An afternoon match in the sun to start of a two match home stand is always fun. Doing it the lingering injury issues makes things a bit less exciting. Good news Sounders fans, the San Jose Earthquakes are dealing with similar issues and they are on the road.
Today's tiny version of Three Questions is with Robert from Quake, Rattle and Goal and is very aloha influenced from my side. But it still shares some new stuff to think over concerning this crucial Western Conference match.
SaH: Lenhart and Gordon are both back. How will Yallop still get Jahn playing time?
QRG: While both Steven Lenhart and Alan Gordon return from suspension this weekend, only Gordon will be available for head coach Frank Yallop on Saturday. Lenhart is still dealing with a nagging heel bruise that is likely to keep him out of the Quakes line-up for at least another week, so Gordon may get the start against the Sounders. Why not Adam Jahn in the Starting XI? The rookie phenom suffered a nasty thigh bruise at the tail end of Wednesday night's 2-1 victory against Toronto FC when he went in to block a late shot attempt on defense. Jahn will be a game day decision for Yallop, but even if available may be better served coming off the bench. Either way, Gordon and Jahn will share the duty of being the striking partner of Chris Wondolowski.
SaH: Walter Martinez is up at the top of diamond more often lately. Is this working?
QRG: With Rafael Baca more of a holding midfielder and Walter Martinez a converted forward both competing for playing time, expect Baca to get the nod 9 times out of 10. However, against the Sounders, with speedy playmaker Marvin Chavez suspended, both Baca and Martinez should see the field together. Late in the second half, the two players were on the field at the same time against TFC, with Baca playing centrally and Martinez running the left flank. Expect much of the same on Saturday, as the formation worked wonderfully to keep Toronto on their collective back feet as the Earthquakes completed a 2-1 victory with two second half goals.
SaH: Are expectations starting to temper after San Jose's slow start?
QRG: Quite the opposite, in fact, as the coaching staff and players are frustrated at their inability to earn wins in games where they've been the dominant side. The victory against Toronto was just the team's third of the season, and first since a 1-0 home win against Seattle in March, though it still wasn't easy. Having Chavez back in the line-up helped the Earthquakes score 7 goals in his 4 appearances after netting only 5 goals in their previous 7 games. With the Honduran suspended for two games, the Quakes will home his countryman Martinez can pick up the slack in the attacking third.
It is gameday. Enjoy.