed challenge from Cissoko. 0-2
55′ — Jimmy Medranda cuts the shortage by one with a great free kick. After Danny Leyva is brought down about 25 yards out, Medranda slams it into the top corner. 1-2
77′ — Freddy Montero! The score is level after a great play by Kelyn Rowe to get a cross off from the end line inside the box and Montero heads it home at the far post! 2-2
84′ — An absolute gift from Cleveland almost grants SJ their third, but the shot on an open net is off the mark.
Sounders PK 1 — Fredy Montero scores to his right. 1-0
Earthquakes PK 1 — Cristian Espinoza goes to his left and beats Cleveland. 1-1
Sounders PK 2 — AB Cissoko finishes to his right after a short run-up. 2-1
Earthquakes PK 2 — Jackson Yueill’s attempt is SAVED by Cleveland diving to the ‘keeper’s right. 2-1
Sounders PK 3 — Leo Chú Blasts his penalty over the goal. 2-1
Earthquakes PK 3 — Jeremy Ebobisse scores to his left after freezing Cleveland. 2-2
Sounders PK 4 — Dylan Teves takes a short run and scores. 3-2
Earthquakes PK 4 — Francisco Calvo scores, hitting it off the crossbar, then off Cleveland. 3-3
Sounders PK 5 — Sam Adniran scores to his right, beating the ‘keeper to the post. 3-4
Earthquakes PK 5 — Jamiro Monteiro scores, even with Cleveland getting his fingers to it. 4-4
Sounders PK 6 — Kelyn Rowe scores his PK for a glimmer of redemption. 5-4
Earthquakes PK 6 — Marcos Lopez finishes to his right. 5-5
Sounders PK 7 — Jackson Ragen scores to his left. 6-5
Earthquakes PK 7 — Tanner Beason scores to his left. 6-6
Sounders PK 8 — Josh Atencio scores to his left. 7-6
Earthquakes PK 8 — Jack Skahan scores down the middle after sending Cleveland left. 7-7
Sounders PK 9 — Obed Vargas luckily scores to his right, under the GK. 8-7
Earthquakes PK 9 — Oskar Agren scores to his right. 8-8
Sounders PK 10 — Nouhou scores down the middle as the GK guesses the wrong way. 9-8
Earthquakes PK 10 — Erick Remedi scores high and center right. 9-9
Sounders PK 11 — Stefan Cleveland’s penalty attempt is hit low and middle-left, and saved. 9-9
Earthquakes PK 11 — Matt Bersano scores to his left to win it. 9-10
Penalties suck: It’s not nuanced or insightful, nor is it particularly interesting or nuanced. The fact all the same, though: penalties remain suck. Even if you win a penalty shootout, it’s kind of a frustrating way to win (I’m not talking about you, MLS Cup 2016, I love you). It’s an unjust and unfair way of deciding a winner of any competition, and so I am recommending we switch to guessing what number the referee is thinking of instead.
Ethan Dobbelaere has a point to prove: Ethan Dobbelaere is 19 years old, and prior to his appearance for the Sounders on Saturday against FC Dallas he hadn’t played a professional game since last season. You could have fooled me. His stats aren’t remarkable from this game, but while we may not have seen box score statistics or mazy dribbles and fantastic bits of skill, we also didn’t see any signs of a player lacking in confidence. Dobbelaere looked comfortable and sure of his touch, and showed a good sense of the space on the field and where he could be most useful even if his teammates didn’t make use of his runs. Starting his second game in a week after not playing for seven months, Dobbelaere played his second position, showing a versatility that will be valuable as the season continues.
Where do we go from here?: You’re surely going to read plenty more on this topic on this site and others in the coming days, but the Sounders have now got only one competition left on their schedule. CCL is done (yay!) and now so is the Open Cup (boo!), so all that’s left to focus on is the league. You already know that Seattle sits in the 13th in the west, even on points with the Vancouver Whitecaps in the 14th and final place but ahead by virtue of goal difference with a game in hand. It’s not the worst position we’ve ever found ourselves in, but it’s far from where anyone in the club wants to be. No one needs to be reminded of that. The road forward starts with Minnesota.
21 — The Sounders took 21 shots from inside San Jose’s 18-yard box.