Sounders Insider

Sounders train on eve of Quakes match

The Sounders train this morning at Starfire, their last session before returning to league play at 7 p.m. Wednesday, when the San Jose Earthquakes visit CenturyLink Field. (Here's our TNT story looking ahead to this two-game week.) We should have some updates after that training session, but until then, these notes from the club:

Following a busy three-game week, Seattle Sounders FC returns to the Pacific Northwest for a pair of matches against Western Conference opponents, beginning Wednesday night against the San Jose Earthquakes. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. PT on the Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field. Wednesday's match will be televised locally on JOEtv (KZJO, channel 22/cable 10) and regionally on ROOT Sports with Ross Fletcher and Taylor Graham on the call, and can be heard on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM. Spanish radio is available on ESPN Deportes 1490 AM. The action continues on Sunday when Sounders FC visits the Portland Timbers in a nationally televised Cascadia Cup match. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. PT at Providence Park in Portland. The match will be broadcast on ESPN2 with Adrian Healey, Taylor Twellman, Alexi Lalas and Monica Gonzalez on the call. The match can also be heard on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM and in Spanish on ESPN Deportes 1490 AM. Sounders FC (13-7-2, 41 points) fell out of the top spot in the Western Conference for the first time since April 26, falling at Real Salt Lake last Saturday, 2-1. The defeat capped a successful week that saw Sounders FC down the Houston Dynamo, 2-0, before advancing past the Chicago Fire, 6-0, to reach its fifth U.S. Open Cup final in six years. Sitting one point out of the pole position for the Supporters' Shield, Sounders FC can reclaim to top spot on Wednesday night against the San Jose Earthquakes (6-9-6, 24 points). The match marks the third and final meeting of the season between the two sides after splitting a pair of 1-nil home decisions. The Earthquakes currently sit eighth in the West and will look to bounce back from the worst defeat in club history, a 5-0 loss to FC Dallas on Saturday. Sounders FC will then travel down Interstate-5 to visit the Portland Timbers (7-7-10, 31 points) for the final derby match of the season between the two rivals. The Timbers are sixth in the Western Conference, just two points out of the fifth and final playoff position, and have gone 3-1-1 over the past five matches. Sunday will be the penultimate Cascadia Cup match of the season for Sounders FC, who can overtake Vancouver for first place, as the competition concludes in Seattle on October 10. Dating back to 1975, Seattle and Portland soccer teams have met 86 times, with Seattle holding the advantage at 43-31-12. Following the two-game week, Sounders FC will conclude the month with a home match against the Colorado Rapids on August 30. Tickets for Sounders FC home matches are available now at and 1-877-MLS-GOAL. Competition Schedule (All times Pacific; subject to change)August 20, 7:00 p.m. - Sounders FC vs. San Jose Earthquakes, CenturyLink FieldAugust 24, 2:00 p.m. - Sounders FC at Portland Timbers, Providence ParkAugust 30, 1:00 p.m. - Sounders FC vs. Colorado Rapids, CenturyLink FieldSept. 3, 7:30 p.m. - Sounders FC at Chivas USA, StubHub CenterSept. 12, 7:30 p.m. - Sounders FC vs. Real Salt Lake, CenturyLink Field Sounders FC Aims to Regain Top SpotDespite dropping out of the top spot with Saturday's road defeat, Sounders FC remains in the hunt for the 2014 Supporters' Shield. Seattle sits one point behind Sporting Kansas City and Real Salt Lake with two games in hand, and leads the league with 1.86 points per game and 13 wins. Sounders FC currently sits second in the West after holding the top spot for 14 consecutive weeks, dating back to April 26. Overall, Seattle has been first place in the Western Conference for 15 of 22 weeks this season, and has not dropped below the fourth spot. A Dozen to GoSounders FC has 12 remaining regular season games, beginning with Wednesday's matchup against the San Jose Earthquakes. Seattle has more remaining games than 16 teams. Eleven of the 12 matches feature a Western Conference opponent, including a pair of games each against Colorado, Chivas USA and LA Galaxy, with the visit to New York being the lone Eastern Conference matchup. Sounders FC will play six home and six away matches to conclude the campaign, with nine games on the weekend (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) and three Wednesday matches. Two-Game WeekSounders FC is faced with another multi-game week with matches set for Wednesday against San Jose and Sunday at Portland. It marks the third time this season that Sounders FC has played two or more regular season matches in one week. In the first stretch, Sounders FC played three games from May 3-11, downing Philadelphia and Dallas at home before dropping a road match at New England. Seattle recently fell twice in one week to Los Angeles and San Jose. Following this week's stretch, Sounders FC will have two more busy weeks this season, including games against Colorado (August 30) and Chivas USA (September 3) as well as a three-game stretch from September 20-27 with games against New York, Dallas and Chivas USA. At Home versus San JoseWednesday's match features one of the league's top home teams against a struggling away side. Sounders FC has gone 8-3-0 in 11 home games this season, earning the third-highest home point total (24) while winning the most home games (8). Seattle's 24 goals scored at home ranks fifth in MLS and its 10 goals against are the third-fewest. Sounders FC set the league record this season with a six-game home winning streak from April 26-July 13, and earned a 2-nil home victory in the last outing against Houston on August 10. San Jose has struggled on the road this season, going 1-4-3 for the third-fewest points (6) in MLS. The lone away victory came at FC Dallas on May 31, a 2-1 win with a man advantage for the final 53 minutes. San Jose's seven goals scored on the road is the fewest this season, but the team has held strong on defense, allowing a league-low 10 goals. Sounders FC holds the all-time series advantage at CenturyLink Field with a record of 5-3-0, including wins in the past two meetings. SEA-SJ Fast Facts* Sounders FC trails San Jose in the all-time regular season series at 6-8-1* San Jose holds the scoring edge at 17-16* Seattle has scored multiple goals five times and has been held scoreless six times* Sounders FC has posted four shutouts, allowing three goals over the past five meetings* At 5-3-0, the teams have never tied at CenturyLink Field* Lamar Neagle is the only player to score multiple goals in a single game against San Jose (5/11/13)* Chris Wondolowski leads all players with six goals in the all-time series About San JoseSan Jose currently sits eighth in the Western Conference, nine points out of a playoff position. With the most remaining games (13) in MLS, the Quakes look to reach the MLS Cup Playoffs for the third time in five years, falling in the 2010 semifinals and the 2012 quarterfinals. The Earthquakes saw its four-game (2-0-2) unbeaten run snapped last Saturday in a 5-0 home loss to FC Dallas, marking the largest defeat in club history and the team's first loss since July 12. Earthquakes NotablesForward Chris Wondolowski leads the Earthquakes attack with eight goals and three assists in 15 starts this season. In his 12 games against Sounders FC, he has tallied six goals, including four game-winners, and one assist. Newcomer Yannick Djalo has tallied three goals with two assists, but has been sidelined since suffering an injury on August 2. Four other players (Atiba Harris, Khari Stephenson, Cordell Cato and Victor Bernardez) have scored multiple goals. Goalkeeper Jon Busch has started all 21 matches this season, posting a 1.29 goals against average with five shutouts. SEA-SJ ConnectionsSeattle's Brad Evans and Chad Marshall played with San Jose's Steven Lenhart on Sigi Schmid's 2008 Columbus Crew team. Marshall was also teammates with Shaun Francis with the Crew from 2010-12. Kenny Cooper played with Clarence Goodson in Dallas from 2006-07. Cooper was also teammates with Atiba Harris in 2009 and Brandon Barklage in 2012. Chad Barrett and Quakes goalkeeper Jon Busch were teammates at Chicago in 2007-08, and Marco Pappa also played with Busch from 2008-09. Forward Mike Fucito played for Sounders FC from 2009-11, scoring three goals in 23 appearances. Forward Cordell Cato made eight appearances for Seattle in 2012, and scored the game-winner against San Jose in the 2012 U.S. Open Cup. Goalkeeper Bryan Meredith played for Seattle from 2011-12. Rookies Aaron Kovar and JJ Koval were teammates at Stanford from 2012-13