Major League Soccer

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Brian Schmetzer has told his Seattle Sounders players to "hit the rest button" in order to prevent a minor blip from potentially derailing their campaign.

The Sounders went an MLS-record 13 games without defeat to begin the 2021 campaign, winning eight of those, but they have since lost two of their last three matches. Sporting Kansas City ran out 3-1 winners at Lumen Field last weekend to close the gap on Western Conference leaders Seattle to two points with a game in hand.

Seattle has also slipped to second in the race for the Supporters' Shield, and Schmetzer is eager to get back on track against San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday.

"I asked them in the locker room after the Sporting game to do a little bit of reflection on their performance as individuals and as a group," the long-serving coach said. "You can have a blip on the radar. You can say this is a one-off and walk away. Or you can say 'we didn't like this. I wasn't playing at the level I want to play at'.

"You can do a deeper reflection – that's the reset button I want them to hit. It doesn't have to be anything dramatic, but it's holding themselves and their teammates accountable."

The Quakes are winless in 11 matches, drawing the last four of those to fall to 11th in the Western Conference standings.

Despite going nearly three months without a win, San Jose chief operating officer Jared Shawlee has given his full backing to head coach Matias Almeyda.

"We believe Matias is one of the top coaches in the league, he has the support of the club," Shawlee said. "In partnership with (sporting executive) Chris Albright, they can bring us back into contention for the playoffs this season."

Seattle Sounders - Alex Roldan

Cristian Roldan remains away on Gold Cup duty with the United States, but brother Alex is back after a successful campaign with El Salvador in the CONCACAF tournament.

The reverse fixture between the sides in May was memorable for Roldan finishing in goal after Stefan Frei left the field injured. He will be hoping for a less dramatic return to action here.

San Jose Earthquakes - Cade Cowell

Cowell has gone back-to-back games without a goal, though he did assist one in the recent draw with Colorado Rapids and still leads the team scoring charts with four. No Quakes player has more assists than the 17-year-old homegrown talent's four this season, meanwhile, with the youngster proving that age is just a number.

- Seattle is unbeaten in 14 straight matches against San Jose (W8 D6) dating back to September 2015, the longest active unbeaten run by one team over another in MLS. The 14-match run equals the Sounders' longest against any opponent in the club's MLS history (14 straight v Chivas USA from 2009 to 2014).

- Seattle's 17-match home unbeaten run, including playoffs, came to an end with a 3-1 loss to Sporting Kansas City on Sunday. The Sounders have lost consecutive home matches only once since the start of the 2019 season, losing to Portland Timbers and Kansas City in July-August 2019.

- San Jose is winless in 11 straight matches (D5 L6), though its last four matches have ended in draws. There have been only six streaks of five or more consecutive draws in MLS history, last achieved by the Chicago Fire in March-April 2014 (six straight).

- Raul Ruidiaz has scored five goals in three home matches against the Quakes in MLS, netting at least once in all three matches. Ruidiaz could become the first Sounders player to score in four straight home matches against a single opponent.

- Chris Wondolowski has scored 12 goals against Seattle in his career, tied with Robbie Keane for the most MLS goals ever scored against the Sounders. Eight of Wondolowski's 12 goals against the Sounders have come in Seattle. No other visiting player has scored more than four goals at Lumen Field in MLS play.

Updated July 30, 2021

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