Sporting KC are on the road again as they face the San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday. They will take on a red hot Chris Wondolowski who will try to extend Kansas City's streak to three losses in a row. I got with Nerdy Gales from our sister blog, Center Line Soccer, to learn a little bit more about the Quakes.
1) San Jose finished JUST on the wrong side of the red playoff line last season. Did they have the off they season needed to make the jump and get into the post season this year?
Thanks for reminding us. Yes, Kinnear has brought in some interesting new talent. The defense was shored up with Argentine Andres Imperiale, an experienced defender, and who was expected to help spell Bernardez and Goodson as needed. Just before the season kicked off Kinnear was reunited with another defender: Kofi Sarkodie from Houston. Panamanian midfielder Alberto Quintero was recommended by his compatriot Anibal Godoy and has slotted in nicely – he’s slight at only 5’ 6", and can get pushed off the ball given the loose approach of MLS referees, but he seems to be figuring out the league. Up front, Chad Barrett played well in the preseason, and then he promptly got injured – but that’s okay; we have Wondo. Finally, Simon Dawkins, a fan favorite from the 2012 Earthquakes squad that won the Supporters’ Shield, returned as a DP – he’s taken some time to get back into the form that we saw back then, but more of his incisive runs were apparent in the last game in Portland – watch this space.
2) Wondolowski is back at it again scoring goals like crazy. He is leading MLS with 6 at the moment; will he continue this pace and win the Golden Boot?
Yes and maybe. Energizer should use Wondo instead of the pink rabbit – he just keeps going and going. He’s kinda the Cal Ripken Jr. of the Earthquakes – wears number eight and hangs around the longest in the new stadium to sign autographs. At 33, one wonders how long he can keep it all going –he’s reached double digit goals in six seasons, the first MLS player to do so, and shows no sign of slowing down. This season, Quincy Amarikwa is being pesky enough to deflect attention away from Wondo, which frees him up in the box. Look for Innocent to do the same – maybe not this week; he’s being brought along gently after missing most of 2015. Whether there’s another Golden Boot in Wondo’s future remains to be seen – for me, last year’s winner Giovinco is a likely repeat winner, though I’m sure Dom Dwyer has his sights set on it too.
3) The Quakes have a pretty lengthy injury report as well. Who are some of the players that are stepping up that Sporting KC fans should keep an eye on Sunday?
Defender Kip Colvey, signed in this year’s draft was given a baptism of fire, and placed in the starting line up from the opening game. The Kiwi performed admirably, with a calm head that belies his 22 years. Now that Goodson is out, it remains to be seen if he will remain in the lineup, but the fans have really warmed to him. Cordell Cato has been the most significant loss, with a right hamstring injury. Although Shea Salinas hasn’t been in the starting line up for the past few games – especially now that Quintero is up to speed (as it were) -- when he has subbed in he’s been very effective at challenging tired defenders. And no, I don’t know what is happening with Steven Lenhart – safe to say he won’t be in this weekend’s lineup.
Center Line Soccer Predictions:
David Bingham; Marvell Wynne, Andres Imperiale, Victor Bernardez, Kofi Sarkodie; Simon Dawkins, Anibal Godoy, Matias Perez Garcia, Alberto Quintero; Chris Wondolowski, Quincy Amarikwa.
Earthquakes 1-0 Sporting KC