An attractive, attacking style of play often demands some defensive sacrifices, but it doesn’t excuse the San Jose Earthquakes’ recent capitulations. New coach Chris Leitch found early success with the implementation of dynamic 3-5-2 formation in San Jose, but tonight’s 3-0 drubbing at the Seattle Sounders has officially cut his honeymoon short.
The Quakes showed signs of promising midfield buildup play early in Sunday night’s visit to Seattle, but they were outlasted by their hosts and ultimately punished for reckless defense. Leitch is winless in his three away games in MLS, having been pounded 5-1 by the New York Red Bulls earlier in the week. His team have now allowed eleven second half goals in those three matches, casting doubt upon the sturdiness of Leitch’s taxing tactics in away matches.
Nick Lima was a bright spot in an otherwise unfortunate occasion for the Quakes, spearheading their initial attacking spurts from the right flank. Stefan Frei saved early on after the ball broke nicely for Quakes captain Chris Wondolowski in the early moments and Lima came close from multiple looks in the first half, only to be denied at each occasion.
There were early warning signs at the other end, however, as Joevin Jones ran onto a smart cut-back unmarked in the six-yard box but inexplicably whiffed.
The Quakes were finally made to pay from a set-piece situation early in the second half, as Cristian Roldan headed home from a long throw in the fifty third minute. He doubled his tally barely a minute later with a low strike from yet another long throw and only David Bingham’s heroics denied the midfielder a hat-trick from top-corner-bound header six minutes later.
Bingham’s night took a sharp turn for the worse, however, as he flubbed an aerial challenge to give Seattle a simple tap-in to net their third from a corner. The goalkeeper kick-saved Aaron Kovar’s late effort but it did little to distract from his earlier mistake. Roldan also hit the post on a quick breakaway as the Quakes struggled mightily to contain the damage in another disheartening road defeat.