Slumping Seattle Sounders aim to start turnaround as San Jose Earthquakes visit: "It's in our hands"

TUKWILA, Wash. – After gaining healthy cushions in the Western Conference and Supporters’ Shield standings to start the year, the Seattle Sounders have dropped four of their last six MLS matches and relinquished both leads.

With his club set to host the San Jose Earthquakes Wednesday night at CenturyLink Field (10 pm ET, MLS LIVE), Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid said his players need to refocus themselves as they chase multiple titles in the season's final four months.

“We have a chance to do a lot of special things this year and we have to recommit ourselves and rededicate ourselves to wanting to do that,” Schmid said. “We’re in a [US Open Cup] final, we’re in the hunt for the Supporters’ Shield and certainly the playoffs loom at the end of the season. We can make this a very memorable season but that’s in our hands.”

In order to spearhead a turnaround, Seattle will have to get the best of a familiar foe. Wednesday’s game will mark the second time San Jose and Seattle have met this month and their fourth in all competitions this season. The teams traded 1-0 regular-season victories (Seattle's on May 17, San Jose's on Aug. 2) and went to penalty kicks in the US Open Cup on June 24, with the Sounders winning that tiebreaker.

San Jose's win earlier this month was part of a season-best four-game unbeaten streak, but the eighth-place Earthquakes crashed back to reality last weekend in a 5-0 loss to FC Dallas.

Seattle can look forward to a few key returning faces for the game after playing slightly shorthanded during last Saturday’s loss to Real Salt Lake. Forward Obafemi Martins is eligible to return after serving a one-game red card suspension, while Marco Pappa and Brad Evans could also make comebacks after both missed time with hamstring injuries. 

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Having performed well in recent matches in the absence of regular starters, Andy Rose, Chad Barrett and Kenny Cooper could return to roles as go-to weapons off the bench.

“[Our depth] is going to continue to be important as we move forward into this week,” Seattle head coach Sigi Schmid said after his team’s practice on Monday. “All those guys have to be prepared to contribute at this time of the year.”