Following their huge disappointment at losing the U.S. Open Cup final, the Sounders return to MLS play Saturday night against the San Jose Earthquakes.
MATCH: Seattle Sounders FC (10-5-7, 37 points, 3rd, West Conf.) at San Jose Earthquakes (13-5-5, 45 points, 1st, West Conf.). TYPE: MLS. WHEN: Saturday, 7:30 p.m., Buck Shaw Stadium, Santa Clara, CA. MEETING: 9th (Sounders lead 4-3-1). LAST 10: Sounders 3-2-5; Earthquakes 5-3-2. TV: KONG. RADIO: 97.3 KIRO FM; SPANISH: KOMO2 (Comcast Ch. 114) and La Gran D 99.3 FM.
Vexed in their attempt to nail down a fourth consecutive Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, the Sounders return to MLS competition Saturday night when they play the highest-scoring team in the league, the San Jose Earthquakes, at Santa Clara’s Buck Shaw Stadium. Seattle takes a league-best four-game road unbeaten streak into the match.
San Jose holds the top spot in MLS with 44 points (13-5-5), but is carrying a two-game winless streak (0-1-1). The Earthquakes have scored 45 goals, six more than any other team in MLS, and sport a +17 goal advantage, also first by a significant margin.
The Quakes have been dominant at home, going 7-1-3 with a +13 goal advantage, while holding opponents to 0.85 goals per game. They rank first in goals (45), assists (50), shots on goal (129), and second in shots (350). Against Western Conference opponents, San Jose is 9-3-2.
The attack of Coach Frank Yallop (suspended for the game) is headlined by forward Chris Wondolowski, the league’s top goal scorer with 17. Alan Gordon is T8 with nine goals and Steven Lenhart has seven. Gordon leads with 0.98 goals per 90 minutes.
Midfielder Marvin Chavez leads the club with nine assists (T3 in MLS), while Shea Salinas and Steven Beitashour have six each. Chavez (0.64) and Salinas (0.57) rank first and third, respectively, in assists per 90 minutes. Wondolowski and Ramiro Corrales each have five assists.
San Jose goalkeeper Jon Busch, a 12-year MLS veteran, ranks third in winning percentage (.675) and is T3 in wins (11).
After their 4-0 shutout of the L.A. Galaxy, the Sounders have won back-to-back MLS games for the first time since a club-record five wins in a row April 14-May 9, in large part due to the goal scoring of Eddie Johnson, who has 10 tallies for the season.
One of the things I put down as my goal is be consistent,” Johnson said. “The best players in the world are consistent week in and week out and in this league (San Jose’s) Chris Wondolowski is a perfect example. To score that many goals year after year is something that’s hard to do.
Considering that teams know that you can score goals and their whole scouting report is to stop you scoring goals, to be considered the best up there with the forwards in the league you have to be consistent.
SOUNDERS PROBABLE LINEUP: Goalkeeper — Michael Gspurning; Defenders — Leo Gonzalez, Patrick Ianni, Jeff Parke, Adam Johansson; Midfielders — Osvaldo Alonso, Alex Caskey, Brad Evans, Mauro Rosales; Forwards — Eddie Johnson, Fredy Montero.
EARTHQUAKES PROBABLE LINEUP: Goalkeeper — Jon Busch; Defenders — Jed Zayner, Ike Opara, Jason Hernandez, Justin Morrow; Midfielders — Shea Salinas, Khari Stephenson, Rafael Baca, Simon Dawkins; Forwards – Chris Wondolowski, Steven Lenhart.
INJURIES (Sounders): Out — FW Babayele Sodade (ACL tear), F Davis Estrada (foot fracture).
DISCIPLINARY SITUATION (Seattle): Warnings — Eddie Johnson, Andy Rose suspended next yellow card.
LAST MATCH (Sounders, July 8): Sounders fell to Sporting Kansas City in penalty kicks, 3-2, in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup final at Livestrong Sporting Park. Zach Scott scored the sole goal in regulation for Seattle as the club’s attempt at a record fourth straight Open Cup title went awry. After Brad Evans and Marc Burch converted the first two penalty kicks, the Sounders failed to make their final three. Seattle goalkeeper Michael Gspurning appeared to save Sporting’s final attempt by Paulo Nagamura, but was whistled for coming off the line and Nagamura netted the retake.
LAST VS. EARTHQUAKES (March 31): Chris Wondolowski’s first-half penalty kick provided San Jose a 1-0 victory over the Sounders at CenturyLink Field in front of 38,548, Seattle’s first MLS loss of the season. In the 24th minute, Wondolowski converted the penalty kick after the Sounders took down Steven Lenhart in the box. The shot went low and right into the back of the net after Michael Gspurning dove left.
SERIES: Dates to April 25, 2009, when the Sounders scored a 2-0 home win at on goals by Steve Zakuani and Brad Evans. The Sounders were unbeaten (2-0-1) in their past three with San Jose entering the 2012 season, but dropped a 1-0 decision March 31. Seattle came back to beat San Jose 1-0 June 26 in U.S. Open Cup play on a goal by Cordell Cato. In MLS, Seattle holds a 4-3-1 advantage but has been outscored by the Quakes 10-9. Sounders will host the Quakes Sept. 23.
SOUNDERS STATS / NOTES
SOUNDERS (MLS) LEADERS
|Starts||Montero, Alonzo, Parke 18|
|Goals||Johnson 10, Montero 6, Estrada 5|
|Assists||Rosales 9, Montero 4, Caskey 4|
|Shots||Montero 83, Johnson 50, Estrada 23, Alonso 19|
|Shots On Goal||Montero 29, Johnson 17, Estrada 10|
|Fouls Caused||Montero 40, Johnson 25, Alonso 24, Scott 20|
|Fouls Suffered||Montero 49, Rosales 33, Johnson 32|
|Offsides||Johnson 25, Montero 12, Estrada 6|
|Corner Kicks||Rosales 57, Fernandez 16, Caskey 12|
|Cautions||Johnson 5, Montero 4, Scott 4, Rose 4|
|Ejections||Hurtado 1, Fernandez 1, Montero 1|
COACHES: Sigi Schmid became first head coach of Seattle Sounders FC Dec. 16, 2008, and is in his fourth year. Born in Tübingen, Germany, Schmid relocated with his family to the U.S. in 1956, and to Torrance, CA., in 1962. He was a four-year starter at UCLA (1972-75) and graduated with a B.S. degree in economics in 1976.
Schmid later earned a M.A. in business administration from Southern California. A certified public accountant, Schmid coached the Los Angeles Galaxy from 1999 through 2004, winning four major competitions: 2002 MLS Cup, 2002 MLS Supporters Shield, 2001 U.S. Open Cup and the 2001 CONCACAF Champions Cup. He coached the Columbus Crew from 2006-08, winning the MLS Cup in his final season.
In 2009, under Schmid’s direction, the Sounders became the first expansion team to reach the MLS playoffs since the 1998 Chicago Fire. The Sounders also won the U.S. Open Cup in Schmid’s first season. They added their second and third U.S. Open Cup titles in 2010 and 2011.
Frank Yallop: Yallop is in his eighth year as head coach of the Earthquakes, and last took the team to the playoffs in 2010. Under Yallops guidance, the Quakes made a successful return to MLS in 2008 as the top expansion team of the last decade. The Quakes had more wins (8) and points (33), scored more goals (32), and allowed fewer goals (38) than any expansion team since 1998. The team also posted a nine-game unbeaten streak from July 12-Sept. 27, which was the longest in the league in 2008 and the second-longest ever by an expansion team. Yallops tenure as head coach of the Earthquakes is his second stint. He also coached the Quakes from 2001-03 before serving as the head coach of the Canadian mens national team from 2004-06 and the Los Angeles Galaxy from 2006-07.
COMING UP: The Sounders return to CenturyLink Field Aug. 18 for a Cascadia Cup contest against the Vancouver Whitecaps. The Sounders play at Chivas USA Aug. 25.
Seattle Sounders FC 2012 Schedule / Results
(10-5-7, 37 points, MLS; 2-1 CCL; 4-1 U.S. Open Cup)
|4/7||^at DC United||4:30||KING||D||0-0||2-1-1|
|5/9||^at FC Dallas||5:30||KONG||W||2-0||7-1-1|
|6/26||&at San Jose||7:30||Webcast||W||1-0||3-0-0|
|6/30||^at New England||4:30||KONG||D||2-2||7-5-5|
|7/15||^at New York||1:00||ESPN||D||2-2||8-5-7|
|8/5||^vs. LA Galaxy||6:00||ESPN2||W||4-0||10-5-7|
|8/8||&at Sport KC||6:00||GolTV||L||2-1||4-1|
|8/11||^at San Jose||7:30||KONG||—||—||—|
|9/2||^at FC Dallas||4:00||KING||—||—||—|
|10/21||^vs. FC Dallas||6:00||ESPN||—||—||—|
|10/28||^at LA Galaxy||6:00||ESPN||—||—||—|
*=CONCACAF; ^=Major League Soccer; #=International friendly; &=U.S. Open Cup