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Quakes, Wondolowski looking for a repeat in Seattle


The Earthquakes have fond memories of their first trip to Seattle this season.
They attacked with speed, noted Sounders killer Chris Wondolowski scored twice, and they prevailed despite playing the final 33 minutes with 10 men.
Now, the Quakes will look to make it 2 for 2 at CenturyLink Field on Saturday against an opponent reeling from a disastrous U.S. Open Cup match in which superstar Clint Dempsey drew a red card for tearing up the referee's notebook and forward Obafemi Martins suffered a groin strain.
Dempsey, who has seven goals and six assists, was handed a three-game suspension from MLS on Friday for his antics.
No matter who stands in front of them, though, the Quakes (5-5-4, 19 points) could use a victory against the Western Conference-leading Sounders (9-4-2, 29 points).
"It's an important game for us," center back Clarence Goodson said. "It's a difficult place to play. They're a good team, but the last time we were able to get a result. A lot of the games we play against Seattle are pretty close. I would expect the same again."
The Quakes' 3-2 win over Seattle in March preceded a 2-1 triumph over the Chicago Fire. The mini-streak put San Jose back on the map in the conference.
Sounders fans undoubtedly see Wondolowski's face in their nightmares. The U.S. international has nine goals in 14 matches against Seattle."Wondolowski is very good and they are solid in the back," said Seattle defender Brad Evans, who was victimized by Wondolowski on both of his goals in the previous meeting. "We have to be careful. They are a dangerous team. We will probably have some lineup changes ourselves due to injuries."
Quakes rookie midfielder Fatai Alashe burst onto the scene in the victory over the Sounders -- the first MLS start for the No. 4 overall draft pick.
About 30 seconds into the match, Dempsey scored after outfoxing Alashe, but the Michigan State product regrouped and won his share of battles over the next 89 minutes.
"It was cool," Alashe, 21, said of the experience. "It was my second game, first start, so obviously I was excited for it and looking forward to testing myself. I only got 10 minutes in my first game, so I was kind of new to it still."
Alashe has a knack for seizing opportunities.
He scored the first goal in Avaya Stadium history on a header against Chicago. Next, he scored in his international debut with the U.S. under-23 team on a header off a corner kick in a 5-2 win over Bosnia and Herzegovina. His star is on the rise nationally.
Earthquakes veterans have appreciated Alashe's talent and calm under fire.
"He's done well, especially for a young guy," Goodson said. "He's come in and had a pretty good head on his shoulders, and he's handled the pressure of different games quite well. He doesn't seem to be too rattled."
Alashe said he "tends to be a pretty relaxed guy. In the locker room before games, I don't try to overthink it too much. Just go out there and play my game. If I work hard and try to help my teammates out as much as possible, I know things will go well."
Moreover, Alashe and his teammates draw energy from coach Dominic Kinnear, something that comes in handy in hostile environments.
"That helps you out, definitely," Alashe said. "You kind of try to inject that into your game a little bit. The team spirit is lifted a little bit right before games like this."
San Jose, which hasn't won in MLS since May 16, should be energized after rallying to beat the Sacramento Republic FC in the U.S. Open Cup 6-5 in penalty kicks after a 2-2 draw. Kinnear was able to squeeze out the win while resting most of his regular starters.
saturday's game
Earthquakes (5-5-4) at Seattle (9-4-2), 1 p.m. CSNBA
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About Naresh Sahu

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