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Sounders turn attention to visit from Quakes

Post by Don Ruiz / The News Tribune on March 28, 2012 at 8:13 am with No Comments »
March 28, 2012 8:57 am

After a day off yesterday, Sounders FC returns to training today at Starfire, preparing for their 7 p.m. Saturday match against San Jose.

I’ll have some updates after that. Meanwhile, here’s a quick look ahead provided by the club:

Seattle looks to continue its strong start to the 2012 campaign on Saturday night as Sounders FC hosts the San Jose Earthquakes, concluding a three-match home stand to begin the MLS season. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. PT on the Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field.

Saturday’s match will be televised live on KONG 6/16 with Ross Fletcher and Kasey Keller on the call, and can also be seen in Spanish on KOMO2 (Comcast channel 114). The match can also be heard on 97.3 KIRO FM and in Spanish on La Gran D 99.3 FM.

Sounders FC kept up its strong form last Friday as it downed unbeaten Houston, 2-0, in front of another sellout crowd of 38,304. Seattle remains one of two perfect teams in MLS and is tied for the league lead with five goals through just two games.

The sensational play of the ever-active David Estrada resulted in yet another game-winning goal last Friday as he blasted a deflected shot into the far corner. Estrada is the leading goal scorer in MLS with four goals, equal to the output of all but five teams.

Austrian keeper Michael Gspurning and the defense proved pivotal against Houston, stunting the Dynamo offense to earn its first clean sheet of the season. Seattle has allowed just one goal in its two league matches, and has conceded just twice at home this season across all competitions.

Sounders FC (2-0-0, 6 points) looks to close out the opening home stand on Saturday with another victory, reinforcing CenturyLink Field as one of the league’s toughest venues for opponents. Seattle improved to 26-10-12 all-time at home, and the team has scored multiple goals in all three home outings this year.

With a visit from San Jose (2-1-0, 6 points), the Rave Green must prepare to shut down one of the league’s most dangerous strikers in Chris Wondolowski. The top goal scorer in MLS over the past two seasons, Wondolowski struck for a brace last weekend as San Jose bounced back from a week two defeat to beat Toronto, 3-nil. Saturday’s match will be San Jose’s third straight on the road.

The first road match of the season for Sounders FC looms in the first week of April as Seattle visits D.C. United on April 7. A light April schedule continues a week later with the lone home contest of the month versus the Colorado Rapids before Sounders FC hits the road for a date with the Chicago Fire on April 28.

And more on the Quakes:

Sounders FC is unbeaten (2-0-1) in its past three matchups with San Jose, holding a 4-2-1 all-time mark. Seattle has outscored the Earthquakes 6-3 at home, earning a memorable 2-1 comeback victory in front of 64,140 in Kasey Keller’s regular season home finale on October 15, 2011. Each team has scored nine goals in the series, and each side has recorded two clean sheets. Sounders FC will host the Quakes again on September 23, with a trip to the Bay Area slated for August 11.

The Earthquakes’ 4-1-2-1-2 formation features the lethal Chris Wondolowski up top, paired with the six-foot-one Steven Lenhart. The rebuilt midfield includes the return of Shea Salinas, the signing of former FC Dallas man and Honduran international Marvin Chaves and Colombian newcomer Tressor Moreno, along with midfielder Sam Cronin who has registered two assists (tied-second in MLS). Goalkeeper Jon Busch is tied-second in MLS with a 0.33 goals against average, with the lone goal allowed coming from the penalty spot.

Fredy Montero and Wondolowski lead all players with three goals in the series. Wondolowski, the Golden Boot winner in 2010 and runner-up in 2011 with 16 tallies, has scored three goals in his first three games this season (tied-second in MLS). Wondolowski and David Estrada are the only two players to net two game-winners in the first three weeks of the 2012 season. San Jose (2-1-0, 6 points) is coming off a dominating 3-0 victory over Toronto FC last Saturday with Wondolowski scoring a brace.

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