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MATCH PREVIEW: Earthquakes host Seattle Sounders FC in top-of-the-table matchup

The San Jose Earthquakes kick off a three-match homestand when they host Seattle Sounders FC on Wednesday, May 12 at PayPal Park, presented by Fastmetrics. The Quakes hold a record of 10-13-8 in regular season matchups versus Sounders FC, including a 5-3-5 record as hosts.

Sounders FC and the Quakes are both in exceptional form in 2021, occupying first and second place in the Western Conference, respectively. Sounders FC remains the only unbeaten club (3-0-1, 10 pts.) in the Western Conference heading into Wednesday’s match, conceding only two goals and outscoring opponents 10-2. They are ahead of the Quakes (3-1-0, 9 pts.) in the standings by just one point.

A brace from forward Chris Wondolowski inspired the Quakes to 2-1 comeback win over Real Salt Lake, marking a third straight victory. The Earthquakes look to keep their form and add to the winning streak but will have to end a winless streak against Sounders FC that dates back to June 20, 2015.

Wednesday’s match will be a real test to San Jose’s never-say-die spirit, needing a disciplined team performance to improve from recent results in matchups against Sounders FC. San Jose met Seattle four times in 2020 and yielded a record 0-2-2. 

Midfielder Carlos Fierro has played a key role in San Jose’s winning form, most recently feeding a cross and setting up Wondolowski for his game-winning goal on Friday. Fierro believes the team can continue performing if they keep their guard up and fight to the last second in every match. 

“The team never gave up and fought until the end,” Fierro said about Friday’s win. “Our offense is really good, but I also think our defense did a great job. We are happy for them. As time passes, we are learning more about each other and that has helped the team develop, and we have seen that in every match.”

Fierro is pleased with his contributions. The midfielder is at two assists, including one game-winner, in 2021 but has mentioned he is hungry for a goal.

“I am happy with my performances,” Fierro said. “As I always say, I try to give 100 percent as a substitute or as a starter. I always try to give my best and I’m happy for this moment I am experiencing. I’d obviously like to score, but that will come with patience. As long as the team keeps winning, everyone is happy. This is a team effort, and we move forward as a unit.”

San Jose can also look to Wondolowski as an impact sub. Wondolowski was responsible for Friday night’s comeback victory, entering the match as a substitute in the second half and scoring goals in 83rd and 87th minute, and ultimately earning MLS Team of Week and Player of the Week honors for Week 4.

Head coach Matias Almeyda has affirmed that Wondolowski is a game changer, always looking to make an impact regardless of a score line.

“Chris [Wondolowski] gets ready every day with the belief that he can keep scoring,” Almeyda said. “He supports whoever is playing and gives everything when he is called up. He deserves to score these goals because he is our legend that continues to score.”

Wondolowski is no stranger to scoring goals against Seattle Sounders FC. He is the league’s all-time leading scorer against the side and will look to build on that milestone during midweek’s showdown.

Wednesday’s kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. PT and will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Bay Area, KNBR 1050 and 1370 KZSF.

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