The San Jose Earthquakes head to Seattle with one mission in mind: complete a season sweep of the Sounders and end any quash any hope they have of catching the Quakes in the Western Conference standings.
With five games remaining in the regular season, and San Jose currently 10 points up on Seattle, even a draw would realistically cinch the top spot in the West. However, winning tonight’s game at CenturyLink Field in what should be a playoff-like atmosphere will allow the Earthquakes to further their credentials for the Supporters’ Shield. With Sporting Kansas City a mere 2 points behind with five Earthquakes games to play, every point gained, especially on the road, will help in San Jose’s quest to secure the Shield.
The Earthquakes will face the Sounders bereft of their outside midfielder weapons Shea Salinas and Marvin Chavez as both were not expected to suit up for Saturday’s match. Given that Seattle tends to favor play through the middle of the field, the Earthquakes presumed line-up, one that should mirror that seen mid-week against the Portland Timbers, will need to be very careful of being exploited on the wings. If Sounders speedster Steve Zakuani is able to run loose on the touchlines, the Earthquakes will be very busy on defense.
Want to read more about tonight’s game? The San Jose Mercury News has a great preview written by Matt Schwab, so check that out. Over on the MLS mothership, Greg Lalas gives you five reasons to watch the Western Conference standings leaders go at it this evening. A true "six-pointer" in every sense, the Earthquakes and Sounders get things kicked-off tonight at 7:30 p.m.