San Jose Earthquakes vs. Seattle Sounders | MLS Match Preview

SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES vs SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC
LEVI’S STADIUM, Santa Clara, Calif.
Aug. 2, 2014 (WEEK 21, MLS Game #198)
7:30 p.m. PT (NBCSN; free stream on NBCSports.com; TSN2)

The San Jose Earthquakes and Seattle Sounders FC will inaugurate Levi’s Stadium in San Francisco when the clubs meet Saturday evening before an NBC Sports Network audience. The Quakes come into the match off an impressive 5-1 dismantling of the Chicago Fire in their last league match, ending a five-game winless run. Sounders FC hit the road following their heaviest loss of the year, a 3-0 home defeat by the LA Galaxy last weekend. It’s the first game ever at the stadium, the new home of the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers.

REFEREE: Ismail Elfath. AR1 (bench): Frank Anderson; AR2 (opposite): Corey Parker; 4th: Alejandro Mariscal
MLS Career: 33 games; FC/gm: 25.3; Y/gm: 3.1; R: 9; pens: 11

SUSPENDED: none
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: SJ: Steven Lenhart, Jordan Stewart
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: SJ: Sam Cronin, Alan Gordon … SEA: Osvaldo Alonso, Gonzalo Pineda
DISABLED LIST: SJ: Tommy Muller … SEA: Damion Lowe; Kevin Parsemain
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (14 meetings): Earthquakes 7 wins, 16 goals … Sounders FC 6 wins, 16 goals … Ties 1
AT SAN JOSE (6 meetings): Earthquakes 4 wins, 10 goals … Sounders FC 1 wins, 4 goals … Ties 1
FUTURE MATCH: 8/20: Seattle Sounders FC vs. San Jose Earthquakes, 7 p.m. PT

2014 (MLS):
5/17: SEA 1, SJ 0 (Martins 8)

  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Obafemi Martins scored the game’s only goal in the eighth minute for a Sounders FC victory May 17 at CenturyLink Field.
  • Sounders FC also claimed a U.S. Open Cup fifth-round encounter between the teams, winning in a penalty shootout after a 1-1 draw. San Jose’s Steven Lenhart (24) and Seattle’s Kenny Cooper (26) traded goals midway through the first half for all the scoring, before Seattle took the tie 4-1 in the shootout.
  • The Earthquakes have won the last three meetings at Buck Shaw Stadium, including victories in both games in Santa Clara last year. The last Sounders FC away win in the series came July 31, 2010, a 1-0 victory.
  • Coaches record: Sigi Schmid vs. SJ: P34 W16 L13 D5 … Mark Watson vs. SEA: P2 W1 L1 D0

LAST MEETING

  • The game's lone goal came after just eight minutes. Obafemi Martins ran down a pass from Gonzalo Pineda deep on the left side of the penalty area, then clipped it to the far post from the bounce past Earthquakes goalkeeper Jon Busch, who could only watch as the shot nestled into the side netting.
  • Sounders FC goalkeeper Stefan Frei was called upon to make just a single save, not until the 90th minute when he wasn't much troubled by a Khari Stephenson free kick from about 30 yards out.
  • SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC (4-4-2): Stefan Frei - Jalil Anibaba, Chad Marshall, Zach Scott, Leo Gonzalez - Lamar Neagle (Andy Rose 90), Gonzalo Pineda, Osvaldo Alonso, Marco Pappa (Dylan Remick 87) - Kenny Cooper (Chad Barrett 70), Obafemi Martins
  • SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (4-1-3-2): Jon Busch - Brandon Barklage, Ty Harden, Jordan Stewart, Shaun Francis - Sam Cronin - Cordell Cato (Sam Garza 80), Khari Stephenson, Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi (JJ Koval 88) - Atiba Harris, Billy Schuler (Mike Fucito 75).

SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
The San Jose Earthquakes ended their five-game winless run in emphatic fashion, rolling to a 5-1 win against the Chicago Fire on July 23 at Buck Shaw Stadium. The Quakes are in ninth place in the Western Conference with 20 points from 18 games.

LAST MATCH

  • The Quakes opened the scoring in the 45th minute. From midfield, Yannick Djalo sent a first-time into space for Shea Salinas to chase down the left wing. He then collected the pass and cut inside, firing home from inside the penalty area.
  • San Jose doubled their lead in the 52nd minute when nice buildup led to a chance for Chris Wondolowski. Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson blocked the initial shot, but Atiba Harris ran unmolested to the loose rebound and knocked it home from close range. Wondolowski made it 3-0 in the 62nd minute, slipping in a nifty shot from 12 yards past Johnson after Harris set him free from midfield.
  • The Fire drew a goal back in the 75th minute when Grant Ward collected a pass from Matt Watson and ripped a first-time laser from the edge of the area into the far side netting.
  • But the Quakes poured it on late. Set loose by Cordell Cato behind the Fire defense, Djalo cheekily chipped Johnson from outside the area in the 79th minute. Cato then slotted home five minutes later from a Wondolowski pass to complete the rout.
  • Quakes head coach Mark Watson made one change to the team that came back for a 1-1 draw with the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena. Atiba Harris came into the side, replacing Steven Lenhart.
  • SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (4-4-1-1): Jon Busch - Shaun Francis, Jason Hernandez, Victor Bernardez, Jordan Stewart - Atiba Harris (Cordell Cato 70), Sam Cronin, Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi, Shea Salinas (Mike Fucito 90) - Yannick Djalo (Khari Stephenson 88) - Chris Wondolowski.

TEAM NEWS

  • The Earthquakes put an end to a five-game winless streak with the victory against the Fire, their first in league play since a 2-1 win against FC Dallas on May 31.
  • The five goals were the most in a game for the Quakes since a 5-0 win vs. Real Salt Lake in 2012, one goal shy of the club record set on two occasions (last in 1999).
  • "I feel as though the team has been gelling of late, but it hasn't resulted in goals or wins. I think there have been some positive signs recently,” said Quakes head coach Mark Watson. “I thought New York was a good performance as well. I thought we did some good things, but we just didn't have that quality in the final third. We continued to do that, raised our quality in the final third and scored some goals.”
  • Yannick Djalo scored one goal and set up two others in the Quakes’ 5-1 win, by far his biggest single-game performance in 12 league appearances with the club this season.
  • Djalo played as a strike partner for Chris Wondolowski, in a slightly withdrawn role. It was just the second time the pair had lined out as a strike pair – the first came May 3 in Vancouver, and lasted just nine minutes before Djalo was forced from the field with an injury.
  • “That’s probably the position he does best at, just getting in those little pockets and turning and running at the back four,” Watson said. “He’s obviously a very good player. He’s very dynamic, uses the ball well, and I thought it was a fantastic performance.” Said Wondolowski: “I thought Yannick played well. He plays really well underneath. He makes it so hard on defenders and makes a lot of other people’s jobs a lot easier.”
  • Djalo moved into the role after Steven Lenhart failed a pregame fitness test after suffering an injury to his knee. Lenhart had made seven consecutive starts following his return to the lineup after missing seven matches. Atiba Harris came into a wide midfield role with Djalo moving forward.
  • “I thought they established a good relationship pretty early on, were on the same page and had some good moments in the game,” Watson said. “When you’re searching for performances, results, points, you try different things. Based on the performance, I think that things look pretty good. I think there’s a chance we’ll see that again.”
  • Said winger Shea Salinas: “The big difference was just the fact that Yannick and Wondolowski were finding the ball underneath in a good space, where it was causing their defense to make a decision to come tight or drop off. If they came tight, it allowed spaces for Atiba [Harris], me and either Yannick or Wondo to run behind, which we were very successful on. And then if they dropped off, they could turn and run at the back four. ... We’ve been working on that in training a lot, getting one of those two guys underneath to find the ball.”
  • The Quakes expect to not have center back Clarence Goodson for up to two months as he returns from a sprained left big toe.
  • “All of the guys who have played at the back have done great,” Watson said. “It’s been hard leaving guys out. You have two national-team center backs that are very good players, but the other guys have done well and deserve to play. We’re fortunate enough that we have an incredible amount of depth at that position.”
  • In their weekend away from league play, the Quakes played to a scoreless draw with La Liga side Atletico Madrid, losing 4-3 in a post-match penalty shootout.
  • Here’s the Quakes team: Bryan Meredith, Brandon Barklage, Victor Bernardez (Sam Cronin 46), Ty Harden, Jordan Stewart (Shaun Francis 46), Cordell Cato, JJ Koval, Khari Stephenson, Mike Fucito, Yannick Djalo (Tommy Thompson 46), Chris Wondolowski (Billy Schuler 46).

SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC
Seattle Sounders FC suffered their heaviest loss of the 2014 season, falling 3-0 to the LA Galaxy on Monday evening at CenturyLink Field. Sounders FC are still in first place in the Western Conference and the MLS overall table with 38 points from 19 games.

LAST MATCH

  • The Galaxy took the lead in just the eighth minute. Landon Donovan was freed behind the Seattle defense and put in a low centering pass that Gyasi Zardes slotted home past Seattle goalkeeper Stefan Frei from the heart of the penalty area.
  • The Galaxy lead was doubled just 10 minutes later when midfielder Marcelo Sarvas blasted a shot that defected off Frei and landed directly in front of a wide-open Donovan, who tapped home the rebound.
  • It was 3-0 by the 36th minute. Stefan Ishizaki added the exclamation point, slamming home a feed from Sarvas after finding himself isolated on the right side of the Seattle defense, pushing the margin to the halftime lead that would hold up as the final score.
  • Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid made four changes to the team that defeated the Portland Timbers 2-0 at CenturyLink Field. Dylan Remick came into the back four in place of Chad Marshall, and Obafemi Martins started up top in place of Chad Barrett.
  • SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC (4-4-1-1): Stefan Frei - DeAndre Yedlin, Zach Scott, Jalil Anibaba, Dylan Remick (Micheal Azira 81) - Lamar Neagle (Chad Barrett 46), Osvaldo Alonso, Gonzalo Pineda, Marco Pappa (Tristan Bowen 65) - Clint Dempsey - Obafemi Martins

TEAM NEWS

  • Sounders FC were down by three goals after 36 minutes for a second time this season, the first coming in a 5-0 loss at the New England Revolution on May 11.
  • “I think from top to bottom there wasn’t a single guy who could say they played anywhere near their potential, but all I can do is look at myself from a personal standpoint and as a leader on this team and a veteran guy regardless of who’s on the field you need to be able to hold the team together and specifically the defense. Letting in three goals is just ridiculous. I’m embarrassed,” said defender Zach Scott.
  • Sounders FC were also shut out for a second time in three games, just their third attacking shutout of the season.
  • “We didn't connect passes early in the game; they put a lot of pressure on us. We lost confidence in our passing early out of the back. We lost confidence in that, so we are lumping up 50-50 balls. We lost a majority of the duels in the game. As a result of that, they had more [goals]. So today they were better,” said Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid.
  • There was an injury-forced change to the back four when Chad Marshall was unable for selection after experiencing back spasms following a minor car accident the week prior.
  • Dylan Remick made his first start since May 3, coming in at left back. He had made just three substitute appearances over the previous nine matches, totaling just 19 minutes, while dealing with an adductor strain.
  • “Chad's a big part of our defense, but Dylan Remick hasn't played in a long time, so it was a big game for him to get back into the game, so it made it a little bit harder,” said Schmid. “… [Jalil] Anibaba would have started and Marshall would have been in the middle. … We hope it's not long term.”
  • Said forward Chad Barrett: “Losing Chad [Marshall] at the beginning of the game was a huge blow. Everybody thought he was going to play; he’s a huge product of the way we play, the commander in our back line. But you have to make changes. People should be able to fill in and for this reason, that or another we were out of sorts and we couldn’t figure it out.”
  • Obafemi Martins made his first league start since June 7, when he was sent off before halftime after scoring two goals vs. Chicago. He played as the out-and-out striker with Clint Dempsey in an underneath role.
  • There was another injury-forced change when Lamar Neagle had to come off at the halftime break and Barrett came into a wide midfield role.
  • “You don’t really think you’re going to come in at halftime. It hasn’t happened all year. Unfortunately Lamar went down with an injury and I had to come in,” said Barrett. “[I] provided a spark but it was a little hard that late; being 3-0 down is a hard situation to come into. All you really want to do is try and be a little bit of an igniting switch. Unfortunately I didn’t really get anything going.”