The Seattle Sounders host the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday night at CenturyLink Field (10:30 pm ET, watch on MLS LIVE) in a 1-vs-2 clash in the Western Conference. Here are five reasons you should do whatever you can to make sure you watch this game.
- Pity the goalkeepers. San Jose are tops in the league in goal-scoring, with 60 goals on the season. Seattle are 5th in the league, with 44. But the real stat to check out is the goals from the frontrunners. Chris Wondolowski and Alan Gordon have combined for 33 goals so far this season, best in the league for any team duo. Montero -- who will be without his usual strike partner, Eddie Johnson (suspension) -- has rediscovered his Midas touch in recent weeks, with seven goals in his last seven games, including last week's AT&T Goal of the Week.
- There is bad blood lingering. When these two sides met up in the US Open Cup in June, there was an old-fashioned bench-clearing brouhaha after a little unnecessary preening and some elbow-throwing. It wasn't pretty, and neither team has forgotten it.
- Now or never for Seattle. San Jose's stumble at home to Portland in midweek breathed life into the fight for top spot in the West (and in the Supporters Shield race). If the Sounders are going to make up the nine points that separate the clubs right now and secure homefield advantage through the playoffs, they have to do it here and now. Yes, they will also need three points from their game in hand, but this one might be the real turning point, for better or worse.
- Wondo's bid at history. Wondolowski already has 21 goals on the season, the most by any player in MLS since Carlos Ruiz (24) and Taylor Twellman (23) in 2002. His assault on Roy Lassiter's single-season record of 27, set in 1996, is alive and well with five games to go. It'll be tough in Seattle though, where the Sounders have allowed a league-low 8 goals in 13 home matches this season.
- Alonso vs. Lenhart. They are two of the most beloved and, er, "behated" players in MLS. They play hard, play well, and inevitably draw attention from opponents, referees, and fans alike. As Seattle manager Sigi Schmid said this week: "Somebody has to do something about Lenhart."