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Sporting Kansas City vs. San Jose Earthquakes | MLS Match Preview

SPORTING KANSAS CITY vs SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
SPORTING PARK, Kansas City, Kan.
March 22, 2014 (WEEK 3, MLS Game #23)
7:30 p.m. CT (KMCI-38; CSN-CA+)

A pair of clubs looking for their first victories of the season meet at Sporting Park when Sporting Kansas City and the San Jose Earthquakes clash on Saturday evening. Sporting are winless in two games to start defense of their title, coming off a late 1-1 home draw with FC Dallas, while the Quakes hit the road after a last-gasp 3-3 draw with Real Salt Lake to start their league season. Both teams come off midweek elimination in the CONCACAF Champions League in clashes against Mexican foes.

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REFEREE: Ricardo Salazar. SAR (bench): Peter Manikowski; JAR (opposite): Chris Strickland; 4th: Sorin Stoica
MLS Career: 181 games; FC/gm: 26.7; Y/gm: 3.4; R: 51; pens: 62

SUSPENDED: none
DISABLED LIST: none
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (48 meetings): Sporting 20 wins (4 shootout), 58 goals…Earthquakes 21 wins (3 shootout), 58 goals…Ties 7
AT KANSAS CITY (24 meetings): Sporting 16 wins (2 shootout), 39 goals … Earthquakes 7 wins (2 shootout), 23 goals … Ties 1

LAST YEAR (MLS):
8/18: SJ 1, KC 0 (Wondolowski 55)

  • This is the only league meeting between the teams this season.
  • The last time a road team won in the series came all the way back in 2004, when San Jose won at Arrowhead Stadium. Last year, the Quakes won 1-0 on Aug. 18 at Buck Shaw Stadium.
  • Kansas City has not won in San Jose since Aug. 16, 2000. The Quakes have won nine of the 14 meetings since in northern California, with five draws. Sporting have a seven-game home winning streak alive vs. the Quakes.
  • Coaches record: Peter Vermes vs. SJ: P7 W3 L3 D1 … Mark Watson vs. KC: P1 W1 L0 D0

SPORTING KANSAS CITY
Sporting Kansas City weren’t able to record their first win in 2014 in their home opener, FC Dallas hitting for a late goal to leave the teams in a 1-1 draw Saturday evening at Sporting Park. Sporting sit in a tie for fifth place in the Eastern Conference with 1 point from 2 games.

LAST MATCH

  • Sporting took the lead in the 81st minute. After a Chris Seitz save on a Jacob Peterson led to a corner kick, center back Aurelien Collin headed home Benny Feilhaber's offering for the opener.
  • But in the 90th minute, from Michel's free kick six yards outside Sporting's penalty area, Matt Hedges snapped a header of his own past SKC 'keeper Eric Kronberg to force the draw.
  • Sporting manager Peter Vermes made five changes to the team that suffered a 1-0 loss to Seattle Sounders FC at CenturyLink Field. Mechack Jerome and Seth Sinovic came into the back four for Kevin Ellis and Josh Gardner, Oriol Rosell and Jimmy Medranda started in midfield for Lawrence Olum and Graham Zusi, and Sal Zizzo came into the front line for Jacob Peterson.
  • SPORTING KANSAS CITY (4-1-2-3: Eric Kronberg - Mechack Jerome, Aurelien Collin, Matt Besler, Seth Sinovic - Oriol Rosell - Jimmy Medranda (Alex Martinez 75), Benny Feilhaber - Sal Zizzo, Dom Dwyer (Claudio Bieler 77), C.J. Sapong (Jacob Peterson 46).

TEAM NEWS

  • For a second consecutive match, a goal in the 90th minute or later cost Sporting points, after they conceded a stoppage-time winner in the season-opening loss to Seattle.
  • “It's unacceptable and it's not who we are. I'm not happy and the guys know it,” said SKC manager Peter Vermes. “It's not who we are. We have been very good the first five minutes of every game, the last five minutes of each half, the first five minutes of the second half ... we've been very good. So it's not something that is going to continue, I can tell you that.”
  • Said defender Matt Besler: “We are frustrated that we have given up the late goal. Anytime plays happen like that you can look at it, dissect it and there are a number of reasons why they happen.  But for us as a team, we have to be able to lock a game down.”
  • Jimmy Medranda was given his first career MLS start; he had played 15 minutes as a substitute in his lone appearance in 2013. Alex Martinez came on for Medranda with a quarter-hour to play for his professional debut.
  • “For Jimmy's first start in an MLS game, I thought he had a decent game. I thought there were times when he got caught up, but I think that will come with a little more time. With young players it is always that way,” Vermes said. “I thought when Alex entered the field, the first couple minutes you could tell he was nervous, but then he calmed down he started to play. I think both of them have a good future with us and with MLS.”
  • The Sporting goal from Aurelien Collin ended a 170-minute scoreless streak to open the season.
  • “I actually thought we were patient because we had to be. When a team drops off on you, it's very difficult. They got numbers behind the ball and we are not a team that is going to whack it up the field, we don't play that way,” said Vermes. “So it's not the easiest of situations. We did break them a few times and get on the counter. When we did, I thought we went to goal very well.”
  • On Wednesday, Sporting were dumped out of the CONCACAF Champions League, falling 5-1 to CSDC Cruz Azul of Mexico, losing their quarterfinal series 5-2 on aggregate. Benny Feilhaber scored the SKC goal.
  • Here’s the Sporting team: Eric Kronberg; Kevin Ellis, Ike Opara, Matt Besler©, Josh Gardner (Mechack Jerome 43); Oriol Rosell, Paulo Nagamura (C.J. Sapong 72), Benny Feilhaber; Jacob Peterson, Claudio Bieler (Dom Dwyer 67), Graham Zusi
  • “We obviously gave up two goals very early which we didn't want to do. Benny does a great job to get us back in the game and we are tied but in the second half I thought they were the better team. We gave four goals from the outside wing channels and that was the difference in the game,” said Vermes.

SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
The San Jose Earthquakes opened their 2014 MLS season with yet more late dramatics, coming back with two goals for a 3-3 draw against Real Salt Lake on Saturday evening at Buck Shaw Stadium. The Quakes are in a tie for seventh place in the Western Conference with 1 point from 1 game.

LAST MATCH

  • The Earthquakes took the lead in the sixth minute when Chris Wondolowski scored from point-blank range, using his right thigh to redirect Victor Bernardez’s flick header off a long free kick by Shea Salinas.
  • But Real Salt Lake equalized just five minutes later. Joao Plata laid off a ball into space for Kyle Beckerman to strike with his left foot from 27 yards, putting the ball in off the inside of the right post.
  • RSL made it 2-0 in the 32nd minute. Plata beat two defenders from the left wing, traded give-and-go passes with Luis Gil and deked a Quakes defender before pulling a 12-yard strike just inside the near post.
  • Luke Mulholland put RSL up 3-1 in first-half stoppage time, racing past a scrambled San Jose defense to pick up the rebound of Ned Grabavoy’s shot and slot home from 8 yards.
  • San Jose was given life in the 75th minute when Bernardez connected with a Salinas corner on a near-post run and skimmed his header inside the open back post.
  • Then there yet again late magic from the Quakes. From a last-ditch cross from Shaun Francis, RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando tried to punch clear, but the ball barely made it out of the visitors’ goal area, where Bernardez hammered it home with almost the final kick of the game some 5 minutes into stoppage time.
  • Quakes boss Mark Watson included newcomers Shaun Francis at fullback and Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi in the midfield in his first team of the season.
  • SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (4-4-2): Jon Busch - Cordell Cato, Jason Hernandez (Khari Stephenson 67), Victor Bernardez, Shaun Francis - Atiba Harris (Alan Gordon 63), Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi (JJ Koval 63), Sam Cronin, Shea Salinas - Chris Wondolowski, Steven Lenhart.

TEAM NEWS

  • It was yet more late magic from the Earthquakes. They set a record with nine goals in stoppage time in 2012; since the start of that season, they’ve scored 17 goals in the 90th minute or later, 15 of those securing points as either late equalizers or game-winners.
  • “That’s kind of standard stuff around here, isn’t it?,” said Watson. “Once again, we had a great start. It was disappointing to see the game seemingly slip away from us. We got a bit sloppy and dug ourselves a big hole, but once again, our guys found a way to push to the end and get a point out of the game.”
  • It was the first two-goal game for Victor Bernardez in his MLS career, who was making his 50th league appearance in the RSL game.
  • “He’s someone that’s very good in the attacking phase of the game, whether it’s free kicks from distance or whether it’s attacking corners,” Watson said. “He’s a big, powerful guy and gets his head on the ball. He was instrumental in getting us back in the game and ultimately getting points out of the game.”
  • Said Bernardez: “We struggled mightily in the first half surrendering those three goals, but I can’t blame those on our injuries. Instead, we tightened up as a team and you saw a stingy defensive effort in the back line. I can’t say enough about the men who stepped up on defense.”
  • For the MLS season opener, Watson was forced to run out a makeshift back four, with nominal winger Cordell Cato in at right back, and Jason Hernandez partnering Bernardez centrally with Shaun Francis on the left. Left back Jordan Stewart, center back Clarence Goodson and right back options Brandon Barklage and Andreas Görlitz were all out due to injury.
  • “We played with a makeshift backline for most of the game. When Jason [Hernandez] went out, we played with only three in the back; Khari [Stephenson] and I were sitting in the midfield with one in the back and the other in front,” said midfielder Sam Cronin. “They continued to sit off of the ball to preserve their lead, which gave us more time on the ball to shift it wide or play it in the box.”
  • On Wednesday, the Quakes were eliminated from the CONCACAF Champions League in heartbreaking fashion, losing their quarterfinal series to CD Toluca of Mexico on penalty kicks. After the teams played to a second 1-1 draw at Estadio Nemesio Diaz, the game went into the post-match shootout, which Toluca won 5-4 after an extra round of kicks.
  • Here’s the Quakes team: Jon Busch, Cordell Cato, JJ Koval, Ty Harden, Shaun Francis, Atiba Harris (Chris Wondolowski 67), Sam Cronin, Khari Stephenson (Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi 102), Shea Salinas, Billy Schuler, Steven Lenhart (Alan Gordon 89).
  • “We are disappointed to lose. Anytime you get to penalties, it’s anyone’s game at that point. We played very well with a lineup that had not played together at all,” Watson said. “ We stayed disciplined and I am very proud of our performance tonight. The whole team had a great mentality and stayed focused for 120 minutes.”
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Current Form

Sporting KC
San Jose

Season Goal Leaders

Sporting Kansas CitySan Jose Earthquakes
Aurélien Collin1Victor Bernardez2
Chris Wondolowski1

Season Stats

Sporting Kansas CitySan Jose Earthquakes
2Games Played1
0Wins0
1Losses0
1Draws1
1Goals3
2Goals Conceded3
23Shots21
11Shots on Target10
40Fouls Lost8
33Fouls Won11
1Offside2
19Corners6

Goals Scored

01234+TotalAvg
SKC1100010.5
SJ0001033.0
01234+Avg
SKC010001.0
SJ000103.0
01234+Avg
SKC100000.0
SJ00000N/A

Goals Conceded

01234+TotalAvg
SKC0200021.0
SJ0001033.0
01234+Avg
SKC010001.0
SJ000103.0
01234+Avg
SKC010001.0
SJ00000N/A
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