Quakes Beat Sounders 1-0 In Levi’s Stadium Opener
SANTA CLARA (CBS/AP) — Yannick Djalo scored from the edge of the box on a crisp pass from Chris Wondolowski in the 42nd minute, and the San Jose Earthquakes held off the Seattle Sounders 1-0 on Saturday night in the first sporting event at Levi’s Stadium.
The red jersey-wearing Quakes christened the new $1.2 billion high-tech home of the San Francisco 49ers with a quick-strike goal before withstanding a flurry of shots from the Western Conference-leading Sounders in the closing moments.
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Wondolowski floated a pass from midfield over a defender and right onto Djalo’s feet. Djalo controlled the ball and flicked it past a charging Stefan Frei for his third goal this season, sending most of the announced crowd of 48,765 roaring out of their seats.
Djalo left with an apparent right leg injury in the second half.
San Jose played the final sporting event at Candlestick Park last weekend — a scoreless tie against Spanish League champion Atletico Madrid — before opening the 49ers’ plush new digs in style.
A mix of Earthquakes, 49ers and Sounders fans blended together at the Silicon Valley stadium under a setting sun that gave way to a picturesque twilight sky and an energetic crowd under the lights.
Four flag-bearing parachuters glided onto the lush green field with the ceremonial ball before the game. Fans filled most of the red seats in the two lower bowls of the stadium, where the close quarters brought them mere feet from the action — though there wasn’t much of it early, but plenty late.
Earthquakes defender Victor Bernardez got a yellow card for extending his right elbow into Obafemi Martins’ face in the 19th minute. The Quakes threw an even bigger — and more stunning punch — when Wondolowski fed Djalo for the lone goal.
Djalo also missed wide left on a breakaway in the 61st minute but got tripped up at the end of the play. He walked off the field holding his right leg and was replaced by Khari Stephenson.
The Sounders spent the final 30 minutes attacking in waves. Jon Busch turned back one of Seattle’s best chances when he sent Kenny Cooper’s header from the center of the box just over the crossbar for one of his eight saves.
It was the second straight loss for the Sounders, who fell 3-0 at home to Landon Donovan and the Los Angeles Galaxy on Monday night. And it was the biggest win so far this season for the Quakes, who are last in the West.
But the night belonged to the new stadium, though for all its glitzy and grand amenities, still has kinks to work out. Some fans complained on social media of congested traffic and long lines getting into the stadium, while and others reported issues with the free wireless Internet and smartphone application.
The 49ers’ first preseason game at Levi’s Stadium is against Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos on Aug. 17. The first regular-season game at the stadium is against the Chicago Bears on Sept. 14.