The Sounders have struggled against the Earthquakes, failing to beat the San Jose side since goalkeeper Kasey Keller’s final regular-season game at the Clink in 2011.
MATCH: San Jose Earthquakes (3-3-5, 14 points, T4, MLS West) at Seattle Sounders FC (2-3-3, 9 points, T8, MLS West). TYPE: MLS. WHEN: Saturday, 1 p.m., CenturyLink Field. MEETING: 12th (Earthquakes lead 6-4-1). TV: KONG. RADIO: 97.3 KIRO FM; SPANISH: KOMO2 (Comcast Ch. 114) and La Gran D 99.3 FM.
What the Oakland Athletics are to the Seattle Mariners — a nemesis — the San Jose Earthquakes are becoming to the Seattle Sounders. The Quakes defeated the Sounders four consecutive times, Seattle’s last win coming Oct. 15, 2011 in what was Kasey Keller’s final regular-season home match.
The Sounders, coming off a 1-0 win at Sporting Kansas City, have already dropped one match to San Jose this season (1-0 March 23), They get a second crack at the Quakes Saturday at 1 p.m. (day game because the Mariners are facing the Athletics at Safeco Field at 6:10 p.m.). The teams meet a third time in regular-season play July 13 at Buck Shaw Stadium in Santa Clara, CA.
Frank Yallop’s Quakes, winner of the 2012 Supporter’s Shield with 66 points, had a six-match winless streak until they rallied for a 2-1 victory against Toronto FC Wednesday. The Quakes have yet to win (0-2-2) on the road (outscored 6-3 away from home) and have yet to demonstrate the offensive firepower they did a year ago (72 goals, 13 more than any other team).
However, San Jose continues its knack for late-match heroics, netting six goals in the final 15 minutes of games this season (four equalizers, two game-winners) after leading the league last year with 22 goals scored in the final 15.
Defending MVP Chris Wondolowski, who notched the game winner against Toronto Wednesday in the 81st minute, leads San Jose with five goals, including the lone goal in a 1-0 win over Seattle. Wondolowski has scored 65 goals since the start of the 2010 season, including six against the Sounders.
Rookie forward Adam Jahn has three goals — all equalizers in the final 10 minutes. Midfielder Shea Salinas leads the club and is tied-third in MLS with three assists, including two in a 2-2 draw with Chivas USA.
The Sounders are home after three road matches that resulted in two wins (Colorado and Sporting Kansas City) sandwiched around a draw (Philadelphia).
“This was important for our team,” said head coach Sigi Schmid. “We have eight points over our last four games, so we’re averaging two points a game, which is what we need to do to put ourselves back in the running. Now we’ve got a big Western Conference game and we want to get points at home. Our fans are seeing that we’re fighting and clawing to get back to being the team we’ve been over the past four years.”
To this extent, the Sounders are “clawing” back: They are undefeated over their past four, including three shutouts. They also scored four goals in the past three after tallying just once in the first five matches.
SOUNDERS PROBABLE LINEUP: Goalkeeper — Michael Gspurning. Defenders — Leo Gonzalez, Djimi Traore, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Zach Scott. Midfielders — Mario Martinez, Brad Evans, Servando Carrasco, Osvaldo Alonso, Mauro Rosales. Forwards — Eddie Johnson, David Estrada.
EARTHQUAKES PROBABLE LINEUP: Goalkeeper — Jon Busch. Defenders — Dan Gargan, Nana Attakora, Victor Bernardez, Steven Beitashour. Midfielders — Ramiro Corrales, Walter Martinez, Sam Cronin, Shea Salinas. Forwards — Adam Jahn, Chris Wondolowski.
INJURIES: Seattle — GK Josh Ford, out. San Jose — None. SUSPENSIONS: Seattle — GK Marcus Hahnemann.
SERIES: Dates to April 25, 2009, when the Sounders scored a 2-0 home win on goals by Steve Zakuani and Brad Evans. The Earthquakes took the series lead last year with three victories, dropping Seattle to 4-5-1 in the all-time series. San Jose holds a 15-11 goal advantage, with Chris Wondolowski leading all scorers with six goals. In the March 23 match, Wondolowski scored the lone goal in the first minute of stoppage time in the first half.
SOUNDERS STATS / NOTES
SOUNDERS MLS LEADERS
|Starts||Gspurning 8, Hurtado 8, Yedlin 7, Traore 7|
|Goals||Johnson 2, 4 tied with 1 each|
|Assists||Rosales 2, 4 tied with 1 each|
|Shots||Evans 14, Johnson 13, Alonso 11|
|Shots On Goal||Johnson 6, Evans 3, Martinez 3|
|Fouls Caused||Yedlin 13, Alonso 13, Evans 10|
|Fouls Suffered||Johnson 14, Alonso 13, Rosales 12|
|Offsides||Johnson 9, Evans 4, Neagle 3|
|Corner Kicks||Rosales 30, Martinez 11|
|Cautions||Johnson 2, 4 tied with 1 each|
|Ejections||Lamar Neagle, DeAndre Yedlin, 1 each|
EARTHQUAKES NOTES: Former Sounders FC players Mike Fucito and Cordell Cato play for San Jose . . . Defender Ty Harden and midfielder Jacob Hustedt attended the University of Washington . . . Earthquakes forward Steven Lenhart played for Sigi Schmid and with Brad Evans in Columbus in 2008 . . . Seattle’s Servando Carrasco and San Jose’s David Bingham played together at Cal-Berkeley . . . Ramiro Corrales is the last player remaining from Major League Soccer’s inaugural season.
COMING UP: The Sounders host FC Dallas May 18 and then travel to Los Angeles for the first meeting of the season with the Galaxy.
Seattle Sounders FC 2013 Schedule / Results
(2-3-3, 9 points, MLS; 1-1-0 CCL; 0-0-0 U.S. Open Cup)
|3/6||*at Tigres||7:00||Fox Soccer||L||1-0||0-0-0|
|3/23||^at San Jose||7:30||KING 5||L||1-0||0-2-1|
|5/26||^at LA Galaxy||8:00||ESPN2||—||—||—|
|7/13||^at San Jose||7:30||KING/KONG||—||—||—|
|9/21||^at LA Galaxy||7:30||NBCSN||—||—||—|
|10/19||^at FC Dallas||1:00||NBCSN||—||—||—|
*=CONCACAF; ^=Major League Soccer