Sporting Kansas City overcame a halftime deficit courtesy of a historic Chris Wondolowski goal, putting in two second-half scores for a 2-1 win over San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday evening at Children's Mercy Park.
The Quakes got their first attempt on goal less than two minutes into the match on a Cristian Espinoza shot, and kept pressure on the home team throughout the half. They finally broke through in the 25th minute, when Espinoza found an unmarked Wondolowski making a run on his corner kick. Wondolowski was able to get a head on it to score, getting to the double-digit goal mark in a 10th straight season. Though they dominated possession and shot stats in the first half, San Jose wasn't able to add to their tally, and went into halftime with just the one-goal lead.
Sporting came out more positive in the second half, with Johnny Russell acting as the catalyst. Russell nearly had a goal on a volley less than two minutes into the second half, then in the 50th minute, got a pass into the box that Jimmy Medranda chested down and Benny Feilhaber left-footed in for his first goal since returning to SKC. Then, Russell was fouled by Vako with less than 15 minutes in regulation; Russell's free kick was kept out by a combination of Quakes 'keeper Daniel Vega and the woodwork. The rebound, however, fell to second-year centerback Graham Smith, who was able to put it away for his first-ever MLS goal — and the eventual game-winner.
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- 25' – SJ – Chris Wondolowski | WATCH
- 50' – SKC – Benny Feilhaber | WATCH
- 76' – SKC – Graham Smith | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: This was a win that Sporting desperately needed to keep their playoff hopes alive, especially given that they were outshot and outpossessed in the first 45 by a San Jose team that looked to be besting them in one-on-one matchups. For the Quakes, it's a bit of a hiccup, as they've suffered their second loss following a five-match unbeaten streak. Weirdly, it's their first back-to-back loss since they dropped their first four matches at the start of the season.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: The game-winning goal was a nice bit of opportunistic play for Smith, who came to SKC via an unconventional college route, started at Oregon State but ending at the University of Denver. Though Smith got the goal, it was Russell who drew the foul and then fired in the free kick.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Though Russell ended up only being credited with an assist on the equalizer, he was instrumental in creating both goals, and his almost-goal to start the second half represented a sea change in the match.