Saturday’s match against Sporting Kansas City marks a couple of firsts for the Quakes: first road trip in the 2018 MLS regular season, and the first time the team will play in Kansas City since the 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Semifinal.
Last year’s Open Cup run was the furthest the Quakes have gone in the tournament since 2004, where they also made it to the semifinals and coincidentally faced Kansas City.
Despite falling 5-4 on penalties in last year’s match, San Jose had a strong showing and the game made a lasting impression on the team that continues to this day, particularly in the goal.
Earthquakes goalkeeper Andrew Tarbell made 11 vital saves during the semifinal; nine more than Sporting KC’s Tim Melia. Much can be credited to Tarbell for keeping San Jose in the game and helping the score stay 1-1 after the end of regulation and added time.
"It was great to get out there,” said Earthquakes goalkeeper Andrew Tarbell following the match. “I have not played too many games in the year and a half that I have been a professional. Any chance I get out there, I try to enjoy it and do my best."
Going into the last year’s open cup semifinal, Tarbell had 45 minutes of MLS regular season action under his belt, having entered as a halftime substitute in the match against Columbus Crew SC on Aug. 27, 2016.
His performance against Kansas City impressed the coaching staff, and earned him the starting goalkeeper role for the team. He has played every minute since then.
Earlier this week, Tarbell spoke about returning to Kansas City.
“I think everybody here likes to go play there,” Tarbell said. “It’s just a great environment. The fans are great, they’re loud and it’s always packed. It’s a good team to face and it’s just a great place to go play, so everyone is excited and everyone is ready to perform on the big stage.”
The match against Sporting Kansas City will kick off at 5:30 p.m. PT and will air on NBC Sports Bay Area Plus, KNBR 1050 AM and KZSF 1370 AM.