The Sounders will have to shake off their past struggles against the San Jose Earthquakes Saturday to stay alive in the playoff race.
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The Seattle Sounders have eight regular season matches left in 2016 to catch the Portland Timbers for the sixth and final playoff spot in the MLS Western Conference. One of those final eight games is against the Sounders’ bogeyman, the San Jose Earthquakes.
The Sounders faced San Jose three times last year and came up empty all three times. This year, they scored a rare win against the Earthquakes in May–a 2-0 victory featuring goals from Clint Dempsey and Jordan Morris. In their MLS history, the Sounders are 7-10-3 against San Jose. The last time the Sounders beat the Earthquakes in regular season play in San Jose was 2010.
Both teams are desperate for points. The Sounders are in eighth place on the outside looking in on the MLS playoff picture with 31 points. The Earthquakes are just ahead of the Sounders with 32 points in seventh place.
Sounders and Earthquakes on International Duty
Both the Sounders and the Earthquakes will be missing key players in this match. Seattle will be without Jordan Morris, who helped the US Men’s team to a 6-0 slaughter of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying last week. Nicolas Lodeiro, lately a revelation for Seattle since transferring to the MLS, is playing for Uruguay, and Joevin Jones is representing Trinidad and Tobago. Roman Torres, finally back after tearing his ACL last year, could be available for Seattle if he doesn’t play in Panama’s final qualifying match.
The Earthquakes may be without Sounders-killer Chris Wondolowski, who has scored the most goals against Seattle in their history and was called in by USMT coach Jurgen Klinsmann for international duty.
Clint Dempsey Still Likely Out
Seattle star forward Clint Dempsey is mostly likely out of action still against San Jose. He was pronounced out indefinitely by interim coach Brian Schmetzer after he was treated for an irregular heartbeat two weeks ago. Schmetzer and company are still mum on Dempsey’s availability, but I wouldn’t bet on a return this weekend. The playoff race is important, but it’s not worth heart trouble.
Kickoff on Saturday is at 7:30 p.m. at Avaya Stadium in San Jose. Catch the game on JOEtv.