Sporting Kansas City suffered a third straight defeat on Sunday after falling 1-0 to the San Jose Earthquakes at Avaya Stadium. Chris Wondolowski’s 59th-minute penalty kick separated the sides as San Jose extended its home unbeaten streak against Sporting KC to 18 MLS matches dating back to 2000.
Wondolowski’s spot kick came just four minutes after Sporting Kansas City were denied a penalty of their own when Dom Dwyer fell under Andres Imperiale’s sliding challenge. The result drops Sporting Kansas City (4-4-0, 12 points) to sixth in the Western Conference table, two points behind fifth-place San Jose (4-2-2, 14 points).
Manager Peter Vermes made one change to the starting lineup from last Sunday’s 2-1 setback at FC Dallas, with Graham Zusi recovering from illness to replace Jimmy Medranda. The visitors started brightly and created multiple chances within the first half-hour. Benny Feilhaber nearly caught goalkeeper David Bingham off his line in the eighth minute, only to see his 25-yard chip palmed narrowly over the woodwork.
Zusi and Feilhaber were at the heart of the attack three minutes later, combining to find Dwyer in the penalty area, but the Englishman was crowded out by a host of defenders and was unable to pull the trigger.
Both clubs exchanged scoring threats in the 25th minute. San Jose’s Alberto Quintero exploited space down the right wing and tried squaring for an open Quincy Amarikwa, but Nuno Andre Coelho stuck out his right boot to make the pivotal intervention. Less than 30 seconds later, Roger Espinoza’s long diagonal ball eluded Simon Dawkins and was scooped up by Saad Abdul-Salaam, who fired wide of the near post and into the side-netting.
Abdul-Salaam spearheaded another thrust forward on 29 minutes, surging down the right sideline and squaring to Feilhaber in a central area. The team’s reigning MVP lobbed a ball to the far post for Dwyer, whose snapping header was touched away by Bingham. Shortly thereafter, Brad Davis curled a free kick over San Jose’s four-man wall that barely missed the target.
San Jose carved out a clear opportunity just before the break. Quintero had space to cross from the left flank, and his low delivery buzzed across the face of goal to Fatai Alashe, who lashed wide from 12 yards.
The game’s most controversial moment came 10 minutes after the restart. Feilhaber’s long ball over the San Jose back line was chested down by Dwyer, who appeared to be tripped from behind by Imperiale inside the box. Referee Jair Marufo waved play to resume, and not long later awarded the Earthquakes a penalty kick.
Alashe’s incisive through ball in the 58th minute found Wondolowski, who was cleanly dispossessed by the sliding Matt Besler. The loose ball fell to Dawkins, who was toppled after attempting to round goalkeeper Tim Melia near the six-yard area. Wondolowski buried the ensuing penalty kick, scoring his MLS-leading seventh goal of the season and his eighth goal in 11 regular season appearances against Sporting Kansas City.
Davis went agonizingly close again in the 66th minute, as his bending free kick beat the wall but would not dip enough to sneak under the crossbar. Neither team conjured a dangerous chance in the final quarter-hour, condemning Sporting Kansas City to its fourth loss in five games while San Jose moved to 4-0-1 at Avaya Stadium in 2016.
Sporting Kansas City will stay on the West Coast for the final leg of a three-game road swing, facing seventh-place Vancouver Whitecaps FC (3-4-1, 10 points) at 9:30 p.m. CT Wednesday. KMCI 38 The Spot and SKCTV will provide three hours of live television coverage from BC Place beginning at 9 p.m. CT. History in the matchup favors Sporting KC, who are unbeaten in five straight regular season visits to Cascadia clubs (Vancouver, Portland and Seattle) and own a 5-1-2 all-time record against Whitecaps FC.
2016 MLS Regular Season
Game 8 of 34
Avaya Stadium | San Jose, California
Weather: 64 degrees and partly cloudy
|Sporting Kansas City (4-4-0, 12 pts)||0||0||0|
|San Jose Earthquakes (4-2-2, 14 pts)||0||1||1|
Sporting Kansas City: Tim Melia; Saad Abdul-Salaam, Nuno Andre Coelho, Matt Besler (Ike Opara 75), Amadou Dia (Diego Rubio 86); Benny Feilhaber, Lawrence Olum, Roger Espinoza; Brad Davis, Dom Dwyer, Graham Zusi
Subs Not Used: Alec Kann, Seth Sinovic, Connor Hallisey, Jimmy Medranda, Jacob Peterson
San Jose Earthquakes: David Bingham; Marvell Wynne, Victor Bernardez, Andres Imperiale, Shaun Francis; Alberto Quintero (Tommy Thompson 90), Fatai Alashe, Anibal Godoy, Simon Dawkins (Shea Salinas 77); Chris Wondolowski, Quincy Amarikwa (Adam Jahn 71)
Subs Not Used: Bryan Meredith, Kofi Sarkodie, Matias Perez Garcia, Innocent
|Shots on Goal||5||2|
SJ -- Anibal Godoy (caution; unsporting behavior) 1
SKC -- Matt Besler (caution; unsporting behavior) 33
SKC -- Benny Feilhaber (caution; dissent) 59
SKC -- Amadou Dia (caution; unsporting behavior) 81
SJ -- Chris Wondolowski 7 (penalty kick) 59