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Match Preview: Three Match Storylines against Seattle

1. Break out the brooms?: The Earthquakes would do themselves a world of good by completing a season sweep of the Sounders, after taking two at CenturyLink Field. Seattle has busted out of its slump with back-to-back victories to move into third place. Clint Dempsey returned to the scoring column in a rain-slickened 2-1 win over Toronto FC.  Obafemi Martins scored for the fourth time in four games. So the Sounders have reason to be confident, but the Quakes have had their number. If the Quakes were a little soft in the midsection in a 2-1 loss to the Philadelphia Union, they will have the equivalent of six-pack abs this time with the return from international duty of central midfielder Anibal Godoy, who helped the team learn to walk upright in August after a slumping July, Marc Pelosi and Sanna Nyassi. Matias Perez Garcia and Fatai Alashe manned the central midfield against Philly, flanked by Cordell Cato and Shea Salinas. Can we expect a spectacular goal from the Quakes, perhaps with a sweep of MPG's capable left foot? It's conceivable. The Quakes have had a player earn MLS Goal of the Week honors during each of their matches against Seattle this season (Week 2: Innocent; Week 16: Perez Garcia).  

2. Wondo-Salinas Combo Plate: If you were to predict a Chris Wondolowski goal assisted by Shea Salinas against the Sounders, it wouldn't exactly be going out on a limb. Wondo has given just about MLS team fits at one time or another, but he seems to save his most lethal daggers for the Sounders. He has scored nine goals against Seattle, including two this season, four more total goals than any other MLS player. Wondo had two goals in a 3-2 triumph over Seattle on March 14. For his part, Salinas has four assists against Seattle, trailing only Brad Davis (6) and Landon Donovan (6) for most against Sounders FC all time. MPG had a goal and assisted Nyassi in a 2-0 win over the Sounders in the teams' previous meeting on June 20. 

3. A chance to regroup: With Quincy Amarikwa doing his aerobics up front and the midfield now fully fortified, the Quakes' fate on Saturday could hinge on the ability of the back four to regroup. The Quakes saw their 447-minute shutout streak -- tops in MLS this season -- end against Philly, thanks to the 34-year-old dome of Conor Casey, who scored twice in an 11-minute span on headers. The team was able to absorb the recent loss of the injured defender Jordan Stewart, as Shaun Francis stepped in admirably and Marvell Wynne continues to be a revelation. But the loss of center back Victor Bernardez (hamstring) in the first half last week posed a more complex problem, simply because strapping, internationally seasoned center backs don't exactly grow on trees. So the Quakes might need goalkeeper David Bingham to stand on his head if the back line somehow loses its shape. Clarence Goodson will surely do everything in his power to make sure that doesn't happen. 

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