Raúl Ruidíaz vs. San Jose Earthquakes 2020-11-08

Sounders FC sits atop the Supporters’ Shield standings through four games, impressing with their transition to a new system while playing without some key performers.


We have seen two dominant home performances against LA Galaxy and Minnesota. On the road, the team has proven they can grind out results, with four points from six taken from trips to LAFC and Portland.


Next up is a clash against a San Jose Earthquakes side coming off three consecutive wins. Young stars like Jackson Yueill and Cade Cowell have impressed with their positive play, and this team still can call upon the greatest scorer in MLS history, Chris Wondolowski, when a game is tight late on.


Last season, Sounders FC faced off against San Jose four times, with two emphatic victories and two hard-fought, scoreless draws. Seattle’s 7-1 victory over the Earthquakes last September highlighted the deficiencies to their high press approach, with Jordan Morris feasting on the space in behind in his 1v1 battles. So far this season, San Jose side have struck a better balance between defense and attack.



So, what should we expect to see in this encounter?




San Jose Attack: 


San Jose youngster Cowell has been the starting striker, showing an ability to stretch the opposition with his direct running. He is not afraid to take defenders on and is comfortable drifting into wider areas in search of space to attack.


Javier Eduardo Lopez has been brought in on loan from Chivas and provides a good balance with Cowell and Cristian Espinoza, both of whom are more direct runners who complement his style of play. Carlos Fierro should round out the front four and provides quality service options from wide areas.


Another key piece to the San Jose front line is the all-time top scorer in MLS history, Wondolowski. He came on against RSL last week with his side a goal down and staring defeat in the face, but Wondo scored two late goals to give the Earthquakes a massive away win. His clinical edge in front of goal cannot be discounted. Yueill has also been an impressive piece of the San Jose attacking group this season. He sets the tempo alongside new signing Eric Remedi but can also provide a goal threat with late runs into the area or his ability to strike from distance.



San Jose Defense:


The addition of Remedi has given San Jose the perfect midfield partner for Yueill. He leads the team in tackles and defensive pressures and suits their high tempo style perfectly. He offers added protection to a back four that has been better but is still the weak point of this San Jose side.  


Florian Jungwirth has played as a midfielder in the past, and while he struggles with his defensive reads at center back, his lack of pace means he can struggle with attacking runs in behind.  The Sounders wing backs should find a little more space in behind to exploit if, as expected, Tommy Thompson and Marcos Lopez look to attack from their full back positions.



Key Man:


Stefan Frei has been in excellent form to start the season and is yet to be beaten from open play. With Cowell an in behind threat, Frei’s ability to read the game and act as a sweeper keeper when necessary will be important in nullifying the SJ attack.


Stat to Watch:


Sounders FC been a possession team under Brian Schmetzer but have been averaging under 50-percent possession to start the 2021 MLS campaign. It hasn't affected their ability to create and take chances, and it could be argued the Sounders have more purpose to their possession than their opponents. San Jose have averaged a shade over 55-percent of the ball, but can they use this to penetrate what has been a strong Sounders defensive shape?

2021 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE

2021 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE

Check out our Holiday Gift Guide to find the perfect present for the holidays. Our Gift Guide includes our new Holiday Gift Cards for our ticket products.

2022 SEASON MEMBERSHIPS

2022 SEASON MEMBERSHIPS

You're not just watching a soccer match when you come to a Sounders game, you're getting the whole matchday experience. Join the Sounders Family.