Jul 13, 2013, 2:02 AM EST
- Osvaldo Alonso to return for Seattle
- Earthquakes 2-3-0 since Frank Yallop’s departure
- Seattle won last meeting, 4-0
The up-and-down season of the Seattle Sounders hit another trough last weekend in Vancouver, their 2-0 defeat at BC Place their first MLS loss to the Whitecaps. This week, however, the roller coaster looks set to climb once more, Sigi Schmid’s side in Santa Clara on Saturday to face an Earthquakes team they beat 4-0 at CenturyLink on May 11.
While the shift of venue should have San Jose hope (the Earthquakes are 4-1-4 at home), their results since the ouster of Frank Yallop shouldn’t. Though the Mark Watson era started with a win at Colorado, they played up a man for 72 minutes. In the four games that have followed, San Jose’s only points came from their remarkable comeback against the Galaxy at Stanford Stadium. Recently losses at Chicago and New England only reaffirm the notion that their coaching change has done little to curb the team’s struggles.
The Gold Cup isn’t helping matters. Chris Wondolowski is posting hat tricks for the United States. Marvin Chavez bagged a goal in Honduras’s opener. Nana Attakora’s living through Canada’s disappointment. Add Clarence Goodson to the list, and San Jose is tied with Real Salt Lake and Toronto for most absences for this year’s competition, even if Goodson has yet to suit up for the Earthquakes since moving back to Major League Soccer.
Seattle’s roster if Gold Cup-free, but with Obafemi Martins, Sharlie Joseph, and Steve Zakuani set to miss the game with injuries, starting a first choice team continues to be a problem for the Sounders. They’ll get their best player back, however, with Osvaldo Alonso expected to play for the first time since June 1. That will solve Seattle’s problems in central midfield, but with their top scoring threat (Martins) out, it’s worth wondering if the stars will ever align to keep a number of key, fragile parts healthy at the same time.
Were Seattle closer to the top of the conference, that would be less of an issue, as Schmid could manage his squad with the idea of preserving his veterans near the end of the season, cruising into the playoffs while recharging his core. Without the U.S. Open Cup or CONCACAF Champions League to worry about, Seattle’s deep quad should may still be able to do that, but unless that process involves a quicker climb from their seventh place hole, the Sounders will be pushing their players in important games through at least the end of October.
To put Seattle’s plight in perspective, for as many troubles as San Jose have had this season, the Earthquakes are only three points behind the Sounders. While Seattle has played four fewer games — a huge number — the thin gap between them and a team few are talking about for a playoff spot highlights the work that remains They have the games in hand to make up their five-point gap on fifth place Vancouver, yet Seattle are quickly descending to a place that makes those games vital.
Losing to San Jose — allowing the Earthquakes to become another competitor for a playoff spot — will only complicate life for the Sounders.
More: San Jose have allowed 19 shots on goal in their last two games … Seattle have scored twice in their last four road games, both goals coming at Chivas USA … Wondolowski is the only Earthquakes player who has scored against the Sounders this season (two games).
Dec 21, 2013, 1:29 PM EST
Recaps, reaction, video highlights and more from all seven PL games on Saturday:
Dec 21, 2013, 1:13 PM EST
Want to watch all the PL action and hear the experts analyze every game? Watch MOTD live here:
Dec 21, 2013, 12:58 PM EST
Cardiff City boss Malky Mackay spoke after his side lost to Liverpool, stating that, despite an ultimatum from owner Vincent Tan, he would not resign.
Dec 21, 2013, 12:26 PM EST
Baggies bounce back as fighting spirit surfaces in rambunctious battle with Hull:
Dec 21, 2013, 12:17 PM EST
Sunderland fought hard for all three points, but in the end, they remain dead last after a goalless draw with Norwich.
Dec 21, 2013, 12:13 PM EST
The Toon are on the verge of the top four after another superb victory at plucky Palace:
Dec 21, 2013, 12:04 PM EST
Villa managed to make the match interesting for about five minutes, but ultimately it was fairly easy for Stoke to get all three points.
Dec 21, 2013, 12:00 PM EST
United back in the groove as superb attacking display dispatches Hammers:
Dec 21, 2013, 11:57 AM EST
Fulham came back from 2-0 down, but City were simply the superior side, ultimately trotting out the winners.
Dec 21, 2013, 11:05 AM EST
United flying high as Moyes’ men are putting on a show at Old Trafford, watch the second half unfold:
Dec 21, 2013, 9:58 AM EST
Rooney returns, can he help United down the Hammers? Watch live, right here:
Dec 21, 2013, 9:43 AM EST
Can the Eagles clip the Magpies wings down at Selhurst Park? Watch live, right here:
Dec 21, 2013, 9:36 AM EST
Against Cardiff, Luis Suárez added two more goals to his season tally, making Malky Mackay’s position even more precarious.
Dec 21, 2013, 9:31 AM EST
Uruguayan superstar bags 18th and 19th goals of the season, watch his sublime strikes:
Dec 21, 2013, 9:26 AM EST
West Brom look for their first win in seven matches as they welcome Hull City to the Hawthorns.
Dec 21, 2013, 9:19 AM EST
Will City pile more pressure on the teams above them with a win over Fulham? Watch live, here:
Dec 21, 2013, 9:13 AM EST
With neither side particularly adept at scoring, will we see any action at the Britannia today? Give us your thoughts.
Dec 21, 2013, 8:20 AM EST
Cardiff were only able to hold out for 25 minutes before Luis Suárez had the ball in the back of the net.
Dec 21, 2013, 7:40 AM EST
If a player is already finding it hard to start regularly, is it wise to publicly contradict the manager?
Dec 21, 2013, 7:25 AM EST
Where and how to watch all 10 PL games in Week 16 online, or via the app:
- Premier League Roundup: Liverpool, Man City, Man United and Newcastle keep winning 0
- Manchester United 3-1 West Ham: Rampant Red Devils ease to three points 0
- Fulham 2-4 Manchester City: Visitors proving they can win on the road 1
- Liverpool 3-1 Cardiff City: Yet another side undone by Luis Suárez 0
- WATCH: Suarez scores two stunners for Liverpool to celebrate new deal (VIDEO) 0
- WATCH: Premier League live on NBC Sports Live Extra – Week 17 0
- Report: Clint Dempsey will join Fulham on Jan. 1 for two-month loan (12)
- Is Google a player in the game of sports media rights? (12)
- Hamm, Wambach, Morgan lead U.S. Soccer’s all-time women’s best XI (but no Solo, Milbrett) (11)
- Spurs in hunt for new boss after sacking Andre Villas-Boas (10)
- U.S. Soccer names All-Time Best XI, do you agree? (8)
- Bank of Brazil to Release Special World Cup Coins
- Nightmare for Socceroos in Real Group of Death
- Hodgson's Manaus Plan is Flawed
- Wilmer Cabrera on WC Draw: ''It's an Even Group''
- Germany Building Training Facility in Brazil
- Spain Thinking of US Camp Before World Cup
- Don't count out Chile in WC Group B
- Kicking it Off with a Final
- VIDEO: Visa World Cup Promo
- Aurelien Collin: I Think France is Very Very Happy