LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — Seattle goalkeeper Stefan Frei made eight saves, including a diving stop on a deflected shot in the 70th minute, and the Sounders and San Jose played to a 0-0 draw in the MLS is Back tournament on Friday night.
The West Coast squads seemed to wilt in the heat and humidity of Central Florida as they combined for 28 total shots but could not beat either goalkeeper.
“You saw a team with soul, a team with chances,” San Jose coach Matias Almeyda said. “I’m really happy with the game my team played.”
Frei had the more highlight-worthy saves, the best coming off Jackson Yueill’s deflected shot. But San Jose goalkeeper Daniel Vega was his equal. Vega stopped Cristian Roldan on a clear chance in the first half. Vega then made a pair of key saves late in the match. He denied Raul Ruidiaz inside the penalty area in the 84th minute.
Vega finished with six stops.
“In the end, obviously sloppy play for the first game in three months, whatever, it was probably going to be summed up like that,” Roldan said. “But if we had taken care of one or two opportunities we would be happy with the result.”
It was the first match of the revamped Group B that lost FC Dallas when it was removed from the tournament after 10 players tested positive for COVID-19. Nashville was later removed after an outbreak of positive tests and Chicago was moved from Group A to Group B to fill out the tournament with six groups of four teams.
San Jose has been in Florida longer than any other MLS team. It was not permitted to practice in its home market prior to the start of the tournament and arrived in Florida 16 days before Friday’s first match.
“Ever since I came to this team Matias really put that in us that we had to do our best,” Vega said through an interpreter. “I think tonight’s result shows that and we’re happy that we’re back.”
The Earthquakes started the season with a draw against Toronto before losing to Minnesota United in the final match before the league came to a stop in mid-March.
Seattle opened the season with a win over Chicago and a draw against Columbus. The Sounders are now unbeaten in their last nine MLS matches dating to a Sept. 22, 2019, loss to D.C. United.