Sounders return home after record rally to face Earthquakes
SEATTLE — What will the Seattle Sounders do for an encore?
The Sounders became the first MLS team to rally from a three-goal deficit and win in regulation, defeating D.C. United 4-3 on Wednesday night.
The Sounders (7-7-6) will play host to the San Jose Earthquakes (7-8-5) on Sunday night at CenturyLink Field. Seattle currently sits in the sixth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. San Jose is one point behind.
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“I hope the next game will be a little easier because this will not happen again,” Dutch international Kelvin Leerdam jokingly told The Seattle Times after the defender made his Sounders debut off the bench Wednesday.
It wasn’t the first time the Sounders have fallen into a 3-0 hole at home this season. They rallied for a tie against New England in late April with three goals in the final 15 minutes.
“We made it difficult on ourselves,” said Sounders midfielder Cristian Roldan, who scored the winning goal Wednesday after being returned to the club following duty with the U.S. national team in the group stage of the Gold Cup.
“We had no one to blame but ourselves. We should have never conceded three goals. I know I said that the last time we did, but we can never do that again.”
The Sounders, who have won their past two games and haven’t lost in their past four, will be short-handed Sunday.
Forwards Clint Dempsey and Jordan Morris are still with the U.S. national team, captain Osvaldo Alonso is nursing a right knee sprain and playmaking midfielder Nicolas Lodeiro is suspended after receiving a red card late in the D.C. match. Goalkeeper Stefan Frei, who didn’t play Wednesday, is listed as questionable with a strained right hip flexor.
The Earthquakes, who have lost two in a row, had to travel back across the country after suffering a 5-1 loss on Wednesday to the host New York Red Bulls.
San Jose’s lone goal came from Georgian midfielder Valeri Qazaishvili, who was making his MLS debut.
“Some people are bothered that maybe it’s five goals,” Earthquakes coach Chris Leitch told reporters after the match. “We could have shored it up and maybe put an extra guy back there, and maybe it was 3-1. I could care less. I would rather try to stay on the front foot to get back in the game.”
Leitch, in his first coaching job, is 1-2-0 in MLS play since taking over for Dominic Kinnear late last month.
This will be second and final regular-season meeting between the teams this season. The Earthquakes’ Chris Wondolowski scored in second-half stoppage time in April to pull host San Jose into a 1-1 draw. Wondolowski leads the Earthquakes in goals (eight) and assists (five).
The Earthquakes will get defenders Anibal Godoy (Panama) and Darwin Ceren (El Salvador) back after their countries lost Gold Cup matches, but they will still be without Costa Rican forward Marco Urena, whose team reached the semifinals.