Sporting KC vs. San Jose, June 17, 2011

Preview: Motivated Sporting host streaking San Jose

Sporting Kansas City return to their new home for a second match when they play host to the San Jose Earthquakes on FOX Soccer Night in America at Livestrong Sporting Park. Sporting won for the first time since March last weekend, a dominant 4-1 win against FC Dallas. The Earthquakes are now riding a six-game undefeated streak after coming away from D.C. United with a 4-2 win.


REFEREE: Paul Ward. SAR (bench): Darren Clark; JAR (opposite): Philippe Briere; 4th: Tyler Ploeger. MLS Career: 29 games; FC/gm: 23.4; Y/gm: 3.7; R: 10; pens: 6

SPORTING KANSAS CITY – OUT: FW Konrad Warzycha (R knee surgery); MF Craig Rocastle (R knee sprain); QUESTIONABLE: FW Omar Bravo (lower back contusion); PROBABLE: MF Ryan Smith (L groin strain)
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES – OUT: MF Andre Luiz (L knee injury); DOUBTFUL: DF Ike Opara (L foot injury)

SPORTING KANSAS CITY – Roger Espinoza (Honduras), Shavar Thomas (Jamaica) …
SAN JOSE – Ryan Johnson (Jamaica); Chris Wondolowski (USA)

KC: Milos Stojcev (through June 18)



  • ALL-TIME (44 meetings): Sporting 18 wins (4 shootout), 54 goals…Earthquakes 20 wins (3 shootout), 55 goals…Ties 6
  • AT KC (22 meetings): Sporting 14 wins (2 shootout), 36 goals … Earthquakes 7 wins (2 shootout), 22 goals … Ties 1
  • RETURN MATCH: 10/1: San Jose Earthquakes vs. Sporting Kansas City, 7:30 p.m. PT
  • LAST YEAR: 8/14: SJ 1, KC 0 (Wondolowski 35). 10/23: KC 4, SJ 1 (Diop 36, 60, 76; own goal 90 – Wondolowski 70)
  • San Jose hasn’t won on their last five trips to Kansas City, since a 2-0 victory in 2004 – the last win by a road team in the series.
  • Kansas City last won at San Jose in 2000. The Quakes have won eight of the last 12 home meetings vs. KC, with four draws, including all three encounters since San Jose returned to the league.
  • Coaches record: Peter Vermes v SJ: P3 W1 L2 D0 … Frank Yallop vs. DC: P22 W12 L6 D4


Sporting Kansas City put an end to their long winless run in emphatic fashion, rolling to a 4-1 victory over FC Dallas on Sunday evening at Pizza Hut Park. Sporting have 10 points from 12 matches on the season, sitting in ninth place in the Eastern Conference.


  • Sporting took the lead after 28 minutes when Graham Zusi fired a low shot from just outside the left corner of the box that beat Kevin Hartman inside the far post. But Brek Shea pulled FCD level just four minutes later, setting off on a powerful dribbling run through four SKC defenders before slotting home from inside the area.
  • Yet Sporting exploded after the break. A long corner from Zusi was volleyed back into the mixer by C.J. Sapong, and Aurelien Collin swooped in to turn it home in the 49th minute. Zusi then made it 3-1 on a remarkable free kick from just short of the center circle, which dipped and dove as it sailed over Hartman's head.
  • SKC were reduced to 10 men when Milos Stojcev was shown a second yellow card, but it was the visitors who completed the scoring when Luke Sassano ran onto a high ball out of midfield and looped it over Hartman as he came rushing off his line.
  • SKC manager Peter Vermes made five changes to the team that played to a scoreless draw with the Chicago Fire at Livestrong Sporting Park. Eric Kronberg and Seth Sinovic came in for the suspended Jimmy Nielsen and Michael Harrington, and in attack Milos Stojcev, Birahim Diop and C.J. Sapong replaced Kei Kamara, Teal Bunbury and Omar Bravo.
  • SPORTING KANSAS CITY (4-4-1-1): Eric Kronberg - Chance Myers, Aurelien Collin, Matt Besler, Seth Sinovic - Graham Zusi (Teal Bunbury 92+), Davy Arnaud (Kei Kamara 68), Milos Stojcev (sent off 56), Birahim Diop (Julio Cesar 79) - Luke Sassano - C.J. Sapong.


  • The 10-game winless streak snapped by Sporting in the win at FC Dallas was the longest in a single season in club history, and matched the club record set over the end of the 1998 season to the start of the 1999 campaign.
  • Zusi’s opening goal put Sporting KC into the lead for the first time in five games, since an own goal gave them an opener in a 4-1 loss at the LA Galaxy.
  • “It's a credit to the guys on the field for being prepared when they got the opportunity tonight,” Vermes said. “It was hot here and it was mostly in the sun the whole game, but the guys fought every roll of the ball. I'm extremely proud of the guys right now.”
  • Graham Zusi had scored one goal in league play before the hat trick – nearly a year earlier, to the day, coming on June 10, 2010.
  • “Both sides of the ball, he was very good and this is something we knew Zeus has in him,” Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes said. “We've talked about it with him for a while and everything he has came out tonight.”
  • In 2008, Zusi scored the game-winning goal at Pizza Hut Park in the NCAA Division I College Cup, leading the University of Maryland to victory against North Carolina. He scored the winning goal in overtime of the semifinals as well, against St. John’s.
  • “I guess you could say I feel comfortable feeling here,” Zusi said. “Same locker room, a little bit of a home-field advantage. It’s a fun place to play and obviously, it’s a great win for us.”
  • Midfielder Milos Stojcev made his first start since May 14. But he will miss out on the San Jose match through suspension after being sent off for two bookable offenses.
  • Eric Kronberg made a third consecutive appearance for Sporting Kansas City, starting in goal. The FC Dallas goal was the first allowed in 289 minutes by SKC, sixth-longest streak this season in MLS.


The San Jose Earthquakes stretched their undefeated streak to six games with a dominant 4-2 victory against D.C. United on Saturday evening at RFK Stadium. The Quakes have 19 points from 13 games on the season, sitting in sixth place in the Western Conference.


  • United struck first in the 13th minute. Josh Wolff sent in a low, curling ball from the left side that eluded four
  • Earthquakes defenders before Andy Najar slid it home at the back post.
  • But San Jose pulled level two minutes later. Steven Lenhart beat the offside trap to meet a Khari Stephenson through ball before rounding D.C. goalkeeeper Bill Hamid for a finish into an unguarded goal. The visitors then pulled level in the 22nd minute when Hamid couldn’t hold a Stephenson shot from just outside the box and Lenhart pounced on the rebound to finish.
  • Yet United leveled terms in the 34th minute. Blake Brettschneider collected a pass at the edge of the area, turned past Quakes defender Bobby Burling and fired low and hard inside goalkeeper Jon Busch's left post.
  • Shortly after the break, San Jose re-took the lead. Simon Dawkins played a one-two with Steven Lenhart in the area, slotting home the return pass from behind D.C.’s back line.
  • The Quakes finished off the match in the 60th minute. Steven Beitashour looped a cross back into the box from the left, and as Hamid came well off his line to challenge, Lenhart got there first to loop a header into the empty net for his hat trick.
  • Earthquakes boss Frank Yallop made no changes to the team that defeated the Houston Dynamo 2-0 at Buck Shaw Stadium.
  • SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (4-4-1-1): Jon Busch - Steven Beitashour, Jason Hernandez, Bobby Burling, Bobby Convey - Anthony Ampaipitakwong (Brandon McDonald 89), Sam Cronin, Brad Ring, Ramiro Corrales - Khari Stephenson (Simon Dawkins 48) - Steven Lenhart.


  • Lenhart scored his first professional hat trick – his first since he was Azusa Pacific University, he said. All four of Lenhart’s goals this season have come in the last two games, with 2010 MLS Golden Boot winner Chris Wondolowski with the U.S. national team.
  • Lenhart was named the MLS Player of the Week. He has made seven consecutive starts after missing the first five games of the season; the Quakes have lost just once with him in the starting XI.
  • “I never felt we weren’t going to score goals ever,” Earthquakes boss Frank Yallop said. “As soon as you add
  • Simon and Lenny to what we had with Wondo, we have guys who can score. Khari [Stephenson] has chipped in with a couple. And we’re always dangerous on set plays.”
  • The Quakes are riding a six-game unbeaten streak, with back-to-back wins twice and 14 goals scored in that stretch.
  • The Quakes also now lead the league with 1.54 goals per game – 20 goals total from 13 games. The LA Galaxy have actually scored more goals – 22 – but in four more games.
  • “We were always creating chances,” goalkeeper Jon Busch said. “We said that from Day One. It wasn’t like we weren’t creating, we just had to finish our chances. The past few weeks, we have, whether it’s been Wondo or Lenny or whoever else. Guys have made it a point to focus and finish our chances and it’s been great.
  • Dawkins scored for the second time in as many games, both after coming on as a substitute. He had missed five consecutive games through injury from April 30-May 28.
  • “It feels great [to score]. Any goal you score is great. It was an important one as well to put us 3-2 up, so it really got us going and then the fourth goal we scored really topped the game off,” Dawkins said.