TUKWILA – Seattle Sounders FC and the San Jose Earthquakes face off again Wednesday in what will be their fourth meeting in about three months.
“You’d wish ideally the games would be spread out,” Seattle coach Sigi Schmid said Tuesday. “… Sometimes you get teams in a good run, sometimes you get them in a bad run. If you play them bunched together, you might play them in a good run a couple of times or a bad run a couple of times – so there’s a benefit or a negative to it.”
In this case, both clubs are coming off of losses, and have plenty to play for. The Earthquakes are nine points out of playoff position with 10 games to go, while the Sounders move back atop the MLS Supporters’ Shield race with a win and catch Real Salt Lake and Sporting Kansas City with a draw.
Both also likely will have significant personnel differences from those earlier meetings.
In that first regular-season match in May, Seattle won 1-0 at home despite Clint Dempsey and DeAndre Yedlin being away on international duty.
In the second regular-season match earlier this month, a 1-0 road loss, Chad Marshall and Lamar Neagle were out with injuries.
And the U.S. Open Cup match in June, a 1-1 draw through extra time with Seattle advancing on penalty kicks, included the usual jumble of regulars and reserves, with neither Dempsey, Yedlin nor Obafemi Martins seeing the pitch.
Now the teams are about to gather at CenturyLink Field for their fourth and final scheduled meeting of the season. This time it appears the Sounders will be near full strength, with midfielders Marco Pappa and Brad Evans the only regulars seen as questionable, both with hamstring issues.
However, general fatigue could be a factor as this is Seattle’s fourth match in 11 days.
“I think at this point in the season everyone is feeling something,” central defender Chad Marshall said. “You’re 100 percent on the first day of the preseason, and then everyone’s carrying something.
The Sounders also are expected to get their first look at Matias Perez Garcia, a 29-year-old Argentine midfielder who signed July 31 as San Jose’s third designated player, but who did not play in the Sounders-Quakes game two days later.
Since then, he has appeared in two matches and scored one goal.