Coming off a dominating victory against the Vancouver Whitecaps last Sunday afternoon, Sporting Kansas City was ready to head on the road to San Jose and keep that momentum going. The task would not be easy. Coming into the match, Sporting and the San Jose Earthquakes sat at third and fifth respectively in the MLS standings. Sporting entered the match with 10 points in six games while San Jose had nine points over their six matches. San Jose had a 2-2-0 home record and were coming off of back-to-back losses at home, both which saw San Jose being shut out. Sporting entered the match with the Quakes Saturday night hoping to continue that trend.
Peter Vermes made two changes to the starting lineup from the Vancouver game as Kaveh Rad filled in for the injured Andreu Fontas and Jaylin Lindsey stepped in for the injured Graham Zusi. Rad was partnered with Ilie as the center back pair with Lindsey and Luis Martins rounding out the back line. The midfield starting line included Gianluca Busio, Roger Espinoza and Gadi Kinda with Khiry Shelton, Daniel Salloi and Alan Pulido on the front line. Tim Melia returned in goal for Sporting.
San Jose got off to a quick start earning a corner kick in the 4th minute of the match. The corner was taken well and a goal was scored by Eduardo “Chofis” Lopez with a left footed floating shot inside the back post.
Sporting Kansas City was able to stay composed after the early San Jose goal. A foul by Cristian Espinoza on Gadi Kinda leads to the first yellow card of the match to Espinoza and a free kick for Sporting. Busio whips the free kick in and it was quickly gobbled up by the San Jose keeper.
Not long after, Pulido fights to win and keep the ball and sends a great pass into Jaylin Lindsey making a run in the box. Lindsey collects the ball with a good first touch and slots the ball past the keeper and inside the far post to level the match at one goal apiece. It was the first goal for Lindsey for Sporting Kansas City.
The first half continued with near constant back and forth action throughout the full 45 minutes with several opportunities for both teams. Both keepers made several good saves on both ends of the pitch helping to keep the score even at 1-1 at the half.
The second half started off just as it ended, with Shelton quickly getting fouled outside the box less than a minute after the restart. The free kick was taken by Pulido and went over the wall and over the goal. A second chance came quickly after when a foul on a challenge to Ilie led to a yellow card to San Jose’s Andy Rios. Again, the free kick didn’t lead to a goal.
San Jose had a great chance for the lead when Chofis’ shot in the 53rd minute was saved by Melia. The rebound fell right to Cade Cowell, but Jaylin Lindsay slid in for block of the shot.
The action continued at a fast back and forth pace. In the 60th minute, Salloi passed the ball to Pulido who takes a great strike that takes a little deflection off the defender and the crossbar but falls in the net to give Sporting a 2-1 lead.
San Jose had a couple chances when Chris Wondolowski misses a close shot just wide in the 72nd minute and with a few good opportunities in the 75th that ends with a good block by Busio. That block send Sporting back down the field that resulted in a fantastic finish by Salloi to put Sporting up 3-1.
San Jose continued to fight and got several shot attempts, but were unable to score against the Sporting defense who worked hard to shut down a dangerous San Jose offense after their quick goal in the opening minutes.
Sporting were able to finish the game with a 3-1 victory and take three points on the road.
Sporting Kansas City will be back in action again next Saturday, May 29 against Houston in front of a full capacity crowd at Children’s Mercy Park.