Earthquakes 1, Sounders 0

When Chris Wondolowski is on the penalty spot, he doesn’t care

who the goalkeeper is. All the San Jose Earthquakes star forward

knows is that he has to beat him.

Wondolowski scored on a penalty kick midway through the first

half, and Jon Busch earned his second straight shutout as the San

Jose Earthquakes beat the Seattle Sounders 1-0 on Saturday

night.

Wondolowski’s goal was his fourth this season and his third

game-winner of the year for the Earthquakes (3-1-0). It also was

his fourth against the Sounders, more than any other San Jose

player.

The penalty kick was set up when Seattle defender Marc Burch

tripped Earthquakes forward Steven Lenhart in the box. Wondolowski

drilled the ensuing kick into the back right corner past 6-foot-5

goalkeeper Michael Gspurning.

”It’s a shot from 12 yards away. I’m a forward, I should make

it no matter what keeper is in there,” Wondolowski said. ”Any

time I take a PK, I’m playing to myself. I don’t necessarily try to

play to the keeper. He’s a big guy, though, a bit intimidating. I

just try to put my laces to it and put it in the corner.”

Busch made six saves on 18 Seattle shots for his third shutout

in four games. He has allowed just one goal this season – and that

was a penalty kick in a 1-0 loss to Houston on March 17.

”With the boys I have in front of me, nothing surprises me,”

Busch said of the early success in keeping opponents off the board.

”These guys are tremendous. We have so much depth on this team.

These guys work their butts off in front of me, so all the credit

goes to them.”

The Earthquakes are now in a tie with Real Salt Lake for first

place in the Western Conference.

The Sounders (2-1-0) fell short of matching the best-ever start

in club history. As an expansion team in 2009, Seattle won its

first three games.

”Sometimes, games go like that a little bit,” Seattle coach

Sigi Schmid said. ”I didn’t think our first half was outstanding.

I thought we created more chances in the second half. We always

believe we’re going to score. If we hadn’t created anything, I’d be

a lot more worried or a lot more disappointed.”

In fact, the Sounders wound up with six more shots than the

Earthquakes. Two of those came within 10 seconds of each other

early in the 70th minute. Fredy Montero, playing in the 6-yard box,

sent a left-footer goalward that Busch leaped to slap away with his

left hand. The rebound went out to Zach Scott at the top of the

penalty area, and his shot also was on target, but Busch moved to

his left to make the stop.

”Seattle puts you under pressure here,” Earthquakes coach

Frank Yalloop said. ”We said we needed to get better at finishing

games out and defending as a unit. Victor Bernardez has made a big

difference in our back line, and this team is determined not to

give up goals.”

Austrian native Gspurning, who replaced retired U.S national

team star Kasey Keller in goal for Seattle this season and logged

his first MLS shutout on March 23 against Houston, came up with

four saves on 12 San Jose shots.

Two of those came before Wondolowski’s penalty kick. First,

Gspurning dove onto the ball just outside the left post with

Wondolowski poised to shoot it late in the 17th minute. A little

more than four minutes later, Lenhart launched a shot from the

right side of the 6-yard box which Gspurning grabbed.