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Sporting KC and San Jose share a hard fought point

A shorthanded SKC earns valuable point on the road

Cam Duke
Thad Bell

With a number of injuries and a pair of red card suspensions, Sporting Kansas City’s manager Peter Vermes made use of his team’s versatility. Cam Duke started at left wing while Remi Walter started on the right, and captain Johnny Russell lined up as the center forward. Ben Sweat got his second start at right back.

With San Jose dominating possession and Sporting KC sitting back throughout the first half, it was still the visitors that struck first. SKC took advantage of a good passing combination right before halftime. Roger Espinoza chipped a ball over the defense to Cam Duke. San Jose keeper JT Marcinkowski charged out and almost blocked the ball away but Duke powered through. The touch took him too close to the endline for a shot so Duke picked out Johnny Russell just outside the six-yard box. Russell placed the ball past the scrambling defenders to give SKC a 1-0 lead in the 45th minute.

San Jose came out of the half looking to equalize and it did not take long. Jamiro Monteiro dropped a ball just over Robi Voloder’s head to an open Jackson Yueill. The San Jose midfielder headed it past Tim Melia to level the score in the 46th minute.

Sporting KC had a few chances in the second half and San Jose had more, but neither side could grab the lead.

The shorthanded visitors clearly sat back with a lower line of confrontation, San Jose had the possession, 63.3%, outshot SKC 18-6 total and 5-2 on goal. Interestingly, when it came to expected goals, it was 1.3-1 in favor of Sporting KC.

The draw does not lift SKC to the empyrean domain of the playoffs, but it does lift them off the bottom and makes it six of the last seven where they got results.

“A point is massive on the road in this league,” Peter Vermes stated postgame. “So for us to have gotten it is great. Like I said, we could have possibly walked away with three but we were strong enough to keep a point and limit them in the game. We have got to keep trying to find ways. Obviously lineups are going to change right now quite significantly and the guys are doing a great job of acclimating themselves, adapting and adjusting. That’s what you have to be able to do when you’re in a little bit of a dog fight and we are and we’ve got to keep fighting for it.”

Sporting KC returns home to face the Houston Dynamo Wednesday evening in the round of 16 of the U.S. Open Cup.

Sporting Kansas City: Tim Melia; Ben Sweat, Kortne Ford, Robert Voloder, Logan Ndenbe; Uri Rosell, Felipe Hernandez, Roger Espinoza (Marinos Tzionis 64’); Remi Walter, Johnny Russell (C), Cam Duke

Subs Not Used: Kendall McIntosh, Kayden Pierre, Kaveh Rad, Jake Davis, Julian Vazquez

San Jose Earthquakes: JT Marcinkowski; Tanner Beason, Francisco Calvo, Oskar Agren, Paul Marie; Eric Remedi (Javier Lopez, 80’), Cade Cowell, Jamiro Monteiro (Javier Lopez 68’), Jackson Yueill (Jan Gregus 68’), Cristian Espinoza; Jeremy Ebobisse

Subs Not Used: Matt Bersano, Shea Salinas, Jack Skahan, Tommy Thompson, Ousseni Bouda, Benjamin Kikanovic

Scoring Summary:

SKC - Johnny Russell 4 (Cam Duke 3, Roger Espinoza 1) 45’

SJ - Jackson Yueill 3 (Jamiro Monteiro, Francisco Calvo 1) 46’

Misconduct Summary:

SKC - Roger Espinoza (yellow card; unsporting behavior) 58’

SKC - Uri Rosell (yellow card; unsporting behavior) 74’

SJ - Paul Marie (yellow card; unsporting behavior) 80’

Referee: Pierre-Luc Lauziere

Assistant Referee: Jeff Hosking

Assistant Referee: Chris Wattam

Fourth Official: JC Griggs

VAR: Edvin Jurisevic

AVAR: Rene Parra