Seattle Sounders Facing San Jose This Weekend
After a tough weekend battle in Portland against a team that put in the intensity of a cup final the Seattle Sounders turn around and face another opponent that will not say die so easily – the San Jose Earthquakes. In what could potentially be a preview of the semi-finals, #1 ranked San Jose will visit #2 ranked Seattle on Saturday for the final time during the regular season.
The Quakes are coming off of a seemingly unstoppable run, if they beat Portland on Wednesday, they will have won their 5 previous matches. And while the Sounders are on a similar run – their last defeat came at the hands of San Jose in August. These teams have a way of getting under each other’s skin when they play – while this is typical of San Jose, they’re used to Steven Lenhart throwing opponents off their game, what they never get used to is that Seattle does it to them as well. Looking back on the 1-0 loss that the Sounders gave San Jose during Open Cup play, you see a strong team that can be equally as shaken when someone takes an agressive stance with them.
If San Jose sits back and let’s this one play out, they don’t have a lot to lose in doing so – they won’t give up first place, they’ll still be in fine form for the Supporter’s Shield – but it would give Seattle momentum. The Sounders would be closer to the Shield, they’d secure a playoff position, and they would solidify themselves in second place above LA and RSL. Knowing that San Jose can pull off tough last minute goals, Seattle will have to steel themselves to go for more than 90 minutes – and do it without Eddie Johnson, who reached a yellow card accumulation suspension while visiting Portland. I think that the Sounders will need both currently injured midfielders Mauro Rosales and Christian Tiffert back in by Saturday to feed Fredy Montero if they want to hold out against “the Goonies” of San Jose.
Regardless of the injury list or suspensions, Sounders FC needs to show San Jose and show the league that this isn’t a one horse race for the MLS Cup, and that San Jose isn’t invincible.