Banged-up first-place Sounders set to face Earthquakes

ByReuters ESPN logo
Wednesday, May 31, 2023

The Seattle Sounders look to add to their lead atop the Western Conference standings despite some high-profile absences when they host the San Jose Earthquakes on Wednesday night.

Leading scorer Jordan Morris is the latest player for the Sounders (8-5-2, 26 points) to succumb to injury, suffering a groin strain after scoring the only goal in Saturday's 1-0 home win over the New York Red Bulls.

Morris' goal was his first in nine games after he exploded for eight in his first six appearances of the season. With nine total, he's still the second-leading scorer in MLS behind LAFC's Denis Bouanga. And Seattle manager Brian Schmetzer said he doesn't believe the 28-year-old will miss a lot of time, although he will be out on Wednesday.

"So that stopped some of the naysayers about him not scoring," Schmetzer said after Saturday's victory. "I thought Jordan was very, very good. (The injury is) nothing significant. It's an adductor strain, groin injury, however you guys want to phrase it. He thinks he'll be back in two weeks."

Defensive midfielder Joao Paulo will also serve a red-card suspension after he was sent off late in the win over New York. The Sounders have lost two of three games in which the Brazilian hasn't started in all competitions.

Midfielders Cristian Roldan (concussion protocol) and Kelyn Roe (knee) also missed Saturday's win, as did striker Raul Ruidiaz (hamstring) despite being upgraded to questionable on the team's availability report.

San Jose (5-5-4, 19 points) saw first-choice goalkeeper Daniel make three saves in his return to action in Saturday's 1-1 home draw against FC Dallas. Still, he had a potential home win snatched away with Nkosi Tafari's leveler deep in second-half stoppage time.

"Having a good performance across 90 minutes and then to concede is heartbreaking for Daniel," San Jose manager Luchi Gonzalez said. "He's worked hard to rehabilitate injuries that have kept him away from the competition, but I thought overall he had a pretty good night."

Quakes winger Cristian Espinoza is only one goal behind Morris on the MLS scoring charts with eight, which is already a career best. Jeremy Ebobisse has five for San Jose in its first season under Gonzalez.

--Field Level Media