As the Seattle Sounders host the San Jose Earthquakes at CenturyLink Field on Saturday, head coach Sigi Schmid hopes to finally reverse his team's recent lack of success against the visitors. "Sometimes you just have a team that's a bogey team for you, that happens all over the world in soccer."
Schmid referred to Barcelona's trouble with fellow La Liga team Real Sociedad in recent years as a comparison to Seattle's trouble with San Jose. In regular season MLS play, the Sounders haven't won against San Jose since May 2014. But Schmid recognizes that it might just be "psychological, you go into it and you think about it." He said that he hopes to reverse this trend and "leave that behind us."
As far as the Earthquakes squad he'll be facing, Schmid said that they are "a team that, under Dominic, is a hard-working team usually with one forward." He pointed out Quincy Amarikwa and Adam Jahn as potential players up top, saying about the latter is "more of a battler and a guy who causes things to happen just through his effort and intensity." He also noted that "Wondo is Wondolowksi, you gotta be aware of him coming off of crosses." Schmid is a little unsure about how San Jose's midfield will line up, expecting speedy wide players to support the forward.
As far as the Sounders' own squad, it seems that the entire team is close to full health, especially Andreas Ivanschitz, who missed last week's match due to a thigh strain. He said that "Ivanschitz got through this week of training good, Valdez has also gotten through the week good, Friberg's looking at a full week of training." Clint Dempsey, who was coming off an injury last week, trained all week and is good to go for Saturday too.
It sounds like Erik Friberg will likely start for Seattle, considering Ivanschitz's recent return. Schmid was pleased with Friberg's performance against Columbus last weekend. "I thought Erik came in off the bench last week and did good things for us. We're looking forward to having Erik play a role this week as well."