A performance unlike any other.
Seven goals in 59 minutes. Four in 20. Two from Raul Ruidiaz. Two from Joevin Jones. One for Jordan Morris, Kelvin Leerdam and Joao Paulo each. And the largest win in Sounders FC history.
It may have come in a simple mid-week regular season match in one of the most unusual seasons in MLS history, but Thursday night, under hazy skies at CenturyLink Field, Seattle put together a performance that will be etched in the history books for years to come.
Before Thursday, only FC Dallas in 2006 scored four goals in the first 20 minutes of a single MLS match. But no team in history ever scored five goals as quickly as Seattle against San Jose.
The seven goals also mark the most goals Sounders FC have ever scored, topping the two times the Rave Green put six on the board, August 27, 2011 versus Columbus and August 25, 2012 against Chivas USA. But before we continue and you read about the stunning victory, let's get to what you really want: The highlights.
Facing San Jose's man-marking defensive system that relies on defenders staying with their offensive counterparts without any help available on lapses or breakaways, the Earthquakes' system got cooked by Seattle's speed, quick passing and finishing ability.
Morris scored in the fourth minute after leading Florian Jungwirth on a "catch me if you can" chase from the left wing, to the center of the field and then down into the box where Morris easily put a shot past goalkeeper Daniel Vega. Ruidiaz tapped in an easy goal eight minutes later after Nicolas Lodeiro found the prime-assist-zone, just to the right of San Jose's goal, and dished the ball to Seattle's striker. Then three minutes later, Ruidiaz found a running Leerdam, who put the ball past a diving Vega from long distance.
Jones scored in the 20th, Ruidiaz easily finished off a beautiful Morris cross in the 33rd, Joao Paulo hammered in another goal just after the halftime break and Jones scored his second in the 59th before Seattle took their foot off the gas.
San Jose got a single goal back in the 71st minute on a penalty kick by Chris Wondolowski, marking his 163rd career goal and 12th against Seattle, in a play that referee Alan Chapman incorrectly called a penalty when Tommy Thompson stepped on the foot of defender Xavier Arreaga, causing Thompson to fall down in the box. VAR did not review the play.
At the end of the day, the 7-1 blowout is mind-blowing and historic, but it could have been much, much worse, as the Sounders saw countless other chances at goal. Jordan Morris missed two excellent chances in the first half and Nouhou...
Nouhou. Nouhou. Nouhou. The fan favorite left back, who fans have been waiting what feels like centuries for to score a goal, saw three chances to score in what would have been his first career MLS goal. Vega saved two of Nouhou's shots and a San Jose defender blocked his third.
We are sadly left asking, if Nouhou couldn't score Thursday, in the biggest win in club history, when will he score?!
As we wait for that day, we also wait to hear news of the next Seattle Sounders match. Thursday marked the final game in the latest MLS return to play, phase one, for the Rave Green and no official schedule has been set yet for phase two. General Manager and President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey hinted on Sounders Weekly with Jackson Felts on Tuesday that the next portion of the club's schedule could look much like the latest.
“If we play a largely West Coast schedule, that’s a really tough schedule," Lagerwey said Tuesday. “If we’re trying to minimize travel, if we’re going to play more games, I have to think we’re going to play Portland a couple more times because from a health and safety perspective that’s going to make most sense."
The Sounders went 3-1-1 in their five phase one matches, moving all the way up to first place in the Western Conference with 18 points. Just below Seattle are Minnesota United and Sporting Kansas City, each of whom have 17.
As for Thursday's thrashing, listen to more analysis of the win in KJR's Postgame Show with Danny Jackson and Jackson Felts below!