Sounders-Earthquakes Preview

The Associated Press

The Seattle Sounders bounced back from the franchise's most lopsided MLS defeat in May by edging the San Jose Earthquakes.

After getting beaten handily last time out, the Western Conference-leading Sounders will try to pull off that feat again and spoil last-place San Jose's attempt to win the first sporting event at Levi's Stadium on Saturday night.

Seattle (12-5-2) heads into August after Monday's 3-0 loss to visiting Los Angeles to go 1-2-0 in July.

"It's a long season. It's not one game. No matter if you win or you lose, you don't get too high or too low," forward Clint Dempsey said. "We've been consistent over the year. We've shown our quality, and that's why we are where we are in the table."

The Sounders weren't helped by the absence of one of their top defenders, Chad Marshall, who was dealing with back spasms following a minor auto accident this past weekend. Marshall's status is unknown for this game but midfielder Brad Evans could return after missing two contests with an ailing knee.

"(Brad is) a player that we've missed," Dempsey said.

The Sounders were routed 5-0 by New England on May 11 then claimed a 1-0 home win over San Jose six days later to start a 4-0-1 run that ended with a 1-0 loss in Vancouver on July 5. Dempsey, who has nine goals in 11 contests, didn't play against the Earthquakes because he was at the United States' training camp for the World Cup, along with Evans and DeAndre Yedlin.

San Jose (5-8-5) was without Chris Wondolowski, Clarence Goodson and Victor Bernardez. Wondolowski had his team-best seventh goal and an assist in a 5-1 rout of Chicago on July 23 that ended a five-game winless stretch (0-4-1) and a three-game home losing streak.

"I think there have been some positive signs recently," San Jose coach Mark Watson said. "I thought (a 1-1 tie on July 19 against) New York was a good performance as well. I thought we did some good things, but we just didn't have that quality in the final third. We continued to do that, raised our quality in the final third and scored some goals."

The Earthquakes' next home game is at the $1.3 billion stadium in Santa Clara, which will serve as the home of the NFL's San Francisco 49ers.

"It's always exciting to be part of something unique," Seattle coach Sigi Schmid said.

San Jose announced the signing of designated player Matias Perez Garcia on Thursday. The 29-year-old midfielder had 16 goals and 10 assists in 77 games with Club Atletico Tigre the past two seasons in his native Argentina.

It's unknown, however, if Garcia will be available for this game.

Seattle has won three of the last four matchups with San Jose, including a victory on penalty kicks in the U.S. Open Cup on June 24. The Earthquakes, though, have claimed the last three home matchups, allowing one goal in those games.

San Jose won 1-0 in each of last season's two home meetings.

The Earthquakes and Sounders meet again Aug. 20 in Seattle.

What to Read Next