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Best in the West, Sounders set to face Earthquakes

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The Seattle Sounders look to win back-to-back games for the first time in six weeks when they visit the San Jose Earthquakes on Wednesday in a key Western Conference meeting.

In a battle for first place, the Sounders (14-5-6, 48 points) jumped to the top of the West standings with a 2-1 victory at Sporting Kansas City on Sunday. Seattle had goals from Cristian Roldan and Will Bruin to produce the first Sounders win in Kansas City since 2013.

“It was a huge win,” Roldan said. “Obviously with the circumstances, with Sporting KC being at the top with us, we felt like it was a must-win, a six-point game, if we wanted to win the Western Conference.

“The guys embraced the challenge, embraced that it was going to be a difficult game. Guys bought in, willing to sacrifice a little bit of their game for the better of the team.”

The Sounders have won three of their past five games, have nine games remaining and have a game in hand against second-place Sporting KC.

San Jose’s latest outing was an impressive 2-0 win at home over Los Angeles FC on Saturday. The Earthquakes’ goals were from Benji Kikanovic and Javier “Chofis” Lopez, who has six goals in September to lead the Earthquakes.

San Jose has won two straight games and is 5-2-4 since July 31. The Earthquakes (8-9-9, 33 points) are in 10th place in the West and just three points under the playoff line.

Earthquakes midfielder Jackson Yueill does not want the club to wait in order to make a playoff push.

“There are still a lot of games left, and it’s still really close,” Yueill said. “We’ve narrowed down to the last third of the season. The team is in a really good spot. Collectively, as a group, how we’re interacting, the motivation and dialogue in the locker room is really positive and great.”

The teams have split their previous two meeting this season, with Seattle winning 1-0 on May 12 in the Bay Area and the Earthquakes winning 1-0 in Seattle on July 31, a result that snapped San Jose’s 14-game winless streak against the Sounders.

–Field Level Media

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