SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Seattle Sounders goalkeeper Michael Gspurning kept San Jose Earthquakes midfielder Walter Martinez from opening his MLS scoring account in spectacular fashion.
Gspurning’s backup wasn’t as successful.
Martinez, the 31-year-old former Honduran international, scored his first goal since joining MLS this winter, curling a 12-yard shot around former Quakes goalkeeper Andrew Weber in the 48th minute to power San Jose’s 1-0 victory Saturday night.
Martinez was denied a highlight-reel bicycle kick goal in the 14th minute by Gspurning, who appeared to suffer a left wrist injury four minutes later after making a save on Alan Gordon’s header and being clattered into by Steven Lenhart. Gspurning played the rest of the half but was replaced at intermission by Weber, an emergency addition on loan from USL Pro side Phoenix FC after veteran backup Marcus Hahnemann was ruled out due to a hamstring problem.
Martinez wound up breaking open a scoreless match by collecting a ball from Lenhart, cutting inside Seattle defender DeAndre Yedlin and firing high to the back post.
San Jose (6-9-6) broke a two-match losing streak by posting just their second shutout of the season. Without leading scorer Obafemi Martins, out because of a calf problem, Seattle’s offense generated just one shot on goal – an easily saved 83rd-minute header from Eddie Johnson.
The Quakes weren’t fazed by the loss of center back Jason Hernandez to injury just before halftime. Dan Gargan slotted in at left back and Justin Morrow slid to the middle without any loss of effectiveness.
Weber kept Seattle (7-7-3) in the match with a one-on-one save against Lenhart in the 54th minute, but the Sounders couldn’t take advantage and fell to .500 for the first time since May 26.
After a Seattle free kick in the 94th minute was snuffed out by San Jose’s wall, Sounders midfielder Osvaldo Alonso was shown a straight red card for shoving Quakes defender Dan Gargan.
Seattle were hampered tactically by having to use all three of their substitutions to deal with injuries. In addition to Weber replacing Gspurning, midfielder Brad Evans went out with a rib contusion in the 32nd minute and defender Djimi Traore was replaced in the 53rd after several hard collisions.
The Sounders are back in action next Saturday when they host the Colorado Rapids, while San Jose have a bye week before playing host to the Portland Timbers on July 27.