San Jose Earthquakes defeated Seattle Sounders FC 1-0 in the first game at Levi’s Stadium.
The crowd at the new 69,000-seater arena witnessed the Sounders fall to their third loss in four matches, as Yannick Djalo netted the winner.
Reverse in fortunes
Despite sitting bottom of the Western Conference, the Quakes were on a high after thrashing Chicago Fire 5-1 in their last fixture, while the opposite was true of the Conference leaders’ fortunes, having been beaten at home by the LA Galaxy.
Though Seattle controlled possession and got the ball into dangerous positions on numerous occasions, clear-cut chances were few and far between in the opening period. An early rising Clint Dempsey effort was palmed over the cross-bar by Jon Busch, and Gonzalo Pineda also tried his luck from distance in the 31st minute, curling wide.
However, the Rave Green dominance counted for little when Djalo converted three minutes before half-time. Chris Wondolowski placed a sumptuous pass in behind the visitors’ back-line, and the Portuguese international stripped Zach Scott for pace, before stabbing beyond Stefan Frei.
Djalo the talisman
San Jose took continued to cause their opponents problems after the interval, initially with a tame Shea Salinas shot. Djalo was crucial in every attack, forcing Frei to beat away from the goal-line, and shaping just wide, meaning his withdrawal due to injury had a significant negative impact.
Immediately, Kenny Cooper had two attempts repelled, while Dempsey’s acrobatic volley swayed just off target. As the game reached its final 15 minutes, Busch remained busy, and saved from Pineda’s free-kick, after blocking as Brad Evans slid in.
Equally as important was Wondolowski’s contribution, in diverting Chad Barrett’s header clear when he had beaten the Quakes’ stopper, but the onslaught continued.
Only a timely Victor Bernardez challenge prevented a last-ditch equaliser, until referee Ismael Elfath finally blew for full-time, inflicting further damage on the Emerald City outfit amid a celebratory atmosphere.