The Seattle Sounders play San Jose Earthquakes at 7:30 PM PT on Saturday -- but they have traveled without Fredy Montero, who is recovering from surgery on his wrist. It may not seem as though the Sounders would miss much without Montero, seeing as they've scored one goal in three matches, and that goal was scored by Steve Zakuani. But looking beyond the simple goals (or lack thereof) it's almost impossible for anyone to ignore the fact that Montero is the backbone of the club, the creative force. Playing Nate Jaqua up front with O'Brian White just isn't going to provide the same thrill.
There are other possibilities, of course. Sigi Schmid could change up his formation, but that would come as quite a shot. After seeing White put a couple shots on target last Friday against Houston Dynamo, it's entirely plausible that he could play as the target man up front, in something more like a 4-2-3-1, with Zakuani, Erik Friberg and Alvaro Fernandez stretched out behind. But no, if anything of that sort happens, it'll somehow end up be Zak moving up front and playing as a striker. It's absurd, but when the laws of the game say you must have two up front, you must have two up front.
As for the Quakes, well, they're all about their star Chris Wondolowski. He's scored the last twelve regular season goals for San Jose, which seems quite impressive until you realize that if he goes down with an injury, the team is dead in the water. For now, though, with him getting into space and causing trouble, the Seattle centerbacks will be spending much of their time simply making sure Wondolowski doesn't have a chance at goal. James Riley, fully recovered from a concussion will be tasked with keeping Bobby Convey and his speed under control. Perhaps the little knock has reminded Riley that he's meant to have defensive duties, not just offensive ones? Fingers crossed.
Perhaps this preview is a little negative, but until the Sounders manage to find a way to actually get the ball inside the net -- as opposed to sending it off the post or the crossbar or watching the keeper block the shot something like 27 times -- it's hard to feel any sort of optimism about this team. That being said, part of being a fan is enduring the frustrations and then giving your full 90 anyway. Scarves up Seattle -- it's time to turn this season around.
Previews, match threads, lineup cards and more can be found at Sounder at Heart, SB Nation's Sounders blog
Preview, questions with S@H, and likely more (it's their first week, so am a little unsure, but go say hi) on Quake, Rattle and Goal, SB Nation's Earthquakes blog.