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Earthquakes versus Sounders: Match Preview

The San Jose Earthquakes travel to Seattle to face the Sounders this weekend, taking each of the available sixteen bodies with them on the plane. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. PT at Century Link Field 
Television, with televised coverage on CSN Plus, and radio coverage on 1590 KLIV (English) and 1370 KZSF (Spanish).

Iron Man Jon Busch - the only certain starter in today's game in Seattle.
Iron Man Jon Busch - the only certain starter in today's game in Seattle.
Lyndsay Radnedge | Center Line Soccer

It's a sparse defensive line for the Earthquakes this week, with Bernardez absent through a one game suspension, and Clarence Goodson tearing up the practice field with Chris Wondolowski for the US Men's Notional Team.  Bernardez himself will add to the trio of players gone for the foreseeable future as the 2014 World Cup preparations begin in earnest.  "With the injuries we've had, we've used a lot more players so far this year," Watson added. "Guys have been able to play that maybe wouldn't have. We are going to need everyone in this next month, especially with the World Cup and the other injuries that will keep guys out."

Andreas Görlitz is gone for the season after season ending surgery to repair a torn ACL, so Ty Harden will have a key role this weekend, stepping in to the back line.  After an injury curtailed 2013 season, he has made four appearances, with a goal in the CONCACAF Champions League.  "He's strong and very reliable," said coach Mark Watson, "he's been around the game a long time and gained a lot of experience. It's very similar to his personality: he's a great guy, a solid player, and he'll give you everything he has."  Harden will have his hands (feet?) full with Obafemi Martins - who, with four goals and six assists on the season, isn't necessarily an easier alternative to deal with than Clint Dempsey.

Up front, Alan Gordon is absent with a groin injury and Shea Salinas is serving a one-match suspension for the red card in last week's game against FC Dallas, so the starting forwards will be pulled from Adam Jahn, Mike Fucito and Billy Schuler. Cordell Cato has the speed to out maneuver the Seattle defense, and his successful negotiation of the plastic turf at Century Field might be the key to the Earthquakes offense.  Cato was signed from Seattle after the 2012 season, so he does have experience on carpet to his advantage.

Thank goodness for iron man Jon Busch - the Cal Ripken Jr. of the Quakes' net, and the only player to be added to the lineup in ink.