San Jose Earthquakes at Sporting Kansas City
Kickoff: 1:30 p.m. PT at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park, Kansas City, Kan.
Television: NBC Sports Network
Radio: 1590 KLIV (English), 1370 KZSF (Spanish)
Places to Watch
Jack’s Bar & Lounge (San Jose), Hyde Park Lounge (San Jose), Double D’s Sports Grille (Los Gatos), Danny Coyle’s (San Francisco), SF Soccer Cafe (San Francisco)
Sporting Kansas City Scouting Report
Sporting Kansas City (7-3-1, 22 pts.) had lost three straight after seven consecutive wins to open the 2012 season, before a 2-2 road draw at the Colorado Rapids last Saturday. SKC had taken a 2-0 lead through a Teal Bunbury brace over the first 14 minutes in the third-year forward’s second start of 2012 before the host Rapids produced their comeback, getting first goals of the year from defenders Tyrone Marshall and Kosuke Kimura in the 52nd and 60th minutes, respectively. Over this four-game stretch, Sporting have fallen from the top of the Eastern Conference standings, where they also completed the 2011 regular season, now into third behind the New York Red Bulls (8-3-2, 26 pts.) and D.C. United (7-4-3, 24 pts.). Former Quakes player Kei Kamara leads SKC with four goals, while fellow forward C.J. Sapong and defender Aurelien Collin have tallied three apiece. Midfield general Graham Zusi has six assists, second-most in MLS, with a league-best four of them coming on game-winners, but like Quakes striker Chris Wondolowski, is likely to miss Sunday’s match-up due to a U.S. Men’s National Team call-up. The Sporting goalkeeper is Danish national Jimmy Nielsen (0.82 GAA, 23 saves, five shutouts). The game will mark San Jose’s second-ever visit to LIVESTRONG Sporting Park, which opened during the 2011 MLS season.
-With a three-goal rally over the final quarter-hour at The Home Depot Center on Wednesday night, the San Jose Earthquakes (8-2-3, 27 pts.) vaulted into the top spots of both the Western Conference and MLS Supporters’ Shield standings. San Jose is one point ahead of Real Salt Lake (8-3-2, 26 pts.) in the West, now on equal games. Seattle Sounders FC is currently third (7-3-2, 23 pts.) with one game in hand. The Quakes’ 27 points put them ahead of Eastern Conference leaders New York Red Bulls (8-3-2, 26 pts.). RSL hosts FC Dallas on Saturday (6 p.m. PT), while Seattle plays at Chivas USA on Saturday (7:30 p.m. PT).
-Through games played on May 23, the Earthquakes are tied for first in MLS with 26 goals scored, matched only by East leaders New York Red Bulls. The Quakes and D.C. United each have an MLS-best 28 assists on the year. With 15 scores conceded, the Quakes boast the top goal differential in MLS at +11.
-San Jose paces the league in goals over the final 30 minutes with 15. That total is four better than the next best team, D.C. United. With all three goals against the LA Galaxy on Wednesday night coming after the 75-minute mark, the Quakes also lead MLS comfortably with an incredible 10 strikes over the final 15 minutes of contests. The Colorado Rapids are next on the list with six. The franchise record for such goals is 16 from the 1998 campaign. San Jose has five goals in 2012 in the 90th minute or later, with four in second-half stoppage.
-The Quakes have already eclipsed their 2011 total of three road wins, and after collecting just 15 points on their travels a year ago (3-8-6), they are already almost at that number with 13 through six road dates in 2012. Their 4-1-1 record is the Quakes’ best-ever six-game road start.
Earthquakes – Sporting Kansas City Connections
-Quakes midfielder Khari Stephenson made his MLS debut for the then-Kansas City Wizards, playing in nine games from 2004-05.
-Sporting Kansas City midfielder Bobby Convey produced three goals and 14 assists, including a team-high 10 en route to 2010 MLS Comeback Player of the Year honors, over 75 games for the Quakes from 2009-11.
-SKC forward Kei Kamara scored two goals in 12 appearances for the Earthquakes in 2008. Kamara also played with current Quakes Jon Busch (2006) and Tim Ward (2006-07) while in Columbus and Chris Wondolowski (2008-09) in Houston.
-SKC midfielder Jacob Peterson appeared in nine games for San Jose in 2011 following his trade from Toronto FC.
-Quakes midfielder Marvin Chavez (2008-09) and SKC defender Julio Cesar (1995-96) have both played for C.D. Marathon in Honduras.
-Quakes defender Justin Morrow and SKC defender Matt Besler played together at Notre Dame from 2006-08. Morrow also played for the Fighting Irish all four years (2006-09) with SKC midfielder Michael Thomas, with the duo serving as team captains as seniors in 2009. Thomas was selected in the second round (No. 19) by San Jose in the 2010 MLS SuperDraft, nine spots ahead of Morrow, but did not make any appearances for the Quakes prior to having his right of first refusal traded to SKC on Jan. 17, 2012, for a fourth-round pick in the 2012 MLS Supplemental Draft.
-Quakes defender Ike Opara and SKC forward Teal Bunbury were both members of the U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team during CONCACAF Olympic qualifying in late March.
-Quakes midfielder Simon Dawkins (Edgware), SKC defender Korede Aiyegbusi (London) and forward Dom Dwyer (Cuckfield) were all born in England.
@SJEarthquakes – Official account of the San Jose Earthquakes (#SJEarthquakes)
@QuakesMatchday – NEW! this season, follow for live updates on game days
@SportingKC – Official account of Sporting Kansas City (#SportingKC)
MLS MatchDay 2012 – The official Major League Soccer app, providing up-to-the-minute score updates, in-game highlights, news and more.