Fresh from clinching CONCACAF Group 4, the Sounders return to training on Friday and preparation for their 7:30 p.m. Saturday match against MLS-leading San Jose.
I'll have some updates from/after practice, but for now a few notes from the club (written before San Jose's 2-2 draw with Portland on Wednesday -- key changes are that the Quakes are now nine points ahead of the Sounders, and Chris Wondolowski is now up to 21 goals):
San Jose Series NotesThe Seattle-San Jose series is level at 4-4-1 after the Quakes won both previous meetings this season, Seattle's last win coming on October 15 of last season. San Jose holds a 12-10 goal advantage, with Fredy Montero and Chris Wondolowski leading the way with four goals apiece. Mauro Rosales and Steve Zakuani lead Seattle with two assists apiece, while Shea Salinas leads the series with four assists. The Rave Green are 3-2-0 all-time against the Earthquakes at CenturyLink Field. About San JoseThe Earthquakes sit atop MLS with 56 points (17-6-5), five points ahead of second place for the Supporters' Shield with just six games remaining. They lead the league with 58 goals scored (eight ahead of second place), a plus-25 goal differential (10 ahead of second place), and are the only team in MLS that averages over two goals per game (2.07). They also lead MLS with 60 assists and are second in shots (425), shots on goal (153), and corner kicks (153). They do most of their damage in the second half, averaging 1.29 goals in the last 45 minutes (first in MLS), including an impressive 18 goals scored in the final 15 minutes (first in MLS). The Quakes also have the league's best winning percentage at .500 (4-4-4) when conceding the first goal. Earthquakes NotablesFrank Yallop's league-leading attack is headlined by the league's top goal scorer in Chris Wondolowski. The 29-year-old striker sits atop the Budweiser Golden Boot race with 19 goals and has also added seven assists this season, most recently netting a goal and assist in a 2-0 win at Chivas USA on Saturday. Wondolowski leads MLS with 58 goals since the start of the 2009 season. He isn't their only option, however, as Alan Gordon is sixth in MLS with 12 goals and leads the league with 1.06 goals per 90 minutes. Steven Lenhart, who scored the stoppage time winner against Seattle in their last meeting, has eight goals in 2012. Midfielder Marvin Chavez leads the team and is tied-seventh in MLS with nine assists and 35-year-old Ramiro Corrales is second on the team with eight. Goalkeeper Jon Busch leads MLS with 15 wins, is second with a .700 winning percentage (15-5-5), and is tied-fifth in MLS with a 1.18 goals against average. SEA/SJ ConnectionsSeattle goalkeeper Andrew Weber played for the Earthquakes from 2009-11. Seattle's Mario Martinez and San Jose's Marvin Chavez and Victor Bernardez are from Honduras, all three playing together for Honduras in the recent World Cup qualifiers. Earthquakes forward Steven Lenhart played for Sigi Schmid and with Brad Evans in Columbus in 2008. Servando Carrasco and David Bingham played together at Cal-Berkeley. Daniel Steres and Steven Beitashour played together at San Diego State. Earthquakes midfielder Joey Gjertsen is from Tacoma, WA, graduated from Wilson High School, and attended Tacoma Community College and Evergreen State University. San Jose's Jacob Hustedt was born in Bothell, WA, and played his college ball at the University of Washington.