Build KCI Match Preview: Sporting in third place for Saturday’s road test in San Jose
Sporting Kansas City during the San Jose earthquake
2021 MLS regular season | Match 7
Saturday, May 22, 2021 | 9 p.m. CT
PayPal Park | San Jose, California
English television | Bally Sports Kansas City
English television | Bally Sports Midwest
Streaming | BallySports.com and Bally Sports App
English radio | Sports radio 810 WHB
Spanish radio | La Grande 1.40 p.m.
How to see | Five things to know | By the numbers | Compliance Notes
BallySports.com | MatchCenter | Media assets
Two founding members of Major League Soccer will shut their horns at PayPal Park on Saturday night when third place in Sporting Kansas City (3-2-1, 10 points) visits the fifth San Jose Earthquakes (3-3-0, 9 points) . in a convincing clash of the Western Conference at 9 p.m. CT.
Bally Sports Kansas City and Bally Sports Midwest will be broadcasting three hours of live television coverage on Saturday starting at 8:30 p.m. CT. Viewers in the Bally Sports Midwest viewing area will also be able to stream the promotion on BallySports.com and the Bally Sports app, while Sports Radio 810 WHB (English) and La Grande 1340 AM (Spanish) will broadcast local radio programs. Backers can access the Sporting KC app for additional in-game updates and an exclusive opportunity offered by Mainstreet Credit Union.
No other pub, premier restaurant and sports entertainment venue in downtown Kansas City is celebrating its much-anticipated reopening with the official watch party for Saturday’s game. From 8:30 p.m. CT until the full-time whistle, No Other Pub will be serving a variety of specialty foods and beverages, including $ 2 off appetizers, $ 4 Michelob Ultras, and $ 4 select call cocktails. Sporting will also be running numerous ticketing giveaways for the club’s home game against Houston Dynamo FC on May 29th.
Sporting are a week away from their best performance of the season after Vancouver Whitecaps FC were sent 3-0 on Sunday afternoon at Children’s Mercy Park. Winger Daniel Salloi scored early, striker Alan Pulido scored a brace on his way to MLS Team of the Week and goalkeeper Tim Melia shutout on his debut in 2021 after returning from injury. Manager Peter Vermes’ team finished the game with an amazing pass accuracy of 91.6%, the second highest clip in team history since Opta started tracking the stats in 2010.
Under the guidance of third-year head coach Matias Almeyda, who won the Concacaf Champions League 2018 with Pulido as manager of Chivas de Guadalajara, San Jose opened the 2021 season with three of its first four games, including two comfortable home wins over FC Dallas (3 -1) and DC United (4-1). The last two games at PayPal Park ended in defeat, however, as Seattle Sounders FC won 1-0 on May 12 and the Portland Timbers won 2-0 three days later. San Jose’s unique high-pressure man-marking system has often found expression in high-profile games: since Almeyda took over the game in 2019, earthquake games have averaged 3.39 goals per game, the second most common in the MLS.
Saturday’s showdown will see two of the MLS’s brightest rising stars face off, while 18-year-old Sporting midfielder Gianluca Busio and 17-year-old San Jose striker Cade Cowell will battle it out. Busio has started all six games this season as one of the key contributors to the team, able to play multiple midfield and attacking positions. The Sporting KC Academy product scored once, created six chances and won the team’s best seven tackles. In San Jose, Cowell has grown into a groundbreaking player since making his debut last summer. The US youth international has two goals and three assists this season and has a speed and physicality that will surpass his years.
Although 38-year-old Chris Wondolowski has not played a game for San Jose this season, he remains one of the most clinical attackers in the MLS. The league’s top goalscorer to date was a reminder of his quality with two late goals in San Jose’s 2-1 win over Real Salt Lake on May 7, scoring 11 goals in 20 MLS games against Sporting.
Sporting has played 6: 1: 3 against the earthquakes in the last 10 competitions since September 2016. The only victory in San Jose was scored 4-1 on April 20, 2019. Kansas City is the last with 2-1: 1 four visits to PayPal Park after 18 wins in 18 games in San Jose from 2000 to 2016.
The last time these clubs met on November 22, 2020, Children’s Mercy Park hosted one of the wildest MLS postseason games of recent times. Melia saved all three penalties in a crucial penalty shootout when Sporting beat San Jose 3-0 on penalties after a 3-3 draw in round one of the Audi MLS Cup playoffs. A 2-2 late-stage draw, Busio became the youngest MLS player to score and assist in a playoff game by giving the hosts a 3-2 lead in added time in the second half. In order not to be outdone, Wondolowski saved an equalizer in the 97th minute to force extra time.
After a goalless overtime, Melia delivered the heroics by saving San Jose’s Osvaldo Alanis, Jackson Yueill and Cristian Espinoza penalties to improve to 6-0 on penalties over the course of his career. Johnny Russell, Ilie Sanchez and Khiry Shelton converted all their attempts to defend Sporting to the next round.