Amid disappointing starts, Sounders face Earthquakes

ByField Level Media ESPN logo
Saturday, March 23, 2024

A battle between two winless teams is on tap when the San Jose Earthquakes host the Seattle Sounders on Saturday.

San Jose (0-4-0, 0 points) is last in the Western Conference and has scored only three goals while conceding nine. That's the most allowed in the conference and tied for the third-most in MLS overall.

The Earthquakes are one of only two teams that have yet to earn a point, joined by the New England Revolution.

"No one is happy with the current standings or form but, at the same time, it's about what we're going to do next," Earthquakes coach Luchi Gonzalez said. "... It's about showing up Saturday and giving each other everything we've got. ... We know we will turn this around with continued belief and hard work."

A visit from the Sounders could be the perfect remedy. The Earthquakes are 6-5-5 all-time at home against Seattle and 3-0-1 in their past four matches against them. They swept both meetings last season, outscoring the Sounders 3-0.

Midfielder Cristian Espinoza, who led San Jose with 13 goals last season, leads the side with 12 shot attempts and five attempts on target but has yet to find the back of the net.

Seattle (0-1-2, 2 points), which sits 13th in the Western Conference, has played to consecutive draws after losing the season opener. It has been a disappointing start after finishing second in the conference last season.

"It's been a missed opportunity in the first three games," midfielder Cristian Roldan said. "To only have two points is frustrating."

Though they've been strong defensively in conceding only three goals, the offense has struggled, scoring twice through three matches.

"We want to be aggressive there, set the tone," midfielder Danny Leyva said. "Play our game, be in control of the game. I think that's kind of been the key things we've talked about this week -- to impose ourselves and on the attacking side, be able to create chances and be a little more dangerous."

Forward Raul Ruidiaz is on the verge of a Sounders club record for career goals across all competitions. Ruidiaz scored his 79th goal last week in Seattle's 1-1 draw against the Colorado Rapids, tying former teammate Fredy Montero for first in the club's history.

The Sounds will be without midfielder Joshua Atencio after he was shown two yellow cards in the match against Colorado.

--Field Level Media