Montero expected to play for Seattle
The Seattle Sounders are MLS' highest-scoring team, but were shut out in their last game with three of their top scorers sidelined.
However, Fredy Montero and Alvaro Fernandez are expected to return Saturday night when the Sounders host Golden Boot-contender Chris Wondolowski and the San Jose Earthquakes.
Seattle (16-7-9) can clinch the second seed in the Western Conference with at least a tie against San Jose, which has been eliminated from playoff contention. The Sounders had a three-game league winning streak snapped with a 2-0 loss to Philadelphia last Saturday.
After defeating Chicago to win the U.S. Open Cup four nights earlier, Seattle, which leads the league with 51 goals, came out flat against the Union. The Sounders put two shots on goal, but couldn't find the back of the net as Montero (suspension), Fernandez (concussion) and Mauro Rosales (knee) all sat out.
Those three players have accounted for 24 of Seattle's goals - 11 by Montero, who had to sit out because of yellow-card accumulation.
"I know we've been on some emotional highs the last two weeks and sometimes you come out a little bit flat, and they were a little bit flat today especially in the first half," coach Sigi Schmid said. "But it just serves as a reminder that in this league everything's so tight that if you come and aren't wholly prepared to do all the work you need to do, then you come up short."
The Sounders should get a boost from the returns of Montero and Fernandez, the latter of whom went unused as a substitute last week. Rosales, who has been out since mid-September, is questionable.
Montero was heating up before the suspension, recording back-to-back two-goal games.
Seattle will likely need as many weapons as possible to counter Wondolowski, who is in a three-way tie for the league lead with 14 goals.
Wondolowski has four in his last three contests, scoring twice in a 2-1 victory over New England last Saturday.
"Hopefully I can pull it out," Wondolowski said of the Golden Boot. "I know Dwayne (De Rosario) still has a bunch of games left, Thierry (Henry) also has. I think I'm going to have to do some work in the next two games, but it's nice to just get a win."
The win was San Jose's second in 19 games. The Earthquakes (7-11-14) have scored 15 goals during that stretch, with Wondolowski not getting much help. Only three other players have scored more than two goals this season.
"I think it's hard for the guys to keep lifting their spirits because we've played really well and we end up losing or tying," said coach Frank Yallop, whose team gave up a tying goal to Kansas City in the 86th minute the previous week.
Seattle and San Jose tied 2-2 on April 2 with the Sounders missing Montero. The Earthquakes are 1-2-0 in three visits to Seattle.
Wondolowski has two goals in five games against the Sounders.