The wait had been since March, but Sounders FC finally recorded a defensive shutout in Saturday’s 1-0 home win against the San Jose Earthquakes.
Sure, it helped that Chris Wondolowski, Alan Gordon, Steven Lenhart, Shea Salinas and others weren’t available, but the achievement instilled confidence nonetheless.
Seattle’s last clean sheet was Week 3 at Montreal. This time, though, goalkeeper Stefan Frei needed to make just one save, and it came in the closing minutes on a low free-kick by Khari Stephenson that was handled comfortably.
The Sounders had allowed five goals May 11 in New England, tied for a franchise worst in MLS, and also made three changes in the back with Brad Evans, DeAndre Yedlin and Djimi Traore out, replaced by Leo Gonzalez, Jalil Anibaba and Zach Scott, respectively.
Here are some more game notes:
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— Sounders FC improved to 5-2 at home and has won four straight at CenturyLink Field, tied for the second longest streak in franchise history.
— Sounders FC earned its 50th home win as an MLS franchise.
— Sounders FC’s 8-3-1 start is its best record through 12 games.
— Sounders FC’s 23 goals are tied for the most in MLS.
— Sounders FC was fouled a season-low four times and is only on pace to be fouled 575 times this season.
— Sounders FC improved to 6-2 in one-goal games, 4-1-1 when scoring first, 3-1 when leading at halftime, 5-0-1 vs. the West, 5-1 at night, 7-3 on local TV, 6-7-1 vs. San Jose.
— Obafemi Martins has five goals and six assists, the only played in MLS with at least five of each.
— Obafemi Martins has factored into a scoring play in 9 of 11 games, 10 of 11 when including the buildup to a goal.
— Obafemi Martins and Clint Dempsey are the other players in MLS to have factored into at least 10 scoring plays.
— Gonzalo Pineda earned his fourth assist, tied for fifth in MLS, two for winners, tied for first in MLS.
— Stefan Frei earned his third shutout, tied with Bryan Meredith for third in franchise history.
— San Jose fell to 0-3-1 on the road.
— San Jose fell to 0-4-1 when conceding first, 0-3-2 when down at halftime.
— San Jose was without its top three forwards: top scorer Chris Wondolowski is with the U.S. national team, and Alan Gordon (groin) and Steven Lenhart (knee) are out injured.
— Saturday marked Military Appreciation Night for the Sounders. The team also honored its six league MVPs dating to the old North American Soccer League: Roger Davies (1980), Peter Ward (1982), Peter Hattrup (1995), Mark Baena (1998), Leighton O’Brien (2002) and Sebastien Le Toux (2007).
— The Emerald City Supporters held up a banner in the 55th minute that read: “All We Are Is Money To Them.” It was a sign of protest for the $55 prices San Jose is charging traveling fans for an August 2 home game against Seattle. The ECS, likely the best traveling fans in the league, won’t be making the trip for that game.