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Sporting Kansas City rumble past the San Jose Earthquakes for their first win of the year

Sporting KC clash with San Jose. We’ve got all the video and details of the Sporting Kansas City win over the Earthquakes.



Dany Rosero celebrating his game tying goal in the first half against San Jose. | Credit: Thad Bell

Sporting Kansas City entered their second home match of the season on Saturday night looking for all three points after three draws to start the season. They would have to do it without Andreu Fontas and Remi Walter starting on the bench, both due to injury. In their place, Robert Voloder and Memo Rodriguez donned the Sporting Blue primary kit and entered the starting XI.


The San Jose Earthquakes pressed the issue early in the match by working a nice ball down the right flank to create a crossing opportunity to Cristian Espinoza. His dangerous cross was parried away by Tim Melia and the ball was eventually misplayed by Erik Thommy and went out for a San Jose throw in.

San Jose looked dangerous again in the sixth minute after a Dany Rosero turnover in the midfield. Rosero slipped while attempting to switch play to the opposite wing and Cristian Espinoza intercepted the pass, drove hard down the pitch before ripping a shot wide right of the post.

Jake Davis saved a goal in the tenth minute after a Preston Judd cross was driven low across the box. Davis slid in and knocked the ball out for a corner just out of the reach of Amahl Pellegrino. The relief was momentary as San Jose quickly took a 1-0 lead on the ensuing set piece after Vitor Costa knocked the ball past Tim Melia.

Sporting’s first true chance to test San Jose came in the 14th minute. Johnny Russell was fouled along the right touch line, earning a set piece opportunity. Memo Rodriguez’s ensuing cross was headed out for a corner. The midfielder whipped in a hard in-swinger that was cleared only as far as the top of the box. Sporting attempted to recycle possession and put another ball into the mixer, but were unable to put a shot on frame.

Pulido tested the Earthquakes’ keeper with a rocket of a strike from outside the box. The Brazilian, Daniel, was able to knock it out for a corner kick. Memo Rodriguez lined up for his second corner kick of the night and fired in another hard in-swinging ball. Dany Rosero flew in and headed the ball home emphatically, leveling the match in the 18th minute.

Immediately after the restart, Robert Voloder made a great recovery after misreading Espinoza’s run on a long ball lofted over the top of Sporting’s back line. Espinoza appeared to be 1v1 with Tim Melia, but as he drew his leg back to strike the ball, Voloder slid in to block the shot.

Play stopped briefly as Memo Rodriguez went down and stayed down after getting stomped on the ankle by Cristian Espinoza. Despite having four officials and VAR, no cards were issued and no foul was given.

Sporting enjoyed a lovely spell of possession in the minutes that followed, playing 1-2 passing sequences and keeping possession in dangerous spots. Eventually, Memo Rodriguez earned another corner for Sporting after San Jose misplayed an attempted through ball. Johnny Russell’s ensuing corner kick sailed over the box and was eventually cleared.

Sporting continued to dominate possession as the first half ticked away. Alan Pulido opened his account on the season in the 29th minute after an incredible passing sequence by Sporting Kansas City. The play started with Dany Rosero playing a terrific ball into the midfield. Erik Thommy played a perfect one touch to Memo Rodriguez, who then passed to Daniel Salloi, who turned and played an inch perfect pass to a streaking Johnny Russell. Russell carried the ball to the edge of the box before combining on a give and go with Jake Davis to free himself. As Russell pushed to the end line, he crossed the ball back across the box to find Pulido unmarked at the spot. Pulido smashed the ball home on the volley and gave the home team a 2-1 lead.

In the 35th minute, Dany Rosero was shown the game’s first yellow for taking down Preston Judd while battling for a ball chipped in over the top. The commentators briefly discussed giving him a red for denial of an obvious goal scoring opportunity, but VAR did not intervene and the centerback escaped a harsher punishment. Cristian Espinoza stood over the free kick from a dangerous spot and fired a laser at the corner of the goal. Tim Melia got down and knocked the ball out for a corner kick. Sporting’s defense collapsed on the set piece, leaving Vitor Costa wide open for a shot on goal at point blank range. Sporting’s all time leader in wins, made an acrobatic save, knocking the ball wide and saving a goal that looked sure to level the match.

The teams traded possession over the next ten minutes before the fourth official held up the board indicating there would be five minutes of first half stoppage time. The final five minutes were a mostly boring affair before the referee blew the whistle for halftime.


At the halftime break, Sporting Kansas City held an advantage in numerous key stats. They held 57.5% possession, more passes, and better passing accuracy. The visitors however, held the advantage in shots with eight to SKC’s three. They also held the advantage in xG, with 1 to SKC’s 0.8. Most importantly, Sporting Kansas City held the advantage where it mattered, on the scoreboard.


To start the second half, Peter Vermes made one substitution, bringing Remi Walter in for Memo Rodriguez. From the kickoff, San Jose played a long ball over the top. Robert Voloder let it go over his head and Pellegrino found the ball in the box. He nearly rounded Tim Melia but his subsequent shot went out of bounds, saving Kansas City from a shocker within seconds of the start of the second half.

Barely five minutes into the half, Johnny Russell went down in the center circle. He limped off the pitch and made way for Stephen Afrifa. As Russell made his way off the pitch, his limp seemed to lighten a bit, but on replay it certainly seemed like a muscle injury after he charged hard into the box while chasing a Daniel Salloi cross.

Afrifa came up big almost immediately. San Jose won a corner kick and the second ball fell to an Earthquake in the box. Afrifa made a crucial tackle and then carried the ball forward to ease the pressure on the backline.

Tim Melia was tested again when Jeremy Ebobisse took a rip from distance. He saved the shot but spilled a rebound that was eventually cleared.

San Jose made a trio of substitutions in the 63rd minute. Ebobisse made way for Benjamin Kikanovic, Preston Judd made way for Ousseni Bouda, and Amahl Pellegrino made way for Jack Skahan. Shortly after the substitutions, San Jose had created another dangerous chance, but Jackson Yueill’s attempt went wide. Bouda was on the pitch for less than five minutes before picking up a yellow card for a bad foul on Robert Voloder.

San Jose continued to press for an equalizer with twenty minutes left in the match. In the 72nd minute, San Jose midfielder, Carlos Gruezo, was substituted for Alfredo Morales. Sporting tried to calmly kill off the game, while San Jose pressed to level things. San Jose earned their second yellow card of the match when Cristian Espinoza went in hard and late on Tim Leibold and flipped him into the air.

Daniel Salloi picked up a yellow of his own moments later by delaying a restart and pushing a Quakes player over to do so. Espinoza stood over the ball for another set piece in a dangerous area and his subsequent ball was headed home by Brazilian centerback, Rodrigues. As the crowd screamed for VAR, referee went to the monitor and waived off San Jose’s goal for a handball. Sporting fans breathed a huge sigh of relief, as did Daniel Salloi.

Thommy Thompson was substituted into the game for right back, Paul Marie. Sporting continued to offer very little in the attack as Alan Pulido launched a ball into the South Stands in the 85th minute. In the 87th minute, Alan Puldio was substituted for Willy Agada and Daniel Salloi came off for winger Alenis Vargas.

Willy Agada almost immediately had a penalty shout as he appeared to be pulled down from behind in the box when chasing a chipped in ball over the top. However, the referee waived for him to get up and play continued. The final five minutes of regular time devolved into a chippy affair with a number of fouls and choppy play. As the fourth official noted there would be six minutes of stoppage time, Erik Thommy dribbled to the corner flag and beautifully held up the ball in the corner. Sporting turned over possession shortly thereafter and Erik Thommy was booked for pulling back his opponent.

Ian Russell, an assistant coach for San Jose, was booked in the third minute of stoppage time confusing Luchi Gonzalez. Russell’s boss could be heard on a hot mic asking, “Why the f— did he get booked?”

With two minutes left in the match, Jack Skahan pulled a ball back across the box. Kikanovic’s shot deflected off a Sporting defender and out for a corner kick. A nervy set piece was cleared but Sporting could not get the counter attack right, leading to another San Jose attack. Jake Davis eventually found himself with the ball and slid a perfectly weighted pass to Afrifa, who raced down the right side of the pitch. He hit a low cross targeted at Alenis Vargas, but the danger was snuffed out by the San Jose defense.

Finally, after six long minutes of stoppage time and some shaky moments, the full time whistle blew and the home team brought home a win and three points.


San Jose took 13 shots (6 on target) to Sporting KC’s five shots (3 on target). The home team took home the win with a final scoreline of 2-1 but San Jose won on xG, 1.29 to 0.92 for the hosts. Sporting ended up winning the possession battle 52-48 and out passed San Jose 423-385. The teams were nearly level on passing accuracy with San Jose clocking in at 86% to SKC’s 85%.

Sporting KC finish the night four points back of Minnesota for first place in the Western Conference, but firmly in the playoff pack. The team will host the LA Galaxy next Saturday, March 23rd, at 7:30 PM at Children’s Mercy Park.

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