Sounders, Earthquakes meet again — but with new looks
“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 points 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 midfielder Chad Marshall said. “You're 100 percent on the first day of the preseason, and then everyone's carrying something. I think guys have done a good job of taking care of their bodies, and the coaches have put some players in and rested some guys.”
San Jose also arrives with roster changes. Last week, the club sent longtime forward Alan Gordon to the Los Angeles Galaxy for allocation money.
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.
“He likes to play ... with a little bit of a free role behind the forward, so sometimes he pops up on the left, sometimes on the right,” Schmid said. “He scored a great goal against the Galaxy on the counterattack. He's got a great shot. He's quick, so we have to be aware of him.”
A few changes were reflected in the 2015 Sounders season-ticket packages sent out Tuesday. Season tickets will include 19 games, one more than this season. There will be the usual 17 regular-season home games, plus a friendly. The 19th game will be for CONCACAF Champions League, if the Sounders qualify; or for the opening home playoff game, if they do not. If they qualify for neither, the cost of the 19th ticket will be used as a deposit for the 2016 season.
Prices also rise from one to four dollars per ticket, and the transaction fee goes up from $5 to $15 per account.
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