SEATTLE — In one sensational win, Sounders FC went a long way to remind the league about its quality.
Maybe that had been forgotten after a last-place start, and maybe deservedly so, but Saturday’s 4-0 thrashing of the San Jose Earthquakes left little doubt.
“There has been a lot of talk of the demise of the Sounders and whatnot,” defender Zach Scott said. “Hopefully this puts everything into perspective for a lot of people who were quick to criticize us.”
Lamar Neagle scored twice in his return from suspension, and Seattle also got goals from Mauro Rosales and Obafemi Martins in the spectacle in front of 38,880 at CenturyLink Field.
The Sounders (3-3-3) snapped a four-game losing streak against San Jose head-to-head and could be out of last place in the Western Conference by the end of the weekend, depending on results leaguewide.
The blowout marked Seattle’s most goals scored and largest margin of victory since a 6-2 road win against Chivas USA on Aug. 25, 2012.
“I think it was definitely a message today,” said goalkeeper Michael Gspurning.
Offense didn’t come easy early in the year as the Sounders had needed seven games to score the season’s first four goals. But fortunes have turned from a woeful start, resulting in a five-game unbeaten streak (3-0-2).
Seattle, long hampered by injury issues, is starting to get healthy again, and success has only led to hunger for more.
Asked if his team has finally hit its stride, coach Sigi Schmid said: “No. I want more wins.”
The Sounders got off to a fast start in the 28th minute, when Neagle was set up by Rosales in the penalty box and powered a shot through the gloves of goalkeeper Jon Busch.
Neagle, a Federal Way native, had missed Wednesday’s game in Kansas City after getting a red card last week in Philadelphia. And the early goal was a good omen, as Seattle came into the game on a 27-0-8 run when scoring first — the longest active unbeaten streak in Major League Soccer.
The lead doubled just before halftime when Rosales curled in a beauty of a free kick from 25 yards that clipped off the inside of the post, just out of the reach of a diving Busch.
The red-hot Rosales has earned a goal and assist in two of the team’s past three games, and Seattle is 19-2-7 when he factors in a scoring play.
A multigoal lead for the first time this season might have seemed safe against any other team, but San Jose (3-4-5) is renowned for its dramatic comebacks. Coming into the game, the Earthquakes had a winning record when losing at halftime while the other 18 teams in the league were a combined 1-29-12.
But it wouldn’t come this day as the visitors had their four-game unbeaten streak snapped.
The rout continued in the 54th minute when Neagle collected a long pass from midfielder Servando Carrasco and fired a left-footed shot from 17 yards away that skimmed off the post and in.
Martins capped the festivities with a goal in stoppage time, followed by his customary backflip celebration.
A fitting exclamation point on a convincing display.
“Was it a four-goal sort of drubbing loss? It was,” said San Jose coach Frank Yallop. “You’ve got to hand it to Seattle.”