Sounders FC vs. San Jose Earthquakes
May 11, 2013, 1 p.m. PT, CenturyLink Field
TV/Radio: KONG 6/16; KIRO Radio 97.3 FM; Univision Deportes (Spanish); La Gran D 99.3 FM (Spanish)
Sporting Kansas City and the San Jose Earthquakes have seen similar paths to on-field success in recent years.
However, the Sounders have had polar opposite success levels against the two teams recently. Against Kansas City, Seattle improved to 6-0-1 in their last seven MLS meetings dating back to 2009, yet they have lost their last four matches against San Jose.
That, Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid said, is how soccer goes.
“Sometimes you become a boogie team for somebody and you can’t really say why. We felt confident in Kansas City. It’s a place we’ve gotten good results,” said Schmid, who will lead his Sounders against San Jose on Saturday at CenturyLink Field. “Now it’s about turning things around with the Quakes because we haven’t had good results with them recently.”
The Sounders come into Saturday’s match loaded up on the momentum of a successful road trip that saw them take four points from two matches against the Philadelphia Union and Kansas City, capped with the stoppage-time winner by Djimi Traore against Sporting.
While the Sounders have become familiar with late-game heroics against Kansas City, winning four matches since 2010 on stoppage-time goals, the Earthquakes have become known for earning points off of last-minute goals against anyone and everyone. Last year, alone, they scored nine goals in second-half stoppage time, eight of which earned a win or a draw. Those goals gave them 13 additional points in the standings, including one stoppage-time winner over the Sounders last August.
To beat the Earthquakes, the Sounders will have to defend until the final whistle, paying particular attention to 2012 MLS MVP Chris Wondolowski, who has six goals in 10 career matches against the Sounders, including the lone goal in a 1-0 Seattle defeat on March 23 at Buck Shaw Stadium.
“It’s a difficult game. San Jose is a busy, active team,” Schmid said. “We have to take the form and the heart and effort that we showed on the road trip onto the field on Saturday.”
The match marks the first time in 2013 that the Sounders will meet a team for the second time as conference opponents face off three times over the season.
Last year the Sounders went 4-1-3 when meeting a team for the second time and Schmid is confident that they won’t need to change anything about how they prepare for a second meeting with San Jose.
“We felt pretty good about our tactics in San Jose. We just have to be prepared to do the good things that we did down there and eliminate the bad things,” he said. “We always talk about winning a season series with teams. We’re down to them now, so this is a game where we can even up the season series and put ourselves in a position to win it.”