Sounders look to move up the standings as they host the Earthquakes
Sounders FC hosts San Jose at 1 p.m. Saturday on a four-game unbeaten streak and could jump out of last place in the Western Conference with a win.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Earthquakes @ Sounders FC, 1 p.m., KONG
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TUKWILA — Believe it or not, Sounders FC could be out of last place in the Western Conference after the weekend.
Seattle started the MLS season as a punchline, particularly as the league's last team to earn a win, but the Sounders have punched back with a four-game unbeaten streak heading into Saturday's 1 p.m. home game against the San Jose Earthquakes.
"You always gain a little bit of confidence when you win games," said coach Sigi Schmid, whose team is on a 2-0-2 run. "It's been a while since we've lost a game, so that's been a good thing. We know we can compete."
The turnaround came after an especially poor road performance March 30 against Real Salt Lake, which led to a rare closed-door team meeting.
Schmid, after the defeat, publicly called for soul-searching from within the entire organization, and the issues were more of attitude than ability.
"I think a few weeks ago we realized to win games and produce our best performances, we need to work hard," said defender Djimi Traore, who scored a dramatic game-winner Wednesday against Sporting Kansas City.
Results haven't been easy to come by against the Earthquakes, however.
San Jose has won four straight league games and is on a 6-2-1 run in the series. The one-sided nature of the rivalry continued March 23 when the Sounders lost 1-0 at Buck Shaw Stadium.
Hahnemann reacts to ejection
The Sounders will use MLS pool goalkeeper Doug Herrick, a Seattle native, as a backup to Michael Gspurning against the Earthquakes.
Regular backup Marcus Hahnemann will be serving a one-game suspension after being ejected from Wednesday's game while arguing a noncall from the bench. The Sounders' other goalkeeper under contract, Josh Ford, is on the disabled list with a knee injury.
Hahnemann admitted to using the "f-word" in his complaints over a penalty kick that wasn't awarded to Seattle.
"Do I think it's justified? No, I don't," he said. "But you have to take the punishment, and that's it."
• San Jose will be without midfielder Marvin Chavez, who was suspended two games by the MLS disciplinary committee for elbowing Toronto's Logan Emory earlier this week. Earthquakes forwards Alan Gordon and Steven Lenhart are eligible to return after multigame suspensions, but Lenhart is expected to be out with a heel injury.
• Seattle's Obafemi Martins (knee), Steve Zakuani (groin) and Shalrie Joseph (hamstring) are all listed as questionable. "I think they're all to greater and lesser extents available," said Schmid, noting their roles have yet to be determined.
• Rookie forward Will Bates has been loaned to Phoenix FC of the third-tier USL PRO, a team spokesman confirmed. A formal announcement, including details on the loan, is expected Saturday.
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter @joshuamayers
|Since starting 0-3-1, the Sounders have gone on a four-game unbeaten streak.|
|April 13||0-0 tie vs. New England|
|April 20||1-0 win at Colorado|
|May 4||2-2 tie at Philadelphia|
|May 8||1-0 win at Kansas City|