SANTA CLARA, Calif. – The San Jose Earthquakes’ home dominance is keeping them in the MLS postseason conversation.
With a 1-0 victory against Eastern Conference leaders Sporting Kansas City on Sunday night, the Quakes ran their winning streak at Buck Shaw Stadium to five straight matches, feeding their faint playoff hopes through Chris Wondolowski’s eighth goal of the season.
San Jose improved to 9-10-6 overall and are 8-1-4 at home. The five-game streak is the Quakes’ longest string of home victories since August 2005.
The Quakes moved into a tie for seventh place in the Western Conference with FC Dallas on 33 points, although San Jose are still eighth in terms of points per match at 1.32.
Sporting Kansas City (11-8-6), who were playing without injured stars Graham Zusi and Kei Kamara, retained a share of the Eastern Conference top spot, but lost their game in hand on co-leader New York.
Wondolowski and the Quakes – who were shut out in two matches against MLS opponents last week – finally broke through in the 55th minute when Steven Beitashour delivered a first-time volley cross off a deflected ball on the right wing. Wondolowski knifed in behind Sporting’s backline to reach the looping pass first and headed home to the near post past helpless goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen.
It was a third goal in as many league matches for Wondolowski, who has scored in five consecutive games against Sporting Kansas City.
San Jose had the best chance of the first half when Clarence Goodson rose to meet Marvin Chavez’s 33rd-minute free kick deep inside Kansas City’s box. But Nielsen prevented the US international’s first goal as a Quake with a diving, right-handed stop.
The visitors’ appeals for a penalty kick were denied in the 65th minute. After Matt Besler’s free kick from the right wing was flicked on by Aurelin Collin, Kansas City’s Soony Saad collided with Beitashour at the back post, but no call was forthcoming.
For Sporting Kansas City, the loss extended their winless streak at San Jose to 16 matches. They are 0-11-5 against the Quakes in California since last winning on Aug. 16, 2000.