Preview: Playoff-bound Seattle wrap home schedule vs. SJ
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC vs SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
CENTURYLINK FIELD, Seattle, Wash.
7:30 p.m. PT (FOX Soccer/Deportes; GolTV Can.)
Oct. 15, 2011 (WEEK 31; MLS Game 296)
Seattle Sounders FC conclude their regular season home campaign Saturday when they play host to the San Jose Earthquakes at CenturyLink Field. The postseason futures for both clubs are pretty well set. Sounders FC can do no better than second in the Western Conference after their 2-0 loss to Philadelphia Union last weekend. The Earthquakes have seen their bid for a place in the MLS Cup Playoffs come to an end, despite a 2-1 win at New England last week.
REFEREE: Michael Kennedy. SAR (bench): Kermit Quisenberry; JAR (opposite): Bill Dittmar; 4th: Hilario Grajeda
MLS Career: 142 games; FC/gm: 28.7; Y/gm: 3.8; R: 26; pens: 48
INJURY REPORT: SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC - OUT: GK Terry Boss (concussion); MF Michael Seamon (lateral ankle tendon); MF Steve Zakuani (R leg fracture); FW O'Brian White (leg surgery); QUESTIONABLE: MF Mauro Rosales (R knee MCL sprain); DF Jeff Parke (concussion) ... SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES - OUT: MF Andre Luiz (L knee injury); DF Ike Opara (L foot injury); FW Alan Gordon (surgery); FW Steven Lenhart (family leave); MF Bobby Convey (R knee inflammation); DOUBTFUL: MF Anthony Ampaipitakwong (L groin strain); DF Ramiro Corrales (R ankle sprain); QUESTIONABLE: DF Nana Attakora (L hamstring strain); FW Scott Sealy (R quadriceps strain)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: SEA: Osvaldo Alonso, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado ... SJ: Ramiro Corrales, Alan Gordon
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: SEA: Alvaro Fernandez, Erik Friberg, James Riley, Zach Scott ... SJ: Steven Beitashour, Bobby Burling, Sam Cronin, Jason Hernandez, Chris Leitch, Steven Lenhart, Brad Ring, Khari Stephenson, Chris Wondolowski
- ALL-TIME (6 meetings): Sounders FC 3 wins, 7 goals ... Earthquakes 2 wins, 8 goals ... Ties 1
- AT SEATTLE (3 meetings): Sounders FC 2 wins, 4 goals ... Earthquakes 1 win, 2 goals ... Ties 0
- In the first meeting this year between the clubs, Brad Evans and Steve Zakuani scored for Seattle, but San Jose answered back both times with goals from Simon Dawkins and Khari Stephenson, as they finished in a 2-2 draw on April 2 at Buck Shaw Stadium.
- The visiting team won both matches in the series last season, each team taking a 1-0 win on the other's ground.
- In Sounders FC's inaugural season, the home team claimed each of the three meetings (Seattle hosting two).
- Four of the six meetings all-time have ended in shutouts.
- Coaches record: Sigi Schmid vs. SJ: P26 W13 L8 D5 ... Frank Yallop v SEA: P6 W2 L3 D1
LAST MEETING (MLS):
- 4/2: SJ 2, SEA 2 (Dawkins 32, Stephenson 52 - Evans 17, White 42)
- Sounders FC took the lead after just 17 minutes. Mauro Rosales shook free of Sam Cronin on the dribble, then slotted a low centering pass to Brad Evans. Evans then beat Chris Leitch to the ball and knocked it home from point-blank range.
- The Quakes pulled level in the 32nd minute. Bobby Convey threaded a great pass through three defenders. Dawkins raced to it and, from 12 yards out, placed a left-footed shot just beyond Kasey Keller's reach, tucking it neatly inside the far post.
- Seattle nosed back in front just before the interval. Steve Zakuani floated a cross into the six-yard box for O'Brian White, who fended off Jason Hernandez and struck a diving header that left Busch helpless.
- But San Jose leveled again through a majestic goal. Khari Stephenson, who had come on at the half, powered home a blistering 35-yard strike in the 52nd minute that Keller got his left hand to but couldn't keep out.
- SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (4-1-4-1): Jon Busch - Chris Leitch (Ike Opara 70), Jason Hernandez, Brandon McDonald, Ramiro Corrales - Sam Cronin - Joey Gjertsen (Khari Stephenson 46), Chris Wondolowski, Simon Dawkins (Scott Sealy 85), Bobby Convey - Ryan Johnson.
- SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC (4-1-3-2): Kasey Keller - James Riley, Jeff Parke, Patrick Ianni, Leo Gonzalez - Osvaldo Alonso - Erik Friberg (Alvaro Fernandez 46), Brad Evans, Steve Zakuani - O'Brian White (Nate Jaqua 66), Mauro Rosales (David Estrada 83).
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC
Seattle Sounders FC saw their league winning streak come to an end at three games, falling 2-0 to Philadelphia Union on Saturday evening at CenturyLink Field. Sounders FC have 57 points from 32 games on the season, in second place in the Western Conference.
- Union took the lead on hour. Gabriel Farfan chased down a long ball on the left flank and rounded James Riley on the byeline before pulling the ball back for Freddy Adu at the corner of the six-yard box, and he smashed a left-footed blast into the roof of the net.
- Ten minutes later, Union doubled their lead on the counter. Le Toux sent off on a long run up the center of the park and slid a square pass to Brian Carroll at the top of area. Carroll finished clinically, firing low and hard to the back post past Seattle goalkeeper Kasey Keller.
- Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid made eight changes to the team that defeated the New England Revolution 2-1 at Gillette Stadium. Only goalkeeper Kasey Keller, defender Tyson Wahl and midfielder Erik Friberg maintained their places.
- SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC (4-1-3-2): Kasey Keller - James Riley, Jeff Parke (Patrick Ianni 46), Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Tyson Wahl - Osvaldo Alonso - Brad Evans, Erik Friberg, Lamar Neagle - Mike Fucito (Nate Jaqua 68), Pat Noonan (Sammy Ochoa 62).
- Sounders FC saw their season-long three-game winning streak come to an end in the 2-0 home loss to Philadelphia.
- "I think we've had some emotional highs in the last two weeks and sometimes you come out a little bit flat and they were a little bit flat today, especially in the first half, and we left it for a little bit too late," said Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid. "It just serves as a reminder that in this league everything is so tight that if you come and aren't wholly prepared to do all the work you need to do, you end up coming up short."
- The loss also guaranteed the LA Galaxy will finish with the best overall record in the league, winning the Supporters' Shield for the second consecutive year and a fourth time overall.
- "It always hurts. But at the end of the day what's most important is to win the MLS Cup," Schmid said. "You look at who won the MLS Cup last year, Colorado. Did they win the Supporters Shield? No. Who won MLS Cup the year before? Salt Lake. Did they win Supporters' Shield? No. So maybe winning the Supporters' Shield isn't all that necessary to win the MLS Cup and at the end of the day that's our goal."
- After sustaining a mild concussion in the U.S. Open Cup final, Alvaro Fernandez was cleared to play against Philadelphia, but as he had not trained at all during the week, he went as an unused substitute.
- Central defender Jeff Parke was removed from the match at halftime with a concussion.
- Pat Noonan made his second start of the season, and his first since Aug. 13.
- "We wanted to keep the same sort of balance up front. The way we play is we have the one forward high and Fredy [Montero] finds his space underneath. Noonan is more comfortable doing that," Schmid said. "Rather in the end we went with the two big guys up front, so the thing was to try and keep us in a rhythm. But again, like I said we had too many guys with bad games so we never got into a rhythm."
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
The San Jose Earthquakes won for the first time in five games, getting a late winner for a 2-1 victory against the New England Revolution on Saturday evening at Gillette Stadium. The Quakes have 35 points from 32 games on the season, sitting in eighth place in the Western Conference.
- San Jose got off to a perfect start after just eight minutes. Goalkeeper David Bingham thumped a clearance from his own penalty area over the Revolution defense. Chris Wondolowski scampered past the last man into the box, brought down the service with a slick first touch and coolly slotted home inside the far post.
- The home side pulled even 10 minutes into the second half. After a scramble following a free kick that was blocked at the edge of box, Ryan Guy forced Bingham into a fine diving save. Milton Caraglio headed the rebound off the crossbar, but Benny Feilhaber tucked the rebound into the vacated net with a neat leaping finish.
- But the Quakes snatched the winner with eight minutes to play. The ball swung from left to right for Simon Dawkins to feed Sam Cronin's overlapping run down the right, and he lofted in a cross to the back post where Wondolowski climbed to nod home his 14th goal of the season.
- Earthquakes boss Frank Yallop made one change to the team that reached a 1-1 draw with Sporting Kansas City at Buck Shaw Stadium. David Bingham made his first MLS start in goal, in place of Jon Busch.
- SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (4-4-2): David Bingham - Steven Beitashour, Jason Hernandez, Bobby Burling, Justin Morrow - Rafael Baca, Sam Cronin, Ramiro Corrales (Brad Ring 79), Simon Dawkins (Ellis McLoughlin 87) - Khari Stephenson, Chris Wondolowski
- Since winning back-to-back games in the first two weeks of June, the Quakes have won just twice since.
- "I think it's hard for the guys to keep lifting their spirits because we've played really well and we end up losing or tying," said Earthquakes head coach Frank Yallop. "We've tied a lot of games this year. We've only lost 11, and I know that doesn't sound like that many. That's the same as Real Salt Lake, but they've won more games than us. I think for us it's just a good feeling that we finally got three points and it was deserved."
- Chris Wondolowski has scored the last four goals for San Jose, including both in the 2-1 win at New England, to give him 14 for the season and a tie for the lead in the MLS Golden Boot standings, along with Dwayne De Rosario of D.C. United and Thierry Henry of the New York Red Bulls.
- "He's a poacher for sure. He always seems to be at the right spot at the right time and he's actually missed a few chances this year," said Yallop. "But I think he's top goalscorer again, right now as we speak. It looks like he's probably got a couple more before the end of the season, hopefully."
- Wondolowski has scored six goals in the last seven games, and it's the second consecutive season he has made a late charge. A year ago, he scored 10 goals over the final eight games of the season to win the Golden Boot, finishing with 18 goals.
- "It's just what goalscoring does. It comes in streaks," Wondolowski said. "There's no rhyme or reason to it. It's just one of those things where sometimes you hit them and they go in, sometimes you hit them well and they don't go in. I went through a dry spell in the middle of the year and have just been fortunate in October the last two years."
- No player in MLS history has won the goalscoring title outright in back-to-back seasons; in 2003, Carlos Ruiz tied for the overall lead with Taylor Twellman after winning the honor in 2002, and Stern John finished in a three-way tie in 1999 after scoring the most goals in 1998.
- "Hopefully I can pull it out. I know Dwayne (De Rosario) still has a bunch of games left, Thierry (Henry) also has, I think I'm going to have to do some work in the next two games, but it's just nice to get a win," Wondolowski said.
- David Bingham made his first career MLS start in the 2-1 win against New England - and recorded an assist on the first goal with a long punt that Wondolowski met in the Revolution penalty area before slotting home. Earlier this year, Bingham scored a goal from his own penalty area in a friendly vs. England's West Bromwich Albion.
- "They took a big risk in putting me on tonight - first game really, sitting behind a veteran like (Jon) Busch, so they definitely took a leap out there," said Bingham. "I just wanted to show them that I appreciate it and that I can play if they want me to. They didn't know I could put it over the top. Wondo (Chris Wondolowski) was in and he took a phenomenal touch and just did the rest."
- Said Yallop: "We wanted to give (David Bingham) a game because Jon Busch has been fantastic for us, obviously. I just wanted to give the youngster a game, and I thought he did well tonight. Just everything was good."
- The 2011 Earthquakes season will conclude with a home match against FC Dallas. "Obviously, once you're out of the playoffs, you start to look at next season and how we can improve the team and how we can just make the squad look more streamlined and add some players to it," said Yallop. "That's what we'll be doing in the next little while, over the next few weeks, just to kind of figure out what (the team) is going to look like next year and have some holes filled. Hopefully, we can come back with a nice strong season next season."