JOEVIN JONES finished a woefully tired man as the San Jose Earthquakes and his Seattle Sounders ended their Group B opener at the MLS (Major League Soccer) is Back Tournament in Orlando, Florida in a 0-0 deadlock on Friday.
Seattle are next in action against Chicago Fire FC on Tuesday and Vancouver Whitecaps on Wednesday.
Jones came on at left-back as a 56th-minute substitute for Martiniquan Jordi Delem. However, near the end the soon to be 29-year-old Jones seemed unable to run back, as San Jose broke through his end a of couple times. The visibly tired Trinidad and Tobago international dangerously also failed to connect with what looked a routine defensive header in the final second of the match.
Stefan Frei’s heroics
Seattle very well could have found themselves taking no points in this one if not for goalkeeper Stefan Frei’s heroics. Named Man-of-the-Match, the veteran goalkeeper has long been one of the steadiest in the MLS, and put in another standout shift in his team’s first game back.
Lack of sharpness rather than a lack of chances contributed to the goalless but competitive match.
San Jose dominated possession throughout the first half, and found a handful of good looks on goal, but either saw them trickle wide or get denied by Sounders ‘keeper Frei each time. Seattle absorbed a lot of pressure, but they had their chances too. However, the rust was obvious after a four-month break due to the Covid-19 lockdown.
Seattle absorbed a lot of pressure
Seattle had perhaps their best look of the first half in the 28th minute when midfielder Cristian Roldan got behind the Quakes’ back line and fired a shot that was saved by San Jose ‘keeper Daniel Vega, who put in a solid overall performance of his own between the posts.
San Jose nearly broke through in the 70th minute off a distance shot from Jackson Yueill that took a deflection and appeared bound for goal, but Frei came through again with a highlight-reel diving save to preserve the scoreless deadlock.
Seattle nearly found a late winner in the 84th minute after Raul Ruidaz found himself with an open look off a cross from Kelvin Leerdam. Peruvian Ruidaz might have scored with a first time shot, but took a touch too many and couldn’t quite get his effort past a charging Vega.