Seattle Sounders FC are off to a perfect start to the new Major League Soccer season and it will look to extend that run on Saturday when it hosts the San Jose Earthquakes at CenturyLink Field.
The Sounders defeated Toronto FC in its opening match and then topped the Houston Dynamo last time out with an opening goal from David Estrada and a penalty kick from Brad Evans.
Estrada continued his sensational start to the season as the youngster leads all of MLS with four goals. He built upon a hat trick in Seattle's opening match by unleashing a shot that needed a deflection to get past Houston stopper Tally Hall.
It was originally ruled an own goal on Geoff Cameron, but it was credited back to Estrada later in the match. Like any striker, he was pleased that the goal belongs under his name.
"I was a little bit bummed when I came in at halftime and heard it was an own goal, but thankfully they reviewed it and gave it to me," Estrada said. "I'll take it."
In a solid defensive display from the Sounders, Michael Gspurning kept his first clean sheet in a competitive match since joining Seattle.
"You always want to get shutouts," Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid said. "We talk about it. We talk about making sure we don't allow anything because we always feel confident that we're going to be able to score a goal. But it's not like, 'shutout-or-bust'. It's not that kind of an attitude."
There is a bit of an injury bug plaguing the Sounders at the moment. With Mauro Rosales suffering a knee injury in Seattle's opening match, it was unfortunate to see Evans subbed off in the win over Houston.
"He felt his hamstring a little bit, so he wanted to get off the field before he would make it worse," Schmid said. "I thought early in the game he made a lot of big runs for us getting into the box and was dangerous for us in that way and that might have been a little too much."
San Jose is coming off of an impressive 3-0 defeat of Toronto FC in its first road match of the season. Chris Wondolowski continued to roll as he bagged a brace to bring his season total to three goals in three games.
"He scored two last week and he can just sniff out the chances and is very clean with his finishes on any surface," head coach Frank Yallop said of his star striker. "Whether it be heading it, driving it, tucking it, whatever he needs to do, he scores."
Sam Cronin proved to be an integral part of San Jose's win over Toronto, providing assists on both of Wondolowski's goals. It was the first multi- assist game of his career, and according to Wondolowski, it is a major asset to the 'Quakes.
"I think that's a huge, underrated part of Sam's game," Wondolowski said. "He does a great job of covering so much ground and tackling, it kind of goes unnoticed how good his passing is. He put it on a platter for me on the first goal, and he's got great vision to see Rafa [Vaca] going through and have that chipped ball."
Last season, the Earthquakes would've had little reason for optimism heading into CenturyLink Field, one of the toughest places to play in MLS. But with six points from its opening three games, and only one goal conceded, Yallop's men may just have what it takes to pull off a shock result on Saturday.