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Seattle Sounders FC vs. San Jose Earthquakes | 2017 MLS Match Preview

Seattle Sounders FC vs. San Jose Earthquakes
2017 MLS Regular Season - Week 20
CenturyLink Field - Seattle, Wash.
Sunday, July 23 – 10:30 pm ET
WATCH: MLS LIVE

Silverware will be handed out on Sunday night with the 2017 Heritage Cup, a trophy established in 2009 to celebrate the long history between the Seattle Sounders and San Jose Earthquakes, going to the winner of the final showdown of the season between these two teams (or in case of a draw, to the team with most away goals in the season series). The two clubs tied 1-1 in the first meeting at Avaya Stadium in April. 

But Sunday's match is about a lot more than history as both teams enter with virtually identical records, hovering on either side of the playoff line in the West. The winner would vault into the fray for the top seeds in the West, where there are seven teams within six points.

The new-look Quakes (7W-8L-5D, 26 points), who had to make the cross-country roundtrip for Wednesday's heavy 5-1 loss in New York, could use a result after two straight league defeats. Meanwhile, the Sounders (7W-7L-6D, 27 points) are unbeaten in four league contests and are coming off a historic comeback from a 3-0 deficit to beat D.C. United in midweek.

Seattle Sounders

The Sounders will be missing captain Osvaldo Alonso and their three star attackers for this match with Nicolas Lodeiro (suspension), Clint Dempsey (US national team) and Jordan Morris (US national team) all unavailable. But the rest of the squad will surely be energized by Wednesday's epic second-half comeback win.

It would be just reward for the Sounders players responsible for orchestrating that reversal to return to the starting lineup against the San Jose Earthquakes: Left back Nouhou Tolo once again brought plenty of energy, allowing Joevin Jones to operate further up the pitch. And Brad Evans looked more comfortable in an advanced role after Kevin Leerdam made his MLS debut at right back.

  • Suspended: MF Nicolas Lodeiro (red card suspension)
  • Suspended next yellow card: None
  • International duty: FW Clint Dempsey (US national team), DF/MF Oniel Fisher (Jamaica), FW Jordan Morris (US national team)
  • Injury Report: OUT — MF Osvaldo Alonso (right knee sprain); QUESTIONABLE — GK Stefan Frei (right hip flexor strain), FW Henry Wingo (right ankle sprain).

Projected Starting XI (4-2-3-1, right to left): Stefan Frei — Kelvin Leerdam, Román Torres, Chad Marshall, Nouhou Tolo — Gustav Svensson, Jordy Delem — Brad Evans, Cristian Roldan, Joevin Jones — Will Bruin

Notes: With Osvaldo Alonso still out injured and Nicolas Lodeiro suspended, Jordy Delem could play alongside Gustav Svensson in central midfield or manager Brian Schmetzer could decide to keep the midweek pairing of Svensson and Cristian Roldan, while bringing Harry Shipp into the advanced No. 10 role ... Although Stefan Frei is still listed on the club's injury report, he could be set for a return vs. San Jose.

San Jose Earthquakes

Manager Chris Leitch has some interesting lineup and formation decisions to make with the likes of Fatai Alashe, Victor Bernardez, Anibal Godoy and Darwin Ceren all available for selection again. Also, new star attacker Valeri Qazaishvili, who looked good in his debut in midweek and scored a goal (watch above), and newly acquired center back Francois Affolter will soon be starting material as they work their way toward full match fitness.  

One player who surely won't be coming out of the starting XI in Seattle is captain and forward Chris Wondolowski, who has scored 11 goals in 19 appearances against Sounders FC, more than any other player since Seattle joined the league in 2009.

  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended next yellow card: MF Anibal Godoy
  • International duty: FW Marco Urena (Costa Rica)
  • Injury Report: OUT — DF Kofi Sarkodie (calf), MF Marc Pelosi (left knee injury), DF Harold Cummings (leg surgery), DF Kip Colvey (knee injury) 

Projected Starting XI (5-2-3, right to left): David Bingham — Cordell Cato, Victor Bernardez, Andres Imperiale, Florian Jungwirth, Nick Lima — Anibal Godoy, Fatai Alashe (or Darwin Ceren) — Jahmir Hyka, Danny Hoesen, Chris Wondolowski

Notes: Given the Sounders' penchant for creating attacks along the wings, a return to the 5-man back line could be a solid option for the Quakes ... Forward Quincy Amarikwa returned to MLS action on Wednesday for his first minutes since September 2016, completing his recovery from a torn ACL and LCL in his left knee. He'll offer a spark off the bench.

All-Time Series

The Quakes will not be intimidated by CenturyLink Field with two wins in their last three trips and a respectable 5W-6L-1D there. The two teams tied 1-1 in their last meeting in April at Avaya Stadium.

  • All-Time (22 regular season matches): Seattle 7W-10L-5D (24 GF / 26 GA); San Jose 10W-7L-5D (26 GF / 24 GA)
  • In Seattle (12 regular season matches): Seattle 6W-5L-1D (17 GF / 12 GA); San Jose 5W-6L-1D (12 GF / 17 GA)

Note: They've never met in the MLS postseason, but San Jose and Seattle faced off three times in the US Open Cup. The Sounders knocked out the Quakes in 2012 (quarterfinals) and 2014 (Round of 16), before San Jose emerged 2-1 winners this year in a Round of 16 match played on June 28.

Referees

Referee: Alan Kelly
Assistant Referees: Jeremy Hanson (bench side), Jeffrey Hosking (far)
Fourth Official: Alejandro Mariscal

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Current Form

Seattle
W
L
D
D
W
W
San Jose
L
D
W
W
L
L

Season Stats

Seattle Sounders FCSan Jose Earthquakes
20Games Played20
7Wins7
7Losses8
6Draws5
29Goals23
31Goals Conceded31
201Shots183
80Shots on Target77
195Fouls committed208
283Fouls suffered236
37Offside39
111Corners89

Goals Scored

01234+TotalAvg
SEA49241291.4
SJ59420231.1
01234+Avg
SEA240211.6
SJ143201.6
01234+Avg
SEA252201.4
SJ451000.7

Goals Conceded

01234+TotalAvg
SEA55541311.6
SJ65513311.6
01234+Avg
SEA430201
SJ351011.1
01234+Avg
SEA125212
SJ304122
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