This one was a long time coming. Sixteen years, to be exact.
Defender Kevin Ellis backheeled in Benny Feilhaber's corner kick in the 81st minute, giving Sporting Kansas City a 2-1 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday night – their first away win against San Jose since 2000.
Those three points lifted Sporting one spot to 5th place in the Western Conference on 43 points, giving them a huge boost in their bid for a sixth straight postseason appearance. San Jose stayed in 9th place in the West on 34 points, seven points removed from the final playoff berth with five matches to play.
Things got worse in the sixth minute, when Dom Dwyer ran onto Paulo Nagamura's curling ball and knocked a close-range header past San Jose 'keeper David Bingham for his 15th tally of the season and Sporting's first goal in four matches against San Jose.
The Quakes fought back and equalized with a pretty sequence in the 42nd minute, when Henok Goitom – who came on for Amarikwa in the wake of the early injury – left a perfect backheel that left Melia out of position and gave Simon Dawkins an easy tap-in.
All hopes of even one point disappeared for San Jose on Ellis' late winner, which reversed Sporting's recent trend of surrendering leads and settling for draws – and their far longer run of leaving the Bay Area without three points.
- 7' - SKC - Dom Dwyer (Paulo Nagamura)
- 42' - SJ - Simon Dawkins (Henok Goitom, Víctor Bernárdez)
- 81' - SKC - Kevin Ellis (Benny Feilhaber)
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DWYER CONTINUES LATE-SEASON TEAR: Dom Dwyer has now scored in three straight matches for Sporting, giving him 15 goals on the year in MLS play. Clearly, fatherhood agrees with Dwyer, who started the string the night before he and wife Sydney Leroux Dwyer welcomed son Cassius Cruz. He hasn't stopped scoring since.
SIX WITHOUT THREE: The Earthquakes' winless streak reached six matches with Saturday night's loss, but they haven't been bleeding goals over that span. The trouble has been in scoring them. San Jose haven't scored twice in a match since their last victory, a 2-0 decision over Vancouver on Aug. 12. Since then, they've been shut out three times, including a pair of scoreless draws, and scored just three goals over the course of the 0-3-3 streak.
REWIND TO 2000: Sporting Kansas City manager Peter Vermes has been part of the club's last two away victories over San Jose -- even though they came more than 16 years apart. Vermes anchored the back line for the then-Wizards in 2000, when they won the club's only Supporters' Shield and first MLS Cup.
- SJ: Kinnear deems Quakes' defeat to SKC "pretty crushing"
- SKC: Ellis' late winner gives SKC "wiggle room" in West