Sounders FC @ San Jose Earthquakes
July 13, 2013, 7:30 pm PT; Buck Shaw Stadium
TV/Radio: KING 5; KIRO Radio 97.3 FM; KOMO2 (Spanish); La Gran D 99.3 FM (Spanish)
For the third and final time this season, Sounders FC meets the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday at Buck Shaw Stadium. However, both teams are going into the match with key pieces missing from their lineups and other important components returning from absences.
The teams split their two previous meetings, with San Jose winning 1-0 at Buck Shaw Stadium on March 23 and Seattle coming out victorious 4-0 on May 11 at CenturyLink Field. This time around, San Jose will play without 2012 MLS MVP Chris Wondolowski and his top set-up man Marvin Chavez as both will be away on national team duty for the CONCACAF Gold Cup. As will defender Clarence Goodson, who has yet to make his debut for San Jose after signing with it in June.
Wondolowski will be a key loss for the Earthquakes, as he has scored six goals in 11 appearances against Seattle all-time, including the only goal San Jose has scored against Seattle this season.
Seattle is still cognizant of the players that are available to interim coach Mark Watson.
“There’s still Steven Lenhart and there’s still Alan Gordon and (Adam) Jahn has played well off the bench for them as well,” Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid said. “It’s important for us to recognize the fact that there are going to be aerial duels that we have to win in the back and that’s something that we have to be prepared for.”
While their roster may be a bit depleted, Sounders FC isn’t about to offer sympathy to the Earthquakes. While it doesn’t have any players away on national team duty, head coach Sigi Schmid noted on Friday that the team would travel to California without midfielder Shalrie Joseph and forward Obafemi Martins after both came out of last week’s 2-0 loss to the Vancouver Whitecaps with knocks to their calves.
The blow of losing two Designated Players will be softened by the return of Osvaldo Alonso after the 2012 MSL Best XI midfielder has been limited to just 52 minutes in the last seven matches and missed the last four matches with a quad strain.
Likewise, San Jose will be bringing back Victor Bernardez from suspension, giving the Sounders FC attack a tough challenge ahead of them.
However, a big key for Seattle will be in keeping the San Jose offense quiet, as it has been able to do in its two meetings this season.
“No matter where San Jose is in the table, they’re always tough to play, especially at home. They’re a pretty big team and I think we realize that whenever we face them, it’s kind of a dogfight,” defender Zach Scott said. “Even without Wondo there, who brings them that quality, they still have a lot of interchangeable forwards. We expect a good game going down there.”