SANTA CLARA -- Adam Jahn did the grunt work, and Chris Wondolowski supplied the magic touch.
Wondolowski's goal in stoppage time of the first half gave the Earthquakes a 1-0 win over the Seattle Sounders in an early MLS Western Conference showdown at Buck Shaw Stadium on Saturday night.
Both teams had makeshift rosters because of national team call-ups and injuries, so an air of uncertainty accompanied the match.
One thing is certain: Wondolowski is a Sounders killer. He has six goals in 10 matches overall against Seattle, including two game-winners last season.
This time Wondolowski scored his second goal of the season with a brilliant 20-yard strike off the far post, after Jahn, a rookie from Stanford, leapt for a high ball battling defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, the ball deflecting off Hurtado toward Wondolowski.
"Adam did a great job battling for the ball and got a great flick on it," Wondolowski said. "I was able to find a little space, and it hit the far post."
San Jose (2-1-1) worked its first shutout of the season with a makeshift back line composed of outside backs Ty Harden and Dan Gargan and central defenders Nana Attakora, a Canadian international making his first start with the Quakes since 2011, and veteran Jason Hernandez. The revamped defensive unit got the job done in front of a crowd of 10,525.
"I thought they were absolutely awesome," said Busch, who had four saves in keeping Seattle (0-2-1) winless. "They always play great in front of me, and tonight it was amazing. We were so solid in the back. Jason's always solid, and I thought Nana came in and did a heck of a job."
During an entertaining second half, Busch saved the Quakes in the 74th minute, first with a save on a shot by Mauro Rosales from 18 yards. He then stopped a follow attempt by David Estrada from close range.
Ramiro Corrales nearly added a second goal for San Jose in stoppage time, but his shot on a breakaway was saved by Michael Gspurning, who used his right foot to knock away the low attempt.
Wondolowski believed he should have scored twice more on crosses from Shea Salinas, who had a solid game pressing the attack.
"We haven't had a ton of time to work with the back four, and the defensive unit was great," Quakes coach Frank Yallop said. "Seattle had chances, but we played very well. I thought we thoroughly deserved to win."
The athetic Attakora, under siege for much of the second half as Seattle pressed forward, held his own in the middle.