The San Jose Earthquakes conclude a three-match homestand this Saturday when they host Sporting Kansas City at PayPal Park, presented by Coca-Cola. The Earthquakes will have one final opportunity to play with a home-field advantage as they will not host another match until their California Clasico clash against the LA Galaxy on June 26.
After falling 2-1 in the season opener against Houston Dynamo FC, San Jose earned three-straight wins and held a 3-1-0 record. Two games later, the Quakes are now 3-3-0 after falling to Seattle Sounders FC 1-0 and the Portland Timbers 2-0 last week. With the two recent results, Saturday’s match is that much more important for San Jose to stop their skid and climb back up the Western Conference standings.
The Quakes conceded first in their last two matches and were unable to respond despite a number of chances. Almeyda recognizes the importance that the first goal has and the impact it can create on a game.
"We always talk that scoring first and not conceding would be perfect, but we can never plan what's going to happen,” Almeyda said during a virtual press conference on Wednesday. “That's the way football is. It has surprises, and many times we work on something throughout the week, and everything changes five minutes later.”
As long as the team creates opportunities, attacks the opponent, and fights until the final whistle, Almeyda recognizes that the Quakes are capable of overcoming a trailing score line, as previously seen on May 7 in their 2-1 victory against a Real Salt Lake side that was previously unbeaten this season.
“Beyond our two losses, I stick with the intention of the players, and I take with me their desire to try to tie and win the games the way we did a few games ago,” Almeyda added.
Sporting Kansas City are on a surge of confidence stemming from a 3-0 shutout victory against Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Children’s Mercy Park last Sunday, holding a 3-2-1 record and sitting in third place in the Western Conference. Saturday’s showdown is also expected to reunite Sporting KC’s Alan Pulido with Matias Almeyda, Oswaldo Alanis, Carlos Fierro and Eduardo ‘Chofis’ Lopez. All four players previously played under head coach Matias Almeyda with Mexico’s Chivas de Guadalajara, where they won numerous championships, including the 2017 Liga MX and the 2018 Concacaf Champions League.
Saturday’s opponent will look to build on their most recent win but have seen mixed results as visitors, yielding a 1-2-0 away record so far this year. Historically, Sporting KC has also struggled in fixtures when visiting the Earthquakes. The Quakes hold a 17-6-7 record when hosting Kansas City, outscoring them 43-27, and have won six of their last 10 regular-season meetings (6-2-2).
Saturday’s kickoff from PayPal Park is set for 7 p.m. PT and will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Bay Area, KNBR 1050 and 1370 KZSF.