MLS Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012
(All times Eastern)
San Jose (17-6-6) at Seattle (13-6-9), 10:30 p.m.
Seattle, WA (Sports Network) - Seattle Sounders FC will cap a busy week on
Saturday when the club welcomes the top team in MLS, the San Jose Earthquakes,
to CenturyLink Field.
The match will mark the third game in eight days for Sigi Schmid's team, which
started the stretch with a 1-1 draw against Portland before securing a place
in the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions League on Wednesday by winning
3-2 against Marathon in Honduras.
Not only did Seattle clinch a place in the next round of the competition on
Wednesday, but according to defender Brad Evans, the club got a bit of a lift
heading into a tough match this weekend.
"For us, it's a good confidence booster going into this weekend, especially
with a big one coming up for us," Evans said. "This win under our belt will
help us along the way, I think, in the long run. Putting in the effort
tonight that the guys put in - we got to rest some guys and some guys got to
stretch their legs a little bit tonight."
The victory also continued a great spell of form for the Sounders, who are
unbeaten in their last seven games in all competitions and who have put
together a record of 8-1-3 in the last 12 matches.
San Jose provided the only blemish on that record with a stoppage-time winner
against Seattle on Aug. 11, and the Earthquakes have a four-game unbeaten
streak of their own to protect.
That streak nearly ended on Wednesday as the 'Quakes trailed Portland 2-0 with
20 minutes to play, only for Chris Wondolowski to come off the bench and score
two times to level the match.
"It kind of fires us up a bit," Wondolowski said of the comeback. "I wouldn't
say we were in a lull, but it's almost a playoff atmosphere. Each game is
going to be a battle. We can't make silly mistakes. We've got to be a little
Wednesday's result might serve as a wake-up call to San Jose, which sits nine
points clear at the top of the Western Conference, but Saturday's visit to
Seattle figures to offer up a much different atmosphere.
"These are the games that really matter," San Jose forward Alan Gordon said of
facing the Sounders at CenturyLink Field. "These are the games that we're
going to have to be playing in the playoffs, regardless of [winning] the
Supporters' Shield or not. We've got to play good teams at their home, and
we've got to do well and come out with points."
09/21 14:16:51 ET