Three Key Match-Ups: at San Jose Earthquakes

The Sounders return to Buck Shaw Stadium for the second time this season with an eye on winning the season series from the Earthquakes.

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)

Sounders FC and the San Jose Earthquakes will face some lineup challenges when they meet for the third and final time for the 2013 regular season on Saturday night. Both teams will be missing players because of injuries and international duty, but the match should still have some intriguing matchups.

Here is a look at some of those potential duels to be had.

Lamar Neagle vs. Victor Bernardez

Obafemi Martins was ruled out of Saturday’s match by Seattle head coach Sigi Schmid after taking a knock to his calf last week against the Vancouver Whitecaps FC. That would presumably leave Neagle back to a starting forward role alongside Eddie Johnson. Meanwhile, on the other side of the ball, Bernardez will likely return to the starting lineup after missing five of the last six matches because of injuries, suspensions and international duty. The last time the two squared off, Neagle scored two goals in a 4-0 win for Seattle at CenturyLink Field in May. Both came with Neagle shooting from near the top of the box and not from using his speed to get behind the defense and if those opportunities arise again, Neagle will have to pounce.

Shea Salinas vs. DeAndre Yedlin

It’s speed versus speed on San Jose’s attacking left side as Salinas meets Yedlin. Salinas has used his speed to generate scoring chances for the Earthquakes this season, leading the team with five assists. He has also been a scoring threat. While he has just one goal to show for it, he is second on the team with 12 shots on goal. For his part, Yedlin has done well defending speed on the wings this season, matching well with his recovery speed.

Sounders FC vs. Buck Shaw Stadium

The field at Buck Shaw plays small, providing a good venue for San Jose’s smash-and-grab style, but Seattle is prepared for that type of match.

“The style they play is a little more direct than other teams, so there ends up being a lot of aerial duels,” defender Zach Scott said. “That being said, I think we’re pretty good in the air in the back and with our speed up front hopefully we can open them up a little bit.”

Seattle is just 1-3-1 at the Santa Clara University stadium, including losses in their last two matches there. With the Earthquakes heading to a new stadium in 2014, it may be the last time Sounders FC plays there and they will look to put the 10,525-seat bandbox in the rearview mirror with a positive result on Saturday.

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