Chad Barrett supplied the finish to Seattle’s lone goal in its 1-1 home draw against San Jose on Wednesday night, but Obafemi Martins created it.
Martins pounced on an Earthquake giveaway less than a minute into the second half and paused long enough to allow Barrett’s run to gather momentum. Martins slid the ball into Barrett’s path and the Sounders led 1-0.
The problem was, nobody returned the favor.
“We saw a good ball in from (Martins) and Barrett finishes, but there’s not enough balls coming from the rest of our midfielders,” Seattle coach Sigi Schmid said. “It’s not coming from Rose, it’s not coming from Pappa. It hasn’t been coming from Pineda or Alonso. It doesn’t come from Neagle and didn’t come from Cooper.”
Schmid named every member of Seattle’s makeshift midfielder and another – Gonzalo Pineda – who missed with a minor ankle injury.
And yet it’s hard to argue with him, with Martins’ body language, which grew more agitated as the match progressed, providing the strongest supporting evidence.
The Sounders racked up an eye-catching 24 to 10 advantage in shots and a 21 to 10 edge in crosses. But most of the shots were from outside the boxes and few of the crosses meaningful.
Seattle, even once it settled into the game around the half hour mark, did a good job on advancing into the final third but little once it got there.
“We got in some positions tonight, some good crosses and some bad crosses,” Clint Dempsey said. “You have to find better quality in the final third if you want to have a better end product.”
The stretch between Seattle’s goal and San Jose’s equalizer was especially telling.
That’s when the ‘Quakes had to open themselves up to push forward, when they were theoretically easiest to break down.
But the best Sounders chances of that 20-minute sequence were a Marco Pappa shot from well outside the box, a spinning Barrett effort from the top of it and a one-two between Martins and Barrett that was blocked wide.
Once San Jose scored, space tightened back up.
And Martins, whose long cross for Dempsey in the final minute constituted Seattle’s best late chance, went back to throwing up his hands at wayward crosses and picked up a frustration yellow card.
“It’s tough to break them down,” Andy Rose said. “At that point you need one really good soccer player, one really smart play.”
If the Sounders are to break out of this recent slump, somebody outside the talented forward line is going to have to provide more of them.
By the numbers: 14 – Sounders shots from outside the box, as opposed to 10 inside it.
In their own words: “At 1-0 up we could have done a better job of pushing for the second, overtaking, overrunning them. Credit to them, they kept on going and got the goal back” – Sounders midfielder Andy Rose.
Up next: Sounders at Portland Timbers, 2 p.m. Sunday on ESPN2.