Preview: Seattle, San Jose battle at top of Western table
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC vs SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
CENTURYLINK FIELD, Seattle, Wash.
September 22, 2012 (WEEK 29, MLS Game #283)
10:30 p.m. ET | 7:30 p.m. PT | MLS LIVE, (KONG; CSN-CA)
The top two teams in the Western Conference face off in a mouthwatering clash when Seattle Sounders FC play host to the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday evening at CenturyLink Field. The Quakes lead the West and the MLS overall table coming into the weekend, after their last-gasp 2-2 home draw with Portland at midweek. Sounders FC are nine points behind the Quakes, their last match also against Portland, a 1-1 draw in their Cascadia Cup match last weekend.
REFEREE: Hilario Grajeda. AR1 (bench): Frank Anderson; AR2 (opposite): Fabio Tovar; 4th: Mark Declouet
MLS Career: 73 games; FC/gm: 24.5; Y/gm: 3.6; R: 14; pens: 11
INJURY REPORT: SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC ñ OUT: FW Babayele Sodade (R knee ACL tear); DF Andrew Duran (L ACL surgery); QUESTIONABLE: GK Andrew Weber (R adductor strain); FW David Estrada (L foot fracture); PROBABLE: MF Mauro Rosales (R quad strain); MF Christian Tiffert (R ankle sprain) Ö SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES ñ OUT: MF Cesar Diaz Pizarro (R groin strain); MF Joey Gjertsen (R knee surgery); MF Sercan Guvenisik (L hamstring strain); DF Tim Ward (L non-specific soft tissue injury); DOUBTFUL: MF Marvin Chavez (L hamstring strain); MF Sam Garza (R ankle sprain)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED: SEA: Eddie Johnson (caution accumulation; through Sept. 23)
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: SEA: Fredy Montero ... SJ: Rafael Baca, Ramiro Corrales
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: SEA: Andy Rose, Zach Scott, Marc Burch, Osvaldo Alonso, Servando Carrasco, Leo Gonzalez ... SJ: Victor Bernardez, Mehdi Ballouchy. Marvin Chavez, Steven Lenhart, Steven Beitashour, Alan Gordon, Chris Wondolowski
ALL-TIME (8 meetings): Sounders FC 4 wins, 10 goals ... Earthquakes 4 wins, 12 goals ... Ties 1
AT SEATTLE (5 meetings): Sounders FC 3 wins, 6 goals ... Earthquakes 2 wins, 4 goals ... Ties 0
3/31: SEA 0, SJ 1 (Wondolowski 24)
8/11: SJ 2, SEA 1 (Dawkins 71; Lenhart 93+ -- Montero 92+)
- The teams are meeting for the third time this season in league play, the Quakes having won the first two. A Wondolowski penalty kick was the difference in a 1-0 result March 31 at CenturyLink Field, then a Steven Lenhart stoppage-time goal provided a 2-1 final Aug. 11 in Santa Clara.
- The Quakes have won on their last two visits to CenturyLink Field, a 1-0 victory last year and in the first meeting this season.
- Sounders FC also won 1-0 in an Open Cup quarterfinal, on a goal from Cordell Cato, June 26 at Buck Shaw Stadium.
- Coaches record: Sigi Schmid vs. SJ: P29 W14 L10 D5 Ö Frank Yallop vs. SEA: P9 W4 L4 D1
- The Earthquakes took the lead in the 71st minute of an end-to-end match. Simon Dawkins wheeled on a headed pass from Steven Lenhart and beat Seattle goalkeeper Michael Gspurning to the near post from 12 yards.
- But Sounders FC evened the score in stoppage time when Sam Cronin couldnít get enough on his attempted clearance of a long Seattle throw-in and Fredy Montero stabbed it home from point-blank range.
- But the Quakesí comeback tradition continued when Steven Lenhart delivering the game-winner less than a minute later, heading home a Shea Salinas corner.
- SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (4-4-2): Jon Busch - Steven Beitashour, Jason Hernandez, Victor Bernardez, Justin Morrow - Marvin Chavez (Shea Salinas 87), Sam Cronin, Rafael Baca, Simon Dawkins - Steven Lenhart, Chris Wondolowski.
- SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC (4-4-1-1): Michael Gspurning - Adam Johansson, Jeff Parke, Zach Scott, Marc Burch - Brad Evans, Osvaldo Alonso, Andy Rose (Mauro Rosales 82), Alex Caskey (Fredy Montero 84) - Christian Tiffert - Sammy Ochoa (Eddie Johnson 68).
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC
Seattle Sounders FC stretched their undefeated run to five games, going to Jeld-Wen Field and coming away with a 1-1 draw against their Cascadia Cup rival Portland Timbers. Sounders FC are in second place in the Western Conference with 48 points from 28 games.
- Mere seconds after Timbers goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts was forced off with an injury in the 57th minute, Sounders FC took the lead. From a restart by goalkeeper Michael Gspurning, Fredy Montero brought it down in the area and fired a right-footed missile from the right corner of the box on the turn that beat subsitute 'keeper Joe Bendik to the top corner.
- But the home side pulled even in the 78th minute. From a corner kick, Rodney Wallace skied to meet a Jack Jewsbury cross that pinballed in front of the goal before a Seattle defenderís attempt to clear it out of danger pushed the ball just over the line inside the post.
- Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid made three changes to the team that got a late goal for a 2-1 win against Chivas USA at CenturyLink Field. Adam Johansson and Jeff Parke came into the back four for Zach Scott and Patrick Ianni, and Andy Rose came into midfield for Christian Tiffert.
- SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC (4-1-3-2): Michael Gspurning - Adam Johansson, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Leo Gonzalez - Osvaldo Alonso - Brad Evans (Marc Burch 78), Andy Rose, Steve Zakuani (Mario Martinez 70) - Eddie Johnson, Fredy Montero.
- Sounders FC extended their undefeated run to five games, one short of their longest for the season (which came April 7-May 9).
- "I thought once we had the lead we need to do a better job managing the game. We need to do a better job of holding onto the ball. We got complicated sometimes and all of a sudden we're giving up another corner and another corner when really we could have cleared the ball up the field," said Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid. "Those are little things that youíve got to do well in those moments of the game."
- Fredy Montero returned to the scoresheet with his first goal in three matches, now giving him 12 for season, tying his MLS career-high and one behind strike partner Eddie Johnson, who will be suspended for the San Jose match.
- "It's always good to score goals in those kind of derbies. Those goals, the people coming from Seattle they enjoy more than me, and Iím happy for them and happy for the team,î said Montero. ìLetís keep winning games, and hopefully the next game at home we have the opportunity to win again."
- Said Schmid: ìIt was a great goal. When he first hit it, I thought it had gone over the goal. Just the individual ability to turn and hit that and volley, it takes a lot of skill.î
- The Montero goal also meant the Timbers would not yet claim the Cascadia Cup for 2012. In his last eight Cascadia Cup matches, Montero has seven goals, six away from CenturyLink Field.
- "We didnít want our fans to drive down on the bus carrying the trophy and go back empty handed," Sounders midfielder Steve Zakuani said. ìWe still have to play Portland in Seattle, thatís going to be a very important, a must-win game as all the games are. Cascadia Cup is the most important thing for them. Itís not for us, itís MLS Cup. On the way to winning MLS Cup, we want to win the Cascadia Cup and pick up three points here. We didnít do that, so I think weíre a bit down.î
- After four matches without a start, rookie Andy Rose returned to the starting lineup, playing in the center of the park with Osvaldo Alonso.
- "I thought we played a little better in the second half, finding Andy Rose coming out of the back instead of Ozzie [Alonso] because they were really cracking down on Ozzie, making it difficult for us to play through him," said Schmid. "So, Andy got more involved, we got forward, got a good goal to take the lead, but then we just gave away too many corner kicks and gave them a little bit of dominance in the game."
- Goalkeeper Michael Gspurning also collected his first assist, his long ball leading to the Montero goal.
- "It's good to have the first assist, but itís just a statistic in this case,î Gspurning said. "It's not my first thing to do and I would change it to three points if I could do it. I feel a little bit disappointed because we wanted three points."
- On Wednesday, Sounders FC qualified for the knockout stage of the 2012/13 CONCACAF Champions League with a 3-2 win against CD Marathon of Honduras, their third victory in three matches in Group 4. Goals from Sammy Ochoa (11) and Eddie Johnson (62) had been canceled out by a pair of penalty kicks converted by Mario Berrios, but Brad Evans hit for the winner 12 minutes from time.
- Hereís the Sounders FC team: Michael Gspurning, Zach Scott, Patrick Ianni, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Marc Burch, Mario Martinez, Servando Carrasco, Andy Rose (Brad Evans 69), Alex Caskey (Osvaldo Alonso 61), Sammy Ochoa, Eddie Johnson (Fredy Montero 76).
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
The San Jose Earthquakes extended their current unbeaten run to four games and continued their long home undefeated run with yet another late result, coming back for a 2-2 draw with the Portland Timbers on Wednesday evening at Buck Shaw Stadium. The Quakes lead the Western Conference and the MLS overall table with 57 points from 29 games.
- The Timbers opened the scoring in the 45th minute. Danny Mwanga and Rodney Wallace played a one-two in the middle of a stretched-out San Jose defense, Mwanga receiving the through ball, avoiding converging defenders and rounding goalkeeper Jon Busch to slide the ball into the empty net.
- Mwanga hit for his second in the 62nd minute, with a crackling 25-yard blast across the face of goal to the right upper corner. The play was set up by a 40-yard run through the midfield by Franck Songoío, who slid the ball to Mwanga on the left.
- The Quakes began their fightback in the 73rd minute. Substitute Alan Gordon flicked on a long lead pass, and Steven Lenhart got a sliding touch on it to free another substitute, Chris Wondolowski, and he converted with his left foot from 16 yards.
- Then, as they have done all season, the Earthquakes hit for the winner in stoppage time. Sam Cronin flighted in a cross from deep on the left, and after an attempted clearance by Portland defender Hanyer Mosquera fell to Wondolowski, he nodded home an open header at the back point to rescue the point.
- Earthquakes head coach Frank Yallop made two changes to the team that took a 2-0 win against Chivas USA at The Home Depot Center. Ramiro Corrales and Steven Lenhart came back into the team, in place of Chris Wondolowski and Alan Gordon.
- SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (4-4-1-1): Jon Busch - Steven Beitashour, Ike Opara, Victor Bernardez, Justin Morrow - Mehdi Ballouchy (Chris Wondolowski 58), Sam Cronin, Rafael Baca (Alan Gordon 63), Ramiro Corrales - Simon Dawkins - Steven Lenhart.
The Quakes extended their home undefeated run to 13 games, now the second-longest active such streak in MLS following the loss of the New York Red Bulls at home at midweek.
"It was a playoff atmosphere and we knew it would be a battle. We can't make bad mistakes and get down like that. Especially at home, you want to get the three points, but given the circumstances we are happy with the point," said Chris Wondolowski. "On Saturday, we have another playoff atmosphere waiting for us and we will be looking to get the three points and keep the momentum going."
The two goals came after Wondolowski came on as a substitute, his first appearance off the bench in a league match since Oct. 20, 2010, when he scored a hat trick vs. Chivas USA after coming on in the 40th minute.
"My goal was just trying to add a spark. I wanted to give a 90-minute performance in a 30-minute period. Anytime you play a Western rival, itís going to be a battle and will get heated," said Wondolowski. "With 60 minutes on the bench, I could study the game and you get to come out fresh. The coaches told me to compose myself and do as much as I could."
Wondolowski scored multiple goals in a game for the fifth time this season, his fourth two-goal game. It was the first time since July 14 heíd scored a goal from open play, and the first time since June 20-30 he's scored in consecutive matches.
"Weíve found out that Iím definitely a bit streaky,î Wondolowski said. ìWhen I donít score, itís for a while and when I do, knock on wood, they kind of come in bunches as well."
Wondolowski now has 21 goals for the season, the most since Carlos Ruiz scored 24 and Taylor Twellman scored 23 in 2002. "Tonight, he saved our bacon a little," Quakes goalkeeper Jon Busch said. "He comes in, he gets two good goals and gets us a point out of something where we were struggling to find a goal."
Alan Gordon also came off the substitutesí bench after starting three consecutive matches, while Steven Lenhart started for the first time since Aug. 18.
"I think we have a pretty strong squad all the way through and you saw that again tonight,î said Quakes head coach Frank Yallop. ìThe subs made a difference in the game and that is true almost every match. Whoever comes into the game will create a spark, whether it is Alan [Gordon] and Wondo [Chris Wondolowski] or someone else. This team just pushes on to the end with a never-say-die attitude.î
Ramiro Corrales made his first start in the midfield since July 7, his last two starts coming at left back. With Corrales on the left flank, Simon Dawkins moved into an underneath role in central midfield.
It was the seventh goal scored in stoppage time to gain a victory or a draw this season by San Jose. The seven goals in stoppage time to gain a result is an MLS record. The Quakes have scored 19 of their 60 total goals after the 76th minute; they have allowed 12 of 35 in the same time span.
"It's something special to see this team battle. Itís a thing we have up top. We have a confidence about us. I thought we were going to get the winner to be honest," said Gordon. "We do it and we've done it all season. It's hard work, determination and belief. As Frank [Yallop] said, itís a disappointment to go down 2-0, but we always move forward quickly and respond."