The San Jose Earthquakes will welcome the defending champs to Avaya Stadium on Sunday 8:00 am, Live on Dsport, looking to enjoy the comforts of home after a forgettable road trip. The Quakes are perfect through their first two home games this year, but the Seattle Sounders will offer the stiffest test of any visiting team yet.
The high-powered Sounders were held to a scoreless draw by Atlanta United at CenturyLink Field last Sunday, though were not quite clicking after a long week of travel and international play for many of their key players, including Clint Dempsey, Nicolas Lodeiro, Jordan Morris, and Roman Torres.
Seattle, for all their firepower, will be looking to improve upon their one win in nine all-time visits to San Jose, and with injuries and suspension severely hampering the middle of the Quakes defense they’ll likely have their chances – the tricky part will be converting them.
San Jose Earthquakes
Returning to the friendly confines will provide a modicum of relief for San Jose, but a depleted backline will still have their hands full with the Seattle front four. Victor Bernardez is missing through suspension, while key offseason addition Harold Cummings was recently given a 4-6 month timeline to recover from surgery to repair a high-ankle sprain and fractured fibula, meaning the Quakes will likely have to make do with newcomer Florian Jungwirth and Andres Imperiale manning the middle of the backline.
Further forward, there are fewer questions – Marcos Ureña looks set to retain his starting spot next to Chris Wondolowski after netting his first goal in Quakes colors. Meanwhile, Anibal Godoy will likely slot back in alongside Fatai Alashe in central midfield after starting their loss at NYCFC on the bench following his own international exploits.
- Suspended: Victor Bernardez (red card)
- Injured: OUT: F Quincy Amarikwa (knee surgery), D Marvell Wynne (heart abnormality), M Marc Pelosi (left knee injury), D Harold Cummings (leg surgery)
Projected Starting XI (4-4-2): David Bingham – Nick Lima, Florian Jungwirth, Andres Imperiale, Shaun Francis – Tommy Thompson, Fatai Alashe, Anibal Godoy, Simon Dawkins – Marcos Ureña, Chris Wondolowski
Notes: The Earthquakes will induct former goalkeeper Joe Cannon into the team Hall of Fame at the game. Cannon, who was recently named head coach of Quakes PDL affiliate Burlingame Dragons FC, spent eight of his 16 years in the league with San Jose and backstopped their run to the 2001 MLS Cup title. … San Jose have only lost three out of their last 24 MLS regular season home matches (11W-10D). This includes 10 clean sheets.
Despite the Sounders players’ busy schedule – which saw both Dempsey and Torres come off the bench against Atlanta – the Sounders weren’t making any excuses, and vowed to improve their sharpness in front of goal in San Jose.
Said midfielder Harry Shipp after training on Wednesday: “We weren’t clinical enough in front of goal last week and we are working on that for San Jose.”
The biggest questions for Seattle, though, will come on the backline, and specifically at the right back position. Sounders 2 product Jordy Delem held his own there in his MLS debut against Atlanta, and is likely to be back in the lineup should Brad Evans and Oniel Fisher be unable to go.
- Suspended: None
- Injured: OUT: D Brad Evans (calf muscle strain), M Aaron Kovar (groin surgery); QUESTIONABLE: Oniel Fisher (left hamstring strain)