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Sporting Kansas City vs. San Jose Earthquakes | 2017 MLS Match Preview

Sporting Kansas City vs. San Jose Earthquakes
2017 MLS Regular Season
Children's Mercy Park - Kansas City, Kan.
Saturday, March 18 -  8:30 pm ET
WATCH: MLS Live, FOX Sports KC

Dom Kinnear's old team might be getting all the love right now, with the Houston Dynamo off to a 2-0-0 start and scoring goals in bunches, but his current side is also enjoying early-season success after years of frustration. The San Jose Earthquakes have also taken six points from their first two games -- and showed off some of that old Goonies magic their last time out, to boot.

Sporting Kansas City, meanwhile, have seen nothing but clean sheets so far this year -- on both sides of the scoreboard. Sporting haven't conceded a regular-season goal since Oct. 1 -- a shutout string of four matches going into Saturday's meeting at Children's Mercy Park -- but they also haven't scored in their last three outings across all competitions, after last season ended with a controversial 1-0 defeat to Seattle in the Western Conference Knockout Round.

The last team to concede against Sporting? The 'Quakes, with Kansas City taking the 2016 regular-season finale, 2-0.


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Sporting Kansas City

If you like high-possession, high-pressing soccer, Sporting KC are your guys. They can string together passes in and out of traffic, harass opponents in the attacking and middle thirds -- everything but score so far, really.

To be fair, some of that has to do with how the opposition tends to play them: withstand the pressure, hold shape and look for the counter. Kansas City have failed to finish some really good looks, though, including last weekend when they drew FC Dallas 0-0 despite visiting manager Oscar Pareja's decision to rest key starters -- including center back Walker Zimmerman -- ahead of a CONCACAF Champions League semifinals game.

Sporting, understandably -- and rightfully, given their tendency last year to bleed cheap goals -- are emphasizing their defensive stinginess and Tim Melia's 0.00 GAA. The fans are starting to get restless, though, and a second straight goal-less home outing would not sit well with the Cauldron.

Projected Starting Lineup (4-3-3): Tim Melia – Seth Sinovic, Matt Besler, Ike Opara, Graham Zusi – Roger Espinoza, Ilie, Benny Feilhaber – Gerso, Dom Dwyer, Jimmy Medranda.

Note: Following their 0-0 draw with FC Dallas last weekend, Kansas City are now unbeaten in their last 10 regular season games at homes, with six clean sheets (7W-3D).

San Jose Earthquakes

Okay, so the match-winner came in the 79th minute and not second-half stoppage time, and the Earthquakes did get a boost when Vancouver goalkeeper David Ousted drew a straight red card in the 23rd minute. Still, trailing 2-0 after just 17 minutes and then coming back for a 3-2 victory on Saturday did bring back memories of the days when you couldn't count San Jose out until the final whistle.

Anibal Godoy has been a victory-delivery machine in the early going, scoring both of he Earthquakes' decisive goals this year, and his strike from distance to complete the comeback on Sunday was a thing of beauty. Throw in homegrown defender Nick Lima opening his account in just his second MLS match, and the Earthquakes -- who scored a league-low 32 goals in 2016 -- look like offensive threats out of the gate.

The downside? They gave up two quick goals their last time out -- and if Sporting can bag one on Saturday, that might be all the home side needs.

Projected starting XI (4-4-2): David Bingham (GK) — Nick Lima, Florian Jungwirth, Victor Bernardez, Shaun Francis — Tommy Thompson, Anibal Godoy, Fatai Alashe, Simon Dawkins – Marco Urena, Chris Wondolowski

Note: San Jose have only won once in their last 19 regular season away games, dating back to September 2015 (11L-7D). The Earthquakes have failed to score in six of their last 13 road games.

All-Time Series

The Earthquakes hold a narrow edge in the series, with 24 victories to Sporting KC's 23, and there have been seven draws.

  • Overall: SJ lead 24-23-7
  • At Kansas City: SKC lead 18-8-1

Referees

  • Referee: Jair Marrufo
  • Assistant Referee (Near Side): Eduardo Mariscal
  • Assistant Referee (Far Side): Jeffrey Greeson
  • Fourth official: Chris Penso
Read More

Current Form

Sporting KC
San Jose

Season Stats

Sporting Kansas CitySan Jose Earthquakes
2Games Played2
0Wins2
0Losses0
2Draws0
0Goals4
0Goals Conceded2
19Shots29
7Shots on Target11
29Fouls committed23
31Fouls suffered31
3Offside5
9Corners18

Goals Scored

01234+TotalAvg
SKC2000000
SJ0101042
01234+Avg
SKC100000
SJ010102
01234+Avg
SKC100000
SJ000000

Goals Conceded

01234+TotalAvg
SKC2000000
SJ1010021
01234+Avg
SKC100000
SJ101001
01234+Avg
SKC100000
SJ000000
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