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.
A beaut!— Sporting Kansas City (@SportingKC) May 23, 2022
Rog over the top to Cam. Cam cutting it back to Johnny. And the captain doesn't miss from there!
Johnny Russell with his 4th of the year gives us the lead at the half! pic.twitter.com/jJZVwTuvRI
This one was pure poetry.#SJvSKC pic.twitter.com/Z4Gv9rGHaX— Sporting Kansas City (@SportingKC) May 23, 2022
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.
The service from Miro.— San Jose Earthquakes (@SJEarthquakes) May 23, 2022
The header from Jackson.
We're level in San Jose! pic.twitter.com/uyydU2jP1P
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
SKC - Johnny Russell 4 (Cam Duke 3, Roger Espinoza 1) 45’
SJ - Jackson Yueill 3 (Jamiro Monteiro, Francisco Calvo 1) 46’
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