Despite missing Jordan Morris, Clint Dempsey, Osvaldo Alonso, and Nicolas Lodeiro, the Sounders posted a lopsided 3-0 win to hand the Quakes their fourth straight road loss.
While both teams played to a stalemate in the first half, it was Seattle that came ready to battle for the win in the second half. Cristian Roldan scored a brace inside of two minutes to put Seattle up two goals (54′, 56′). Kelvin Leerdam finished the Quakes off nine minutes later with Seattle’s third goal.
David Bingham has already played his way off the USMNT goalkeeping roster, and is now playing himself off the starting XI. In the previous four road matches, Bingham and the Quakes defense have surrendered an astonishing 14 goals, and posted an equally astonishing -11 goal differential. The losses have moved San Jose below the playoff line.
One problem is that the Quakes have not shown up to play in the second half on their road games. The Quakes have surrendered two goals to Portland, four goals to Atlanta, four goals to the New York Red Bulls, and three to Seattle in the final 45.
A second problem has to do with the team’s inability to defend set-pieces. Since Chris Leitch’s arrival as the new head coach, the Quakes have surrendered a set-piece goal in over half of their games played, including Roldan’s first goal which came via a throw-in, and Leedham’s goal off a corner.
A third, glaring problem is the Quakes’ inability to convert their scoring chances. The Quakes generated 11 scoring chances to Seattle’s 14, but while Seattle could convert their opportunities, the Quakes put most of their chances wide of the target. Danny Hoesen and Jahmir Hyka put up a combined five shots, zero on target. (Hyka has a 27% conversion rate while Hoesen has an equally unimpressive 28% conversion rate.) In Seattle, the Quakes put up 12 shots, but only managed just three shots on goal, and just one on goal in the second half.
Leitch’s homework in simple: finishing and set-piece defending. Until those two items get fixed, don’t expect the team to make the playoffs.
The Quakes’ next match is at home versus the Colorado Rapids on Saturday at 5:00pm.