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Preview: Sounders look to quiet explosive Quakes at CenturyLink

SEA vs SJ, March 31

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SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC vs SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
CENTURYLINK FIELD, Seattle, Wash.
March 31, 2012 (WEEK 4, MLS Game #32)
7 p.m. PT (KONG/KOMO; CSN-BA)

Two clubs coming off big victories meet for the first time this season when Seattle Sounders FC play host to the San Jose Earthquakes at CenturyLink Field. Sounders FC have won both of their league starts this season, both at home, after a 2-0 defeat of the Houston Dynamo last weekend. The Quakes went on the road for the first time in 2012 last weekend and came away from Toronto FC with an impressive 3-0 victory.

REFEREE: Mark Kadlecik. SAR (bench): Ian Anderson; JAR (opposite): James Conlee; 4th: Ramon Hernandez
MLS Career: 16 games; FC/gm: 24.0; Y/gm: 3.3; R: 5; pens: 5

DOWNLOAD FULL GAME GUIDE (PDF)

INJURY REPORT:

  • SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC - OUT: GK Josh Ford (knee pain); DF Andrew Duran (knee surgery); DF Michael Tetteh (hamstring); MF Mauro Rosales (knee injury); MF Steve Zakuani (leg fracture); DOUBTFUL: FW Eddie Johnson (hip injury); QUESTIONABLE: DF Adam Johansson (hamstring)
  • SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES -- OUT: MF Joey Gjertsen (R knee surgery); DF Tim Ward (L non-specific soft tissue injury); DOUBTFUL: MF Sercan Guvenisik (R hip flexor strain); QUESTIONABLE: MF Marvin Chavez (concussion)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

SUSPENDED: none

Seattle looking forward to Chelsea friendly

HEAD-TO-HEAD

  • ALL-TIME (7 meetings): Sounders FC 4 wins, 9 goals ... Earthquakes 2 wins, 9 goals ... Ties 1
  • AT SEATTLE (4 meetings): Sounders FC 3 wins, 6 goals ... Earthquakes 1 win, 3 goals ... Ties 0
  • RETURN MATCHES: 8/11: San Jose Earthquakes vs. Seattle Sounders FC, 7:30 p.m. PT; Seattle Sounders FC vs. San Jose Earthquakes, 7 p.m. PT

LAST YEAR (MLS):

4/2: SJ 2, SEA 2 (Dawkins 32; Stephenson 52 - Evans 17; White 42)
10/15: SEA 2, SJ 1 (Ochoa 82; Montero 87 - Wondolowski 24)

  • Sounders FC have come away with points on each of their last two visits to Buck Shaw Stadium, the 2-2 draw last year following a 1-0 Seattle win in 2011.
  • The Quakes came away from Seattle with their lone away win in the series in 2011, a 1-0 victory.
  • Coaches record: Sigi Schmid vs. SJ: P27 W14 L8 D5 ... Frank Yallop vs. SEA: P7 W2 L4 D1

SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC

Seattle Sounders FC made it two wins on the trot to start their 2012 season, knocking off the Houston Dynamo 2-0 on Friday evening at CenturyLink Field. Sounders FC are in a four-way tie for second place in the Western Conference with 6 points from 2 games.

LAST MATCH

  • Sounders FC grabbed control of the match with two goals in a five-minute span. In the 23rd minute, a corner kick was headed outside the area to where David Estrada waited. His long-range blast deflected off Dynamo defender Geoff Cameron on its way into the net, leaving goalkeeper Tally Hall with no chance.
  • Cameron's nightmare continued three minutes later when referee Balmodero Toledo whistled the Dynamo center back for undercutting Patrick Ianni during a Seattle corner kick. Brad Evans converted the resulting penalty to put Seattle ahead 2-0.
  • Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid made two changes to the team that took a 3-1 win against Toronto FC at CenturyLink Field. Zach Scott came into the back four for Adam Johansson, and Roger Levesque started in place of Mauro Rosales.
  • SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC (4-4-2): Michael Gspurning - Zach Scott, Patrick Ianni, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Marc Burch - Roger Levesque (Leo Gonzalez 81), Brad Evans (Servando Carrasco 61), Osvaldo Alonso, Alvaro Fernandez - Fredy Montero (Christian Sivebaek 90), David Estrada.

Sounders Scouting Report: San Jose

TEAM NEWS

  • Sounders FC have won their first two games in a season for the first time since beginning their MLS career with a pair of victories in their inaugural season of 2009.
  • "Getting to start the season with three home games is huge for us," defender Zach Scott said. "If we can get nine points out of them, it distances us from the rest of the league and as we start to hit more road games, it's definitely going to give us that little cushion."
  • David Estrada regained the MLS lead with his fourth goal of the season in the win vs. Houston. Estrada has five goals in all competitions already this season.
  • "It's going good. When it's going good it's going good, so you can shoot on goal and get a little bit of a deflection and score a goal. But he did well. You get rewarded when you work really hard," said Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid. Said Estrada: "I was a little bit bummed when I came in at halftime and heard it was an own goal, but thankfully they reviewed it and gave it to me. I'll take it."
  • Goalkeeper Michael Gspurning kept his first clean sheet in a competitive match since joining Seattle.
  • "You always want to get shutouts. We talk about it. We talk about making sure we don't allow anything because we always feel confident that we're going to be able to score a goal," Schmid said. "But it's not like, 'shutout-or-bust'. It's not that kind of an attitude."
  • Already facing a few injuries, there was another concern when Brad Evans was forced off after an hour.
  • "He felt his hamstring a little bit, so he wanted to get off the field before he would make it worse," Schmid said. "I thought early in the game he made a lot of big runs for us getting into the box and was dangerous for us in that way and that might have been a little too much."
  • With Mauro Rosales suffering a knee injury the week before, Roger Levesque took his place on the wing. "We've got to see how guys recover from injuries right now, where we're at, how the matchups look for us. As we play San Jose we'll take a look."
  • Striker Eddie Johnson has returned to full training for the first time since suffering a hip flexor strain in the March 14 CONCACAF Champions League game against Santos Laguna.
  • "Eddie is definitely coming along," Schmid said. "We want to be careful because we felt maybe we pushed him in a little too quickly last time. We think he's getting closer. He participated full out in training today so we anticipate he'll be able to go full out again on Wednesday, and then we'll have to decide about this weekend. It might be a little bit too soon."

SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES

The San Jose Earthquakes went on the road for the first time in 2012 and came away with an impressive victory, rolling to a 3-0 win against Toronto FC at BMO Field. The Quakes sit in a four-way tie for second place in the Western Conference with 6 points from 3 games.

LAST MATCH

  • The Earthquakes led after just nine minutes. Sam Cronin hooked in a cross from beyond the corner of the area on the left, and the ball hung up in the wind long enough for Chris Wondolowski to nod home inside Milos Kocic's left-hand post.
  • San Jose doubled their lead nine minutes into the second half. Defender Steven Beitashour raced down the right side into open space and laid the ball wide for midfielder Marvin Chavez. He made one quick touch across the box to Shea Salinas, who fired a left-footed strike into the left corner.
  • Just 12 minutes later, the Quakes were at it again with another flowing movement. Midfielder Rafael Baca drew Kocic out of the net towards him before passing to his left to a wide-open Wondolowski, who dug the ball out of his feet before slotting into the empty net.
  • SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (4-3-1-2): Jon Busch - Steven Beitashour, Justin Morrow, Victor Bernardez, Ramiro Corrales - Marvin Chavez (Khari Stephenson 72), Sam Cronin, Shea Salinas (Simon Dawkins 85) - Tressor Moreno (Rafael Baca 57) - Steven Lenhart, Chris Wondolowski.

HIGHLIGHTS: SJ rout the Reds

TEAM NEWS

  • San Jose's 3-0 win at Toronto FC was the club's biggest win on the road since a 3-0 victory in Dallas on Aug. 13, 2003.
  • "We got the win, which is much-needed," Sam Cronin said. "It's our first road win of the year, which is big for us. We wanted to set the impression, continue it next week in Seattle and this whole season, [to] be a tough team to play on the road."
  • Through the first three games this season, the only goal the Quakes have allowed has come through a penalty kick in the 1-0 loss to Houston.
  • "We came in trying to get behind their back four and we accomplished that quite a few times especially in the second half. It's nice to see what you work all week in practice come out in the game. Our back four and defensive unit as a group, didn't give up any clear-cut chances," Quakes head coach Frank Yallop said. "In the second half Toronto had quite a good spell of pressure but it was nice to break on and score the second goal to see the game off."
  • Chris Wondolowski scored twice vs. Toronto FC, and is now one off the league lead with three goals. He has recorded seven multiple-goal games since the start of 2010.
  • "He scored two last week and he can just sniff out the chances and is very clean with his finishes on any surface," said Yallop. "Whether it be heading it, driving it, tucking it, whatever he needs to do he scores."
  • Wondolowski has continued his role as the linchpin of the Quakes attack, with three of the club's four goals this season. Over the 2010 and 2011 seasons, Wondolowski scored 34 of San Jose's 74 goals total. At 45.9% of the team's output, only one other player in MLS history has a higher percentage of a team's goals over a two-year span: Carlos Ruiz, from 2002-03 for the LA Galaxy (49.4%, 39 of 79 total goals).
  • Cronin recorded assists on the first and third San Jose goals, his first multiple-assist game as a professional. It came against the club that selected him in the 2009 SuperDraft.
  • "I think that's a huge, underrated part of Sam's game," Chris Wondolowski said. "He does a great job of covering so much ground and tackling, it kind of goes unnoticed how good his passing is. He put it on a platter for me on the first goal, and he's got great vision to see Rafa going through and have that chipped ball."