Sunday, September 25, 2016

Sporting End Their Jinx in San Jose

For the first time in 16 years, Sporting Kansas City is returning to Kansas City from San Jose with all three points after a 2-1 win at Avaya Stadium last night. Not since 2000 when a lineup mixed with starters and back ups went to San Jose and won 3-0 has Kansas City been able to get a win on the road in San Jose. The 18 game winless streak was the second longest in league history after New York's winless run in New England.

San Jose though came out firing immediately attacking Kansas City from the opening kick off, but punching a cross only as far as Chris Wondolowski, Tim Melia made a nice save off the US international. Unfortunately for the Earthquakes the early attack came at a cost as forward Quincy Amarikwa appeared to suffer a serious knee injury while going after the initial cross into the box. KC had an early opportunity of their own in the seventh minute and made no mistake as Benny Feilhaber played a quick restart to Paulo Nagamura who crossed a ball into the box for Dom Dwyer who had found space between a group of San Jose defenders and headed the ball past David Bingham and into the net to put KC up 1-0. San Jose began to push the game against KC from there, spending a lot of time attacking Jimmy Medranda down KC's left hand side. Medranda at times struggled with the spotlight from the opposing attack squarely on him, but KC's defense was able to hold out. All the pressure from the Quakes finally got them level in the 42nd a mistake in the back by Nuno Coelho allowed the Earthquakes to score. A long ball to the top of the box was flicked into the box where Coelho held three Quakes players onside, as Coelho went to the ball he held up thinking Melia was going to come and claim it, but Melia stayed on his line and Coelho took too long making up his mind to clear it as Henok Goitom tried to reach for the ball at the same time. Coelho went down thinking he was fouled while Goitom went for the ball and back heeled it into the path of Simon Dawkins who easily beat Melia to tie the game at 1-1 as the teams headed into the half.

The second half started almost the exact same way as the first as the Earthquakes came out flying and another fantastic save by Melia as Wondolowski redirected a cross kept the Quakes from going up 2-1. San Jose continued to pour numbers forward and attack KC's left side and they had another chance at the hour mark as Wondolowski made the run down the left and crossed the ball in, it eventually was knocked back to Alberto Quintero who fired a low blast that Melia saved and then jumped on the rebound. Kansas City started to find some space of their own with Brad Davis having a curling effort tipped wide of the post (although no corner was given) in the 77th minute. In the 80th minute after winning a corner KC grabbed the lead again as Feilhaber's corner was flicked on by Ike Opara to the back side where Kevin Ellis, facing the wrong way, hit the ball with his calf and into the net from about a yard out as he got just enough separation from his defender, giving KC a 2-1 lead. KC held on the final 10 minutes, including a very late corner kick where the Quakes brought Bingham forward to win in San Jose and help their playoff chances after dropping four points at home.

Wizards Man of the Match - Tim Melia - Came up with some huge saves in goal for Sporting last night, the save on Wondolowski at the beginning of the second half was absolutely fantastic reaction save.

Player Ratings - Melia 7, Medranda 4, Ellis 6, Coelho 5, Abdul-Salaam 6, Mustivar 6, Espinoza 6, Nagamura 6, Peterson 4, Dwyer 5, Feilhaber 5. Subs Davis 6, Opara 6.

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