Saturday, April 23, 2016

Match Day 8: Heading to Unfriendly Confines

Sporting KC return to the field tomorrow afternoon in San Jose in an attempt to end their two game losing streak. After a 3-0 start to the season, KC has just won one of their last four games to drop them to 4-3 on the season. They'll now travel to some very unfriendly confines at Avaya Stadium. Kansas City has had very little success away from home against the Earthquakes outside of Kansas City in their history, especially over the last 16 years.

The Earthquakes are currently just one point behind Kansas City at this early point of the season, currently 3-2-2 sitting on 11 points. They have their own injury issues at the moment with six players on their roster listed as being out for tomorrow's game. The biggest of those losses for the Earthquakes is probably Clarence Goodson, most of the rest probably wouldn't be key contributors in tomorrow's game. As has been the case for the last few years, the San Jose offense is lead by Chris Wondlowski who is leading the Golden Boot race at this early point of the season.

Kansas City has their own injury issues, although not as numerous. The big issue is Soni Mustivar who did not travel with the team for their two game road trip to San Jose and Vancouver. His absence in the center of midfield has been a big hole in Kansas City's system since he went out. Lawrence Olum has struggle in replicating his style of as the defensive midfielder in KC's system, he just doesn't have the engine that Mustivar does and KC hasn't made any other changes to their system to compensate for that. Elsewhere KC could look to make some lineup changes with another game on Wednesday, KC could look to rest some legs ahead of that game.

Hallisey - Dwyer - Zusi
Feilhaber - Espinoza
Sinovic - Besler - Coelho - SAS 

Number to Remember - 2000 - That's the last time that Kansas City took all three points in San Jose, almost 16 years ago. Kansas City's last win in San Jose came on August 16th, of 2000 when a mostly reserve Kansas City Wizards team went into Spartan Stadium and won 3-0 on goals by Francisco Gomez, Vicente Figueroa, and Chris Henderson. Kansas City is 0-10-5 in San Jose since that win in 2000, the last time Kansas City even got a point there was a 1-1 draw back in 2011.

Key Match Up - Matt Besler vs Chris Wondolowski - The pair of World Cup veterans will likely be matched up plenty on the night. Wondolowski has scored 7 goals in his Earthquakes career against Kansas City, and scoring again wouldn't be a surprise.

PREDICTION - Kansas City really hasn't played well in San Jose over the past few years, the Earthquakes have been able to control the games and really not allow much in the way of chances for KC. While KC has been a decent road team since the rebranding, they struggle in San Jose with the style that the Earthquakes play. Unfortunately with the congested schedule upcoming for KC I'm not sure that Sporting get anything out of this one.

SKC - 0
SJ - 1 (Wondolowski)

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