It was a game defined by a call, or rather a non-call. On one end, a missed penalty call cost Sporting KC a chance to score, while on the other end, a similar play resulted in a penalty for San Jose. In the 1-0 final result this turned out to be, this series of calls was a very large part of the final scoreline.
Looking back at the first half, however, Sporting Kansas City had opportunities to nullify the call. Coming into the match, Sporting Kansas City had lost their past two matches and three of their last four, a struggle that was a contrast to their first three matches of the year, which they all won.
In the first half, Sporting Kansas City looked like a team reborn. They were putting constant pressure on San Jose's goal and came very close to scoring in the first ten minutes. The away side was not shy about taking shots from outside the box and they tested San Jose keeper David Bingham several times in the opening minutes. The longer the match went on, however, the early optimism from the pressure soon turned to frustration as Sporting KC were unable to put the ball in the net.
The best chance came when Sporting attacked inside the box. Benny Feilhaber sent in a beautiful aerial ball from the top of the box that found the head of Dom Dwyer, who muscled it toward goal but Bingham was there to save. These types of play kept the match scoreless going into halftime.
In the 55th minute is where the controversy of the match was born. Dom Dwyer made his way into the box after gaining the ball on an aerial pass and was headed toward goal when Anibal Godoy tripped him up, missing the ball entirely. Godoy, who was already on a yellow card from the first minute, could have theoretically been sent off and Dwyer could have been awarded a penalty, but referee Jair Murrufo did not make a call and play continued.
In the 58th minute, the punch in the gut became twice as painful when the Earthquakes were awarded a penalty. Simon Dawkins went into the box and was open to receive a pass from Chris Wondolowski. Sporting KC keeper Tim Melia charged on to try and nab the ball from Dawkins but ended up clipping him and sending him to the ground. This resulted in a penalty, which Wondolowski buried to give the Earthquakes the lead.
All goodwill that Sporting KC had built was erased and they were then playing with a sense of frustration. This was amplified with every passing minute that they were unable to find a chance to score and it lasted until the end of the match.
Peter Vermes did try and bring on some offense, but it happened late in the game. He did not make his first sub until the 75th minute when he brought on Ike Opara -- who is a threat in the air -- for Matt Besler. It took until the 86th minute for him to bring on forward Diego Rubio for Amadou Dia. He did not use a third sub, which was questionable considering Sporting KC have a match on Wednesday. The subs proved fruitless and the Earthquakes pulled out the 1-0 victory.
It was the third straight loss for Sporting KC and their fourth loss in their last five matches. The turnaround is short as they head north to face Vancouver Whitecaps on Wednesday night at 9:30 p.m.