The road doesn’t get any easier for the San Jose Earthquakes.
Their reward for navigating a difficult seven-game stretch to open the season? A date with Seattle Sounders FC, who hold a 20-3-3 record over their last 26 MLS matches. Seattle has dropped points at home just once since last July, a 1-0 loss to Philadelphia on Sept. 19.
Sounders FC is just the next challenge for a team that hasn’t been handed an easy start to 2019. The Portland Timbers were the only team San Jose has faced to date that went into the match with a losing record. In fact, five of the seven teams the Quakes have played against were previously undefeated on matchday.
Seattle has thrived for a variety of reasons. Possessing one of the league’s most intimidating home venues, CenturyLink Field routinely draws more than 35,000 fans in a noise-inducing environment. On the field, the Cascadia side has one of the strongest rosters in the league, combining talent of the international (Raul Ruidiaz, Nicolas Lodeiro), American (Will Bruin, Cristian Roldan) and Homegrown (Jordan Morris) varieties.
Ruidiaz has been one of the league’s most dangerous strikers since joining from Monarcas Morelia in Mexico. The Peruvian has scored 13 goals in 18 appearances since signing as a Designated Player last season, including three goals in two matches against San Jose.
Alongside him in the attack is Stanford product Jordan Morris, who spurned offers overseas to sign a Homegrown Player contract ahead of the 2016 season. He proceeded to win the MLS Rookie of the Year award that season after scoring 12 goals for the MLS Cup winners. Despite tallying just three goals and an assist between 2017 and 2018 combined, largely due to injury, Seattle expressed their belief in the young forward by signing him to a five-year deal worth roughly $1 million per season if he plays out the entire contract, per The Athletic. He has so far rewarded his club with a trio of goals already in 2019.
Wednesday’s match kicks off a 7:30 p.m. and will be broadcast live on NBC Sports California, KNBR 1050 and 1370 KZSF.