In Pictures: Seattle Sounders leave it late to lock in Knockout Round bye for 2018 MLS Playoffs

The Seattle Sounders kept momentum going as they left it late to beat San Jose Earthquakes 2-1 at CenturyLink Field on MLS Decision Day. A Raul Ruidiaz brace was enough to earn three more points, securing a Knockout Round bye in the Western Conference.

Seattle’s incredible end-of-season run has seen them lock in yet another playoff campaign. And they’ll head into their Western Conference semifinal in full confidence, given the way they stuck together to beat the Quakes on Sunday.

Chad Marshall’s own goal had dampened the mood around CenturyLink Field but Seattle stuck together and kept the pressure on San Jose’s goal. It paid off. Ruidiaz equalised in the 79th minute and then secured the win in dramatic style in the third minute of stoppage time.

Check out exclusive photos from Sunday’s game below, courtesy of MLSGB photographers Denise McCooey and Paul Kahl.

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Orlando City vs San Jose Earthquakes | 2018 MLS Preview and Prediction

Major League Soccer: Orlando City vs San Jose Earthquakes

Orlando City Stadium – Saturday, April 21 2018 – 19:30 ET (00:30 BST)

UK TV Coverage: Live on Sky Sports Football

Orlando City vs San Jose Earthquakes: Preview

Orlando City host San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday night, looking to make it four wins in a row against a Quakes side desperately looking to snap their winless run of four.

The Lions started the season in worryingly bad form. They picked up just one point from two-straight home games to open the 2018 season, before losing away at NYCFC. However, since then they’ve picked up and have managed to put together three consecutive wins heading into Week 8.

Jason Kreis described last week’s 2-0 win at Philadelphia Union as Orlando’s “most complete game of the year” and he wasn’t wrong. They picked up their first clean sheet of the campaign and looked comfortable after racing to a two-goal lead before halftime. Sacha Kljestan was particularly impressive and will be looking to pull the strings again here.

San Jose have perhaps been unfortunate to have won just one of their opening five matches. The Quakes have scored in all five games but have been conceding far too many. They’ve shipped ten so far – an average of two per game – and must shore up at the back to have any chance of building some form.

San Jose come into Saturday’s game off the back of a 2-2 home draw with Houston Dynamo. The Quakes led early before throwing away the advantage and required an 85th-minute Jahmir Hyka strike to earn a point. They have enough fight in the team but defensive quality has been evidently lacking so far.

Neither of these sides have yet to register a win over each other in MLS. The three previous clashes have all ended level, with last season’s lone meeting ending 1-1 at Avaya Stadium after late goals from Carlos Rivas and then Chris Wondolowski.

Orlando City vs San Jose Earthquakes: Team News

Orlando City

❌ Suspensions: None.

❓ Doubts: Scott Sutter (lower body), Jonathan Spector (concussion).

🚑 Out: Mason Stajduhar (Localized Ewing Sarcoma), RJ Allen (hamstring)

San Jose Earthquakes

❌ Suspensions: None.

❓ Doubts: None.

🚑 Out: Tommy Thompson (illness).

Orlando City vs San Jose Earthquakes: Key Stats

Orlando City’s MLS form: L/L/W/W/W

San Jose Earthquakes’s MLS form: W/L/L/D/D

Key stat: San Jose Earthquakes have not won away at an Eastern Conference side since August 2015 (2-0 at DC United).

Orlando City vs San Jose Earthquakes: Prediction

Orlando City 3-1 San Jose Earthquakes: Orlando will win this game if they can build on last week’s performance at Philadelphia. They have shown defensive frailties of their own this term but they were solid last week and should make the most of home advantage to pick up a first victory over the Quakes. San Jose will expect to find the net once again, but their problems at the back will make it difficult for them to leave with any points come the end of Saturday’s contest.

Will there be a new all-time MLS leading goal scorer in the 2018 campaign?

The excitement is ramping up as the 2018 Major League Soccer season is just five days away. Clubs have been busy and it looks set to be one of the most competitive seasons ever given the influx of quality players into the league. However, one of the veterans could become the new all-time MLS leading goal scorer if stats are anything to go by.

That man is Chris Wondolowski. The San Jose Earthquakes forward is on an impressive 134 goals in 293 MLS games. The current record holder, Landon Donovan, sits top of the pile on 145, meaning Wondo needs just 12 goals to break the record.

Wondo’s form over the last five seasons suggests he is on course to net the 11 goals needed to equal the record. Age hasn’t yet been an issue for him either, despite celebrating his 35 birthday in the offseason, his form has been extremely consistent since turning 30 in 2013.

MLS leading goal scorer: Can Wondo break the record?

He has averaged 13.2 goals across his last five seasons. Wondo has not scored less than 11 goals in a season since 2009. He didn’t become a regular scorer until the 2010 season so the stats make for positive reading.

While Wondolowski won’t be playing for just personal accolades, he will surely have an eye on the record and will hope he can hit the ground running when MLS kicks off in less than a week.

Will Wondo break the all-time MLS leading goal scorer record this season?

2018 Key Transfers: San Jose Earthquakes

With the 2018 MLS season drawing ever closer, we have been running through the standout transfers for all 23 teams over the course of the winter transfer window. There have been a number of key signings and significant trades which should ensure the new season is as exciting as ever before. Today we take a look at San Jose Earthquakes and their key signings ahead of the 2018 MLS season…

San Jose Earthquakes had a solid 2017 campaign, finishing 6th in the Western Conference. They fell at the first hurdle in the playoffs and have changed some personnel to give the squad a needed freshen up. Mike Stahre is looking to stamp his footprint onto his side having come in as head coach in November and he will be hoping to get off to a good start in under a week’s time.

Key Signings

Joel Qwiberg: Signed from the Swedish first division, Joel Qwiberg comes in to bolster San Jose’s defence. The left back is noted for his technical ability who can also be deployed to assist as an attacking wingback.

Magnus Eriksson: Another signing with history in Swedish football. He has a consistent goal-scoring record which will be welcomed news to Chris Wondolowski. Eriksson will be expected to relive the pressure on his fellow forward while looking to impress during his MLS debut season.

Eric Calvillo: A 20 year old who looks to have a bright future ahead of him. Eric Calvillo has represented the U.S. at U15-U19 levels and has made a name for himself as a midfielder who can be deployed in a number of roles. While he probably won’t be a regular from the get-go, he will be looking to break into the team and continue to progress.

Notable Departures

Darwin Ceren: After spending two seasons at San Jose, Darwin Ceren is on the move. He made 33 appearances and had a good sense of when the time was right to push on into the attack. His ability to cover a lot of ground will need to be replaced.

David Bingham: After spending four seasons waiting patiently for his chance to become a regular between 2011-2014, David Bingham has left for LA Galaxy. He made 91 appearances over the last three seasons but lost his starting place during the 2017 campaign. Perhaps the right time for both parties to part ways …

Victor Bernardez: Given San Jose’s defensive frailties at times last season it’s not a surprise to see changes to personnel. However, Victor Bernardez’s departure may come as a bit of a strange decision considering his regular starting place over the last six seasons. His 162 appearances prove that San Jose are losing an experienced head but now at 35 they’re looking for the long term.

Marco Ureña: After 25 appearances in his only season with San Jose, Marco Ureña has moved onto new boys Los Angeles FC as the third selection in the Expansion Draft. He scored five goals in 2017 and is known for linking up the attacking play. The Costa Rican international will be missed.

Gallery: Exclusive images from Seattle Sounders impressive 3-0 win over San Jose Earthquakes

The Seattle Sounders kept their strong run of form going with a convincing 3-0 win over the San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday. The Sounders were missing all three Designated Players and Jordan Morris too. But that didn’t stop them as they proved too good for the Quakes at CenturyLink Field.

The game was goalless at halftime but the Sounders simply blew San Jose away in the second half. Cristian Roldan opened the scoring in the 54th minute. Then, two minutes later made it 2-0. Seattle made sure of the result in the 65th minute when Kelvin Leerdam tapped in at the back post from a Joevin Jones corner.

Sunday night’s game marked Leerdam’s first MLS start since moving to Seattle at the start of the month. He impressed with a goal and assist. While Joevin Jones again proved how dangerous he is, so the Sounders now have two attacking full-backs to hurt teams with.

The win means Seattle have now picked up three-straight victories and are up to fifth in the West. However, San Jose have suffered three consecutive losses and are not outside the playoff spots. Their hopes of a top-six finish seem to be taking knock after knock at the moment.

Check out exclusive photos from Sunday’s game below, courtesy of MLSGB photographers Paul Kahl and Denise McCooey.

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MLS Preview and Prediction: Seattle Sounders vs San Jose Earthquakes

Major League Soccer: Seattle Sounders vs San Jose Earthquakes

CenturyLink Field – Sunday, July 23 – 22:30 ET (03:30 BST)

Match Odds: Seattle 4/5 – Draw 5/2 – San Jose 16/5

Seattle Sounders vs San Jose Earthquakes: Preview

Seattle Sounders take on San Jose Earthquakes at CenturyLink Field in the final game of an action-packed Week 20 in MLS on Sunday. The two sides are separated by just a point in a congested Western Conference heading into the game.

Seattle pulled off a historic comeback against DC United on Wednesday night. They became the first team in MLS history to come from three goals down to win in normal time. That result should have left the team in high spirits, although the loss of Nicolas Lodeiro after a late red card could hurt them on Sunday.

Brian Schmetzer has seen his Sounders side fire themselves back into the playoff picture after a strong run of form. They haven’t lost in four MLS games, winning their last two. Although they did lost 2-1 at San Jose in the quarterfinals of the US Open Cup in the middle of that run.

San Jose suffered a heavy 5-1 defeat at the New York Red Bulls on Wednesday night. The Earthquakes had a long time to prepare for that game during the Gold Cup break and will be bitterly disappointed with the result.

They do have the chance to get back on track and leapfrog Seattle on Sunday though. The Quakes have won on two of their last three trips to CenturyLink Field, so they know they have what it takes to win at one of the league’s toughest away grounds.

As mentioned above, San Jose did beat Seattle in the US Open Cup last month. That came after the two sides shared the points in a 1-1 draw back in April in their reverse MLS clash this season. The pair have now drawn three of their last four MLS games 1-1.

Seattle Sounders vs San Jose Earthquakes: Team News

Seattle will be without Clint Dempsey and Jordan Morris as a result of both attackers’ participation at the Gold Cup with the USA. Oniel Fisher is also absent as he’s with the Jamaican squad. Osvaldo Alonso remains out for the next four weeks with a knee injury. While doubts hang over Henry Wingo, Chad Marshall, Nouhou Tolo and Stefan Frei. Nicolas Lodeiro picked up a red card against DC United on Wednesday and will serve a one-game suspension as a result.

San Jose are set to welcome back Darwin Ceren and Anibal Godoy after both were knocked out of the Gold Cup on Wednesday with El Salvador and Panama, respectively. Marco Urena will be unavailable as a result of his participation with the Costa Rican squad. Marvell Wynne, Marc Pelosi, Harold Cummings and Kip Colvey will all miss out through injury. Fatai Alashe, Quincy Amarikwa and Jackson Yueill are doubts.

Seattle Sounders vs San Jose Earthquakes: Key Points

Seattle Sounders’ last five: L/D/D/W/W

San Jose Earthquakes’ last five: D/W/W/L/L

Key Stat: San Jose Earthquakes have only lost one of their last ten games against Seattle Sounders in all competitions. That came in their most recent trip to CenturyLink Field last May.

Key Player: Chris Wondolowski – The San Jose hero has scored in his past two MLS meetings against Seattle. He knows what it takes to beat the Sounders and will look to make life difficult for a depleted Seattle team.

Seattle Sounders vs San Jose Earthquakes: Prediction

Seattle Sounders 1-1 San Jose Earthquakes – Seattle have been rocked by absences all over the field. They will be without all three of their Designated Players, as well as Jordan Morris. So they know they will find it difficult to claim all three points on Sunday night. San Jose got battered on Wednesday but have the quality to bounce back at Seattle here. That said, three of the last four league meetings between the pair have ended 1-1, a scoreline we are likely to see again this weekend.

MLS Preview and Prediction: San Jose Earthquakes vs LA Galaxy

Competition: Major League Soccer – San Jose Earthquakes vs. LA Galaxy
Venue: Stanford Stadium – Saturday, July 1 – 22:30 ET (03:30 BST)
Match Odds: SJ Earthquakes 5/6 – Draw 12/5 – LA Galaxy 3/1

Match Preview

San Jose Earthquakes do battle with local rivals LA Galaxy at Stanford Stadium for the second Californian Clasico of the season on Saturday night, with the two rivals separated by just a point coming into Week 18.

San Jose are one point ahead of LA, having played one game more, and know they need to get revenge for their 4-2 home defeat to their West-coast rivals just over a month ago.

The Earthquakes are now preparing for their first MLS game since sacking Dominic Kinnear earlier this week in a move that took many people by surprise, particularly off the back of last Saturday’s 2-1 win over RSL.

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The Quakes advanced past Seattle 2-1 on Wednesday night in the US Open Cup in Chris Leitch’s first outing as head coach. But he knows that Saturday’s Clasico will offer a much tougher test. The home fans will expect a win, but they’ve only managed one in their last seven clashes against the Galaxy.

The visitors arrive having eased past Sacramento Republic in Wednesday’s Open Cup clash, but they will still feel disappointed at losing their first MLS outing in nine last weekend, as Sporting KC emerged victorious from StubHub Center last Saturday.

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Curt Onalfo has got his side looking more solid than they did through the first six weeks of the season but they still have a big job at hand if they are to seal a place in the playoffs, let alone challenge for a sixth MLS Cup title.

The boost for LA is that they’ve already beaten San Jose this season in that 4-2 win a few weeks back. That was one of the Galaxy’s four away wins from their last five road games, with the only other result in that stretch a 0-0 draw at DC United, so they should arrive at Stanford Stadium in high spirits.

Team News

San Jose will be without Nick Lima after he was sent off in last weekend’s clash with Real Salt Lake. The Quakes also have six players sidelined through injury, with Quincy Amarikwa, Marvell Wynne, Marc Pelosi, Harold Cummings, Florian Jungwirth and Fatai Alashe all out.

LA Galaxy are definitely without four players as Robbie Rogers, Sebastian Lletget, Baggio Husidic and Brian Rowe are injured, while doubts are hanging over Daniel Steres, Jermaine Jones, Raul Mendiola and Bradley Diallo. Gyasi Zardes won’t be available as he is part of the USA’s Gold Cup squad that play Ghana on Saturday. Giovani Dos Santos will also miss out as a result of his participation at the Confederations Cup with Mexico.

Key Points

SJ Earthquakes’ form: W/L/L/D/W

LA Galaxy’s form: W/D/D/W/L

Key Stat: San Jose Earthquakes have only lost one of their last 11 home games in MLS, but that was to LA Galaxy back in May.

Key Player: Chris Wondolowski – The San Jose veteran knows what it takes to win a Californian Clasico, given the fact this will be his 17th derby clash against LA. He has scored five in his last seven games against the Galaxy and will look to hurt them again here.

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Score Prediction

SJ Earthquakes 1-1 LA Galaxy – It’s tough to separate the rivals coming into this weekend’s clash. Both had midweek cup successes and that might take its toll on a few members of each squad but a game of this magnitude requires full concentration from start to finish. Both will expect to score but ultimately, we see this one ending all square.

MLS Preview and Prediction: New England Revolution vs San Jose Earthquakes

Competition: Major League Soccer – New England Revolution vs. San Jose Earthquakes
Venue: Gillette Stadium – Wednesday, April 19 – 19:30 ET (00:30 BST) 
Match Odds: New England 3/4 – Draw 5/2 – San Jose 100/30

Match Preview

New England Revolution take on San Jose Earthquakes on Wednesday night as Week 8 starts early in a clash between two sides that have been inconsistent through the first few weeks of the 2017 season.

The Revs fell 3-0 in Chicago on Saturday, with the early dismissal of Je-Vaughn Watson doing little to help their cause. The Fire dominated the game thereafter and handed New England a third away loss of the season.

Jay Heaps has a talented squad at his disposal again this season, but their inconsistency is proven by the fact that they have only won back-to-back MLS games once in the past 13 months.

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The boost for them this week is that they have two games on home soil to try and climb up the Eastern Conference. They welcome DC United to Gillette Stadium on Saturday after the visit of San Jose on Wednesday and many will feel the Revs have a strong chance of picking up maximum points from the two games.

San Jose tend to struggle on the road, while New England have won both of their home games so far this season, with both coming against Western opposition.

The Earthquakes come into this midweek game off the back of a dramatic 1-1 draw at home to FC Dallas on Friday night. The Quakes looked beaten but got the all-important equaliser with just seconds remaining in stoppage time.

That last-gasp Jahmir Hyka goal made it back-to-back draws for the Earthquakes, who are without a win in four after opening the season with consecutive home win.

Their only two road trips so far have ended in 2-1 losses to Sporting Kansas City and New York City FC, so it’s easy to understand why they are underdogs for Wednesday’s trip to Foxborough.

These two sides met once last season, drawing 0-0 at Avaya Stadium in late August. New England had won three in a row prior to that, with San Jose’s last win against the Revs coming five years ago.

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Team News

New England boss Jay Heaps is fortunate to have no injuries to worry about ahead of the visit of San Jose. However, Je-Vaughn Watson will miss out after being sent off in the 3-0 loss at Chicago. Heaps is likely to make a few alterations to keep the squad fresh ahead of the weekend visit of DC United.

San Jose head coach Dominic Kinnear will be tempted to name an unchanged side to the one that fought back to earn a draw against Dallas but he also had another Week 8 game to consider. Quincy Amarikwa remains out, along with Marvell Wynne, Marc Pelosi and Harold Cummings. Simon Dawkins and Andres Imperiale are still listed as ‘questionable’.

Key Points

NE Revolution’s form: L/W/D/W/L

SJ Earthquakes’ form: W/L/L/D/D

Key Stat: San Jose Earthquakes haven’t won an away game in MLS since August. They have now only picked up one road win in their last 21 regular season games.

Key Player: Lee Nguyen – The Revs have hardly set the world alight so far this season but Lee Nguyen has looked impressive, scoring three goals and picking up one assist in six outings so far. Most the Revolution’s best play will come through him and he’ll be looking to unlock the San Jose defence from the outset.

Score Prediction

New England Revolution 2-1 San Jose Earthquakes – San Jose have already lost two away games 2-1 this year and they could be set for a third defeat by the same scoreline on Wednesday. The Quakes are an attacking threat but struggle to keep opponents out away from home. New England have scored seven in their two home games so far and will expect to pick up three points in the first of two matches in front of their own fans this week.

MLS Preview and Prediction: New York City FC vs San Jose Earthquakes

Competition: Major League Soccer – New York City FC vs. San Jose Earthquakes
Venue: Yankee Stadium – Saturday, April 1 – 14:00 ET (19:00 BST)
Match Odds: New York City FC 3/4 – Draw 13/5 – San Jose Earthquakes 100/30

Match Preview

New York City FC welcome San Jose Earthquakes to Yankee Stadium on Saturday night in what is a very interesting early-season encounter, with the visitors looking for their third win of the season in the Big Apple.

A feature for both sides in 2017  has been to have had the majority of possession, an area both will want to continue to dominate. But something has to give and that should lead to an interesting tactical battle on the narrow pitch at Yankee Stadium.

Saturday will be NYCFC’s third home game on the bounce and having already racked up four points from the previous two, Patrick Vieira and his men will want to end the string of home matches with a win and put seven points on the board.

San Jose on the other hand will be playing their second away game and having lost their previous four road matches in MLS, the odds are not in their favour. It seems, at the minute at least, the Earthquakes are reliant on their home form if they’re to make the playoffs come October.

If it wasn’t for David Bingham’s shocking error in the dying minutes at SKC two weeks ago, the Quakes might well have rescued a point from Florian Jungwirth’s stoppage time goal. They know they are good enough defensively to compete with the NYCFC attack, but the test will be how quickly they can break on the hosts on Saturday.

This will be just the third ever MLS meeting between these two sides. NYCFC beat San Jose 3-2 in the first ever matchup in 2015 before the sides played out a 0-0 draw at Avaya Stadium last August.

Team News

New York City FC are only missing one player through injury as Mikey Lopez is out long term after ankle surgery.

San Jose are missing three players, with Quincy Amarikwa out after knee surgery, while Marvell Wynne is out indefinitely with a heart abnormality and Marc Pelosi has a knee injury.

Key Points

New York City FC’s form: L/W/D

San Jose Earthquakes’ form: W/W/L

Key Stat: San Jose have lost their last four away matches in MLS.

Key Player: David Villa – It seems easy to highlight NYCFC’s star player but in a home match that they are expected to win, he is expected to deliver. The Spaniard has the ability to take this game away from San Jose pretty quickly.

Score Prediction

New York City FC 3-1 San Jose Earthquakes – Having started with a loss on the opening day, NYCFC are already playing catch up and despite San Jose’s good start to 2017, we expect a home win at Yankee Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Colorado Rapids vs San Jose Earthquakes

Competition: Major League Soccer – Colorado Rapids vs. San Jose Earthquakes

Venue: Dick’s Sporting Goods Park – Thursday, October 13 – 21:00 ET (02:00 BST) 

Match Odds: Colorado 19/20 – Draw 11/5 – San Jose 3/1

Match Preview

Colorado Rapids take on the San Jose Earthquakes in a rare Thursday night MLS clash, with the home side looking to go top of the Supporters’ Shield standings with just two weeks of the regular season to go.

The Rapids have had a great season and have already guaranteed a playoff berth. But they will have eyes on the main prize right now, considering they’re only two points off league leaders FC Dallas so this game in hand is a big one for the Colorado fans.

A 3-2 win in Houston on Saturday kept them on track for the Supporters’ Shield and a win at home here would put them in a great position with just two more regular season games to play after Thursday night’s clash.

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For San Jose, it’s a really tough fixture at a really tough stage of the season. A whole of first-team players are unavailable and Dominic Kinnear’s men are six points off the playoffs coming into this one.

A win for the Quakes would make them believe they can secure a top six finish, but that’s a real tough ask considering they have one of the league’s worst away records this season.

A 2-1 victory at home to RSL ended a seven-game winless run last time out but it would take something very special for the Quakes to qualify for the playoffs over the final two weeks.

Seattle Sounders vs San Jose Earthquakes

 

Team News

Colorado Rapids may line up with the same side that beat Houston at the weekend. Dillon Serna, Jermaine Jones and Bobby Burling all remain out, while Kevin Doyle and Sean St Ledger are doubts. Dominique Badji looks set to lead the attack after scoring two at Houston last time out.

San Jose travel to Colorado without a whole host of first-team stars. David Bingham and Chris Wondolowski are with the US National Team and won’t feature, while Quincy Amarikwa, Marc Pelosi, Mark Sherrod, Clarence Goodson, Kip Colvey, Jordan Stewart and Alberto Quintero are all injured.

Key Points

Colorado Rapids’ last five: W/D/D/W/W

San Jose Earthquakes’ last five: D/D/L/L/W

Key Stat: Colorado Rapids are unbeaten in 15 home games in MLS, picking up the third-highest points total at home of all sides this season.

Key Player: Shkelzen Gashi – The Albanian playmaker is the Rapids’ top goalscorer this season with eight. He has six of those in his last nine and looks to be in great form at the playoffs edge closer.

Score Prediction

Colorado Rapids 1-0 San Jose Earthquakes – Games between these two don’t produce many goals and that trend is likely to continue on Thursday night. The Rapids should get back to winning ways at home and will move to the top of the league if they do manage to seal all three points. Don’t expect this to be the most thrilling of ties, but the Rapids should edge it.