The STATE of Soccer in WASHINGTON
A showdown between the top two teams in the Western Conference comes to Seattle on Saturday night as Sounders FC hosts the league-leading San Jose Earthquakes. The marquee matchup kicks off at 7:30 p.m. PT on the Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field.
As a reminder, the San Jose match was originally scheduled for September 23 but has been moved to Saturday, September 22. The match will be televised on KONG 6/16 with Ross Fletcher and Kasey Keller on the call, and can be heard on 97.3 KIRO FM. The game will also be shown live out of market on ROOT Sports.
Sounders FC (13-6-9, 48 points) remained in sole possession of second in the West with a 1-1 road draw against the Portland Timbers on Saturday. Seattle kept hopes of retaining the Cascadia Cup alive while extending its league unbeaten streak to five games (3-0-2). The race for the top spot might be out of reach, but second place and a first-round playoff bye is an important consolation prize.
Fredy Montero again scored a spectacular strike in a derby match on the road, bringing his total to seven goals in eight Cascadia Cup contests. Montero has 12 goals in the 2012 campaign, matching his career-high from 2009 and 2011.
San Jose has been the league’s top team this season, currently five points clear of Sporting Kansas City in the race for the Supporters’ Shield. The Earthquakes have scored a league-high 58 goals this season, including 18 in the final 15 minutes.
The match will feature two of the league’s top three goal scorers in San Jose’s Chris Wondolowski and Seattle’s Fredy Montero. Since joining MLS in 2009, Montero’s 46 goals ranks third and Wondolowski’s 58 tallies is top.
Seattle will then turn its focus back to defending the Cascadia Cup with matches at Vancouver on September 29 and against Portland on October 7.
Playoff Picture: Seattle in Second Entering Week 29
A lot of soccer is still to be played before the MLS Cup Playoffs pairings are settled. With 18 points still on the table, Seattle can still reach San Jose and claim the Supporters’ Shield. Sounders FC has one game in hand on three of four West playoff teams, and four of Seattle’s six remaining matchups are against West playoff teams (San Jose, Vancouver, Salt Lake and Los Angeles).
Seed 1 (San Jose Earthquakes) vs. Seed 4 (Real Salt Lake)/Seed 5 (Vancouver Whitecaps FC)
Seed 2 (Seattle Sounders FC) vs. Seed 3 (Los Angeles Galaxy)
Seed 1 (Sporting Kansas City) vs. Seed 4 (Houston Dynamo)/Seed 5 (D.C. United)
Seed 2 (Chicago Fire) vs. Seed 3 (New York Red Bulls)
On the Bubble
- FC Dallas is one point out of the fifth and final playoff spot in the West with four games remaining.
- Columbus Crew is two points out of the final spot in the East with six games remaining.
San Jose Series Notes
The Seattle-San Jose series is level at 4-4-1 after the Quakes won both previous meetings this season, Seattle’s last win coming on October 15 of last season. San Jose holds a 12-10 goal advantage, with Fredy Montero and Chris Wondolowski leading the way with four goals apiece. Mauro Rosales and Steve Zakuani lead Seattle with two assists apiece, while Shea Salinas leads the series with four assists. The Rave Green are 3-2-0 all-time against the Earthquakes at CenturyLink Field.
About San Jose
The Earthquakes sit atop MLS with 56 points (17-6-5), five points ahead of second place for the Supporters’ Shield with just six games remaining. They lead the league with 58 goals scored (eight ahead of second place), a plus-25 goal differential (10 ahead of second place), and are the only team in MLS that averages over two goals per game (2.07). They also lead MLS with 60 assists and are second in shots (425), shots on goal (153), and corner kicks (153). They do most of their damage in the second half, averaging 1.29 goals in the last 45 minutes (first in MLS), including an impressive 18 goals scored in the final 15 minutes (first in MLS). The Quakes also have the league’s best winning percentage at .500 (4-4-4) when conceding the first goal.
Frank Yallop’s league-leading attack is headlined by the league’s top goal scorer in Chris Wondolowski. The 29-year-old striker sits atop the Budweiser Golden Boot race with 19 goals and has also added seven assists this season, most recently netting a goal and assist in a 2-0 win at Chivas USA on Saturday. Wondolowski leads MLS with 58 goals since the start of the 2009 season. He isn’t their only option, however, as Alan Gordon is sixth in MLS with 12 goals and leads the league with 1.06 goals per 90 minutes. Steven Lenhart, who scored the stoppage time winner against Seattle in their last meeting, has eight goals in 2012. Midfielder Marvin Chavez leads the team and is tied-seventh in MLS with nine assists and 35-year-old Ramiro Corrales is second on the team with eight. Goalkeeper Jon Busch leads MLS with 15 wins, is second with a .700 winning percentage (15-5-5), and is tied-fifth in MLS with a 1.18 goals against average.
Seattle goalkeeper Andrew Weber played for the Earthquakes from 2009-11. Seattle’s Mario Martinez and San Jose’s Marvin Chavez and Victor Bernardez are from Honduras, all three playing together for Honduras in the recent World Cup qualifiers. Earthquakes forward Steven Lenhart played for Sigi Schmid and with Brad Evans in Columbus in 2008. Servando Carrasco and David Bingham played together at Cal-Berkeley. Daniel Steres and Steven Beitashour played together at San Diego State. Earthquakes midfielder Joey Gjertsen is from Tacoma, WA, graduated from Wilson High School, and attended Tacoma Community College and Evergreen State University. San Jose’s Jacob Hustedt was born in Bothell, WA, and played his college ball at the University of Washington.