Cristian Espinoza - April - 2019 - Portland

MATCH PREVIEW: Get to know Saturday’s opponent Sporting Kansas City

Coming off a narrow 2-1 defeat to the Houston Dynamo, the San Jose Earthquakes return to Avaya Stadium in search of three points against one of Major League Soccer’s top teams.

Sporting Kansas City have been the epitome of continuity in MLS. The Midwest side seem to constantly bring in new international players that fit their system and marry them with team staples and young homegrown talent. For every departure, a la Benny Feilhaber and Latif Blessing, they acquire a Johnny Russell and Gianluca Busio. Head coach Peter Vermes has proven to be an MLS mastermind.

SKC started the year strong in MLS play (2-1-1), along with consecutive Concacaf Champions League aggregate victories over Toluca and Independiente. The club was 6-1-1 in all competitions during the month of March.

April hasn’t been as kind to Sporting, who have failed to win all four of their matches thus far. Back-to-back MLS draws against FC Cincinnati (4/7) and the New York Red Bulls (4/14) compounded on top of lopsided losses to C.F. Monterrey, which saw them tumble out of Concacaf Champions League play.

Regardless, SKC remains one of the most talented and organized teams in Major League Soccer and will now get to focus solely only regular season play. Forwards Johnny Russell and Krisztian Nemeth are currently fighting for the team’s Golden Boot award, having tallied four goals apiece, while center back Matt Besler and goalkeeper Tim Melia remain stalwarts defensively.

Saturday’s match kicks off at 6:45 p.m. and will be broadcast live on NBC Sports California, KNBR 1050 and 1370 KZSF.


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