Brian Schmetzer has told his Seattle Sounders players that it is too early to get carried away as they prepare to face San Jose Earthquakes in a top-of-the-table clash.
The Sounders have won three and drawn one of their opening four games to sit top of the Supporters' Shield standings, one point better off than Western Conference rivals San Jose.
Schmetzer's charges have scored 10 goals and conceded only twice, and the long-serving coach - a two-time MLS Cup winner with Seattle - is delighted with what he has seen so far.
"This year we have given up two goals, both from set-pieces - none from open play," he said. "I'm immensely proud of a lot of the things we have accomplished, but it's early.
"We are going to try to continue getting better. This team does not quit, they keep fighting and that is what I most appreciate.
"We're not going to go through the season undefeated. But I want them to continue playing the way we want to play. If we do that and fail, then that's okay."
San Jose have recovered from an opening-game defeat to Houston Dynamo with three successive wins against FC Dallas, DC United and Real Salt Lake.
The Quakes had two late Chris Wondolowski goals to thank for their 2-1 comeback win against RSL in Utah and now face a quick turnaround in games.
On the back of finishing 16th in the overall standings in 2020, coach Matias Almeyda is grateful for the efforts his players have put in early on this season.
"It's important that all the players rest and recover. We know that every opponent we face will be difficult. We'll try to be competitive with Seattle," he said.
"Salt Lake were also a difficult opponent, who won their first two games. It was a pretty even game until they scored a great goal. In the second half we kept order and took risks.
"I thank the players that I coach every day for their willingness, devotion and desire, and their conviction. Above all, I am grateful for the humility that they have."
San Jose Earthquakes - Chris Wondolowski
The Quakes were trailing 1-0 against Salt Lake with seven minutes of normal time to play, but Wondolowski - a 72nd-minute substitute - turned the game on its head with two goals.
The veteran striker, who was returning from suspension in that game, will surely be recalled to the starting line-up here as he looks to further add to his record MLS goals haul.
Seattle Sounders - Raul Ruidiaz
Ruidiaz opened the scoring for the Sounders in their win against Portland Timbers to make it five goals in four MLS appearances this season.
Going further back, the Peru international has scored 17 goals since returning from MLS is Back last August, which is six more than any other player in the division over that period.
- Seattle are unbeaten in 13 straight matches against San Jose (W7 D6) dating back to September 2015 - the longest active unbeaten run by any team against another in MLS.
- Wondolowski came off the bench to score in the 83rd and 87th minute to give San Jose a 2-1 win over Real Salt Lake on Friday. A team has won while trailing in the 80th minute or later six times in MLS since the start of last season. San Jose are now responsible for three of those comebacks.
- It was the third time the striker has scored multiple goals as a sub in his MLS career, also doing so in 2010 against Chivas USA and in 2012 against Portland Timbers.
- Seattle have outscored opponents 10-2 through the first four matches of the season. That plus-eight is tied for the largest positive goal differential at this stage of a season in MLS history, along with DC United in 2019, Atlanta United in 2017 and Chicago Fire in 1999.
Updated May 11, 2021