The final is within sight.
A win is all that separates the San Jose Earthquakes from advancing to the final round of the U.S. Open Cup. Doing so would give the club a chance to earn their first piece of silverware since the 2012 season and the chance to test their mettle in the CONCACAF Champions League. Yet, before they can entertain such thoughts of glory, Chris Leitch’s men must first make it past Sporting Kansas City in their pivotal Open Cup semifinal on August 9, which is set to kick off at 5:30 p.m. PT and will be streamed online at SJEarthquakes.com.
Wednesday’s clash will be just the second time that the Quakes dispute a semifinal in this century-old tournament, and in a twist of fate, it will be against the same opponent as their first time. Back in August 24, 2004, the Quakes missed out on the finals after falling to Sporting KC, then known as the Kansas City Wizards, thanks to a 45th-minute penalty kick from Igor Simutenkov.
It won’t be any easier this time around. Kansas City has yet to concede a goal in their three Open Cup matches thus far, while averaging three goals scored per game. However, they will be without star forward Dom Dwyer against the Quakes, who was recently traded to Orlando City SC.
As the Quakes prepare for their historic matchup on Wednesday, here’s a quick look back at their journey to this point.
San Jose Earthquakes 2-0 San Francisco Deltas
U.S. Open Cup Fourth Round, Wednesday, June 14, 2017, Avaya Stadium
In what was his professional debut, 20-year-old midfielder Jackson Yueill helped the Quakes kick off their 2017 tournament on the right foot. Only four minutes into the match, the No. 6 overall 2017 SuperDraft selection volleyed home a rebound off a Danny Hoesen free kick. Two minutes later, Cordell Cato scored to put the match beyond question for the home side.
San Jose Earthquakes 2-1 Seattle Sounders FC
U.S. Open Cup Round of 16, Wednesday, June 28, 2017, Avaya Stadium
Chris Leitch kicked off his tenure as the Quakes’ head coach with a 2-1 win over the visiting Sounders FC. Once again, the Quakes went ahead early thanks to a sixth-minute goal from Shea Salinas. Seattle equalized shortly after halftime, but Hoesen scored the winner in the 84th minute to put the Quakes through to the Quarterfinals.
San Jose Earthquakes 3-2 Los Angeles Galaxy
U.S. Open Cup Quarterfinals, Monday, July 10, 2017, Avaya Stadium
Just days after the Quakes beat the Galaxy in the second California Clásico of the season, they repeated the feat in Open Cup play. Perennial villain Jelle Van Damme put the visitors up in the third minute, but San Jose responded in the 16th minute through Chris Wondolowski. The Quakes captain put his side ahead just six minutes after halftime, before Hoesen made it 3-1 in the 62nd minute. An unlucky own goal from goalkeeper Andrew Tarbell in the 84th minute was not enough to prevent the Quakes from making their second-ever semifinal appearance in the Open Cup.
The final is within sight.