Obafemi Martins

Three Key Match-Ups: vs San Jose Earthquakes

Sounders FC vs. San Jose Earthquakes

MLS Regular Season
Wednesday, August 20; 7 pm PT; CenturyLink Field
TV/Radio: JOEtv (KZJO-Ch. 22, Cable 10); KIRO Radio 97.3 FM; ESPN Deportes Radio, 1490 AM (Spanish)

On Wednesday, Sounders FC will face the San Jose Earthquakes for the third time in the last two months across all competitions and fourth time overall this season. Here are three matchups to watch as they meet again at CenturyLink Field.

Obafemi Martins vs. Jason Hernandez
The San Jose defense was torched by FC Dallas on Saturday in a 5-0 defeat and a big factor in that match was the speed of Fabian Castillo. Martins not only has speed to burn, but will be well-rested after missing the match on Saturday against Real Salt Lake while serving a red-card suspension. He stayed sharp with a brief appearance last week in Seattle’s 6-0 win over the Chicago Fire in the U.S. Open Cup and finished with a goal and an assist in just 11 minutes of action. Martins is always hungry for goal and that performance, coupled with the defensive struggles of the Earthquakes, could set the stage for some back flips at CenturyLink Field on Wednesday.

Chad Marshall vs. Chris Wondolowski
For the first time in the three regular season matches between the two clubs, this is a potential matchup. In the first match Wondolowski was away with the U.S. National Time and last time out Marshall was recovering from a neck sprain. Now the meeting of Seattle’s Defender of the Year candidate and the 2012 MLS MVP seems to be a reality on Wednesday. If Marshall can limit Wondolowski’s opportunities, it should mean good things for the Seattle defense.

Matias Perez Garcia vs. Seattle defense
San Jose’s latest Designated Player signing scored on his first shot in MLS in a 2-2 draw with the LA Galaxy on August 8, then managed five shots against FC Dallas on Saturday, though just one was on target. The diminutive Argentine has proven already to be hard to handle while sitting in the hole between the midfield and defense. After allowing a run of goals in that space last month, Seattle has played tighter to men in those positions of late and will need to continue that to limit Perez Garcia.

UPDATE: Perez Garcia underwent knee surgery on Wednesday and is expected to miss 4-6 weeks.

Seattle’s depth vs. San Jose’s depth

The Sounders and Earthquakes will be exploring their depth for different reasons. Seattle will be playing its fourth match in 11 days, which will leave Head Coach Sigi Schmid with some decisions all over the field, especially with a match against the Portland Timbers just around the corner on Sunday. How and where he uses that depth will be influential on the match. Meanwhile, the Earhtquakes have a long list of injuries at the forward and right back positions, leaving Head Coach Mark Watson scrambling to fill those two spots.