Sporting Kansas City is back at Children's Mercy Park for a matchup with fellow MLS charter club, San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday. The match will kick off at 7:30 p.m. CT, tickets are on sale at SeatGeek.com and coverage will begin on 38 The Spot 30-minutes prior to kick with the Sporting KC pregame show.
These two sides met once, earlier in the year, fighting each other to a 1-1 draw at PayPal Park on May 22. Johnny Russell struck a minute before halftime before San Jose answered a minute after halftime. Saturday marks the end of the 2022 Sporting San Jose series.
Below are five things to know about Sporting Kansas City's match with the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday, Aug. 27 at Children's Mercy Park.
In the most recent edition of "Five Things" presented by Children's Mercy Sports Medicine Center, the offense was the first thing discussed. This edition is no different after Sporting KC's attacking performance vs. the Portland Timbers on Sunday. Again Willy Agada showed his natural goal-scoring ability, finding the back of the net twice. Erik Thommy flexed his net-finding prowess with a one-time, perfectly-placed ball past the keeper and Andreu Fontas emerged from the backline to score goals. Fontas now has scored in consecutive matches for the first time in his career.
On a macro, league-wide level, Sporting Sporting leads MLS in goals per match (3.67), shots on goal per match (8.3) and fewest minutes per goal (24.5) during the month of August. They became the first team in MLS history to score three first-half goals in three consecutive regular season matches, doing so against the LA Galaxy (4-2 win on Aug. 6), Austin FC (4-3 loss on Aug. 13) and Portland Timbers (4-1 win on Aug. 21). At the club level, Agada became the second player in Sporting history to score five goals in the span of three regular season appearances and the third Kansas City player to bag five goals in his first five MLS appearances for the club (Miklos Molnar in 2000, Felipe Gutierrez in 2018).
1000 Competitive Matches!
Saturday marks the 1000th Sporting Kansas City competitive match in the club's 27 years of existence. Dating back to the inaugural days of Major League Soccer in 1996, Sporting will hit the millennium mark in matches played on Saturday. Included in those 1000 are the club's two MLS Cup Title wins, four Open Cup trophy lifts and one Supporters' Shield celebration. Sporting boasts an impressive 411-375-213 record in all competitions and an even better 270-131-99 record at home.
Home field advantage
While Sporting has enjoyed a successful 27 seasons at home, the same can be said about San Jose in this series. In fact, since Aug. 2004, the home team is 23-4-7 across all competitions in this fixture. Sporting has suffered just one home defeat to the Earthquakes in that span way back in Aug. of 2015. Sporting's record since 2004 in home meetings is 13-1-3. Two of those draws account for shootout wins in the 2017 Open Cup semifinals and 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs. The matches tend to produce goals as the last nine meetings have seen at least one goal scored. The last scoreless draw came on June 17, 2017.
Last times out
These two MLS originals have generated some memorable matches over the year. As hinted above, these two have even gone to penalty shootouts twice in the last five years. In the 2020 shootout, goalkeeper Tim Melia made one of the most memorable penalty shootout performances in recent memory, saving all three Earthquake kicks. All three Sporting takers converted, ending the shootout in just three kicks.
The most recent regular season meeting came back in May, resulting in a 1-1 draw in the Bay Area. The last time the two sides met at Children's Mercy Park, a similar 1-1 draw was the product. The visitors jumped out to a one-goal lead in the 53rd and appeared to be escaping the Blue Hell with all three points. Sporting's 2021 MVP, Daniel Salloi stamped those dreams out with a mad dash to blast a rebounded Russell free kick off the crossbar into the empty net.
Seeing San Jose
The Earthquakes come into the match one point ahead of Sporting, with one less win. They have been able to pull out 11 draws this season, keeping them ahead of a Sporting KC side that has drawn just five times. The problem for San Jose has come on the defensive side of the ball. Their 54 goals conceded is a Western Conference high by five goals. When tied or trailing at halftime, San Jose is 3-10-8, only taking the lead into the break on five occasions.
After parting ways with head coach Matías Almeyda earlier in 2022, San Jose has called on interim Alex Covelo to lead the club. Last week it was announced that Luchi Gonzalez would take over the head coaching position following the United States Men's National Team FIFA 2022 World Cup run. On the player side, Saturday's opposition is led by Jeremy Ebobisse and his 14 goals. Cristian Espinoza has tallied a team-high 11 assists for San Jose, three off league leader Luciano Acosta.