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Originally published August 10, 2012 at 8:54 PM | Page modified August 10, 2012 at 11:51 PM

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Sounders FC trying to bounce back against Earthquakes

After an emotional loss to Sporting Kansas City in the U.S. Open Cup final, Seattle plays Saturday night at San Jose, the MLS Western Conference leader.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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Even Friday afternoon was too early for Sounders FC players to talk about their emotional loss in the U.S. Open Cup final.

Seattle lost in overtime to Sporting Kansas City Wednesday night. There was a dispute after the match about officiating. But the Sounders have to move on. Seattle faces an important MLS game at 7:30 p.m. Saturday against the San Jose Earthquakes in Santa Clara, Calif.

"We haven't really talked about it yet," Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said of Wednesday's loss. "I think it's important at a time like this ... to give people a little bit of space so everybody can get it out of their system in their own way. We know there's a lot more games. There's a league championship still ahead of us. We can still focus on that right now. And we've got to get ready for this game Saturday. It's a big game."

The Earthquakes (13-5-5, 44 points) lead the Western Conference. The Sounders (10-5-7, 37 points) are third.

"We knew that these stretch of games were going to be demanding and difficult, but they're also games that we're going to (have to) win," Schimid said. "(And) we've won most of them. Unfortunately, we tied in the Open Cup and lost on PKs, but we want to win here in San Jose."

Seattle is riding a six-game MLS unbeaten streak (3-0-3) after a 4-0 rout of the L.A. Galaxy at CenturyLink Field last Sunday.

The Sounders lost 1-0 to the Earthquakes in Seattle in March, but defeated them 1-0 in an Open Cup game in San Francisco in June.

The teams are similar in style and have potent front lines. San Jose forward Chris Wondolowski has been the league's leading scorer the past three seasons. He has a league-high 17 goals this year.

San Jose is well rested. The Earthquakes are playing their second game in the past 15 days. The team will be without forward Alan Gordon and head coach Frank Yallop due to suspension, however.

Meanwhile, the Sounders are playing their fifth game in 15 days, including the emotional matches against the Galaxy and Kansas City. Seattle will get a seven-day break after Saturday's game.

"It makes a big difference," Schmid said of the disparity in the teams' schedules. "The team that we're going to put out there ... I can't tell you right now what our lineup is. There will be some fresh faces that didn't play on Wednesday night, for sure.

"Are we going to be the sharpest that we could be or the best that we could be? Probably not, because we're going in under different circumstances. But we're going to be competitive and we're coming in to get a (win)."

Jayda Evans: 206-464-2067 or jevans@seattletimes.com

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