SAN JOSE – The earthquakes got the start they wanted against Sporting Kansas City on Saturday night.
But Sporting quickly negated a fifth-minute goal from Javier Eduardo Lopez, aka Chofis, in yet another disastrous home game for San Jose.
The earthquakes (3-4-0, nine points) dropped their third game in a row at PayPal Park and dropped to seventh place in the Western Conference. San Jose is now playing three on the street, starting Saturday against the Los Angeles Galaxy. They won’t return home until June 26 – the only home game in the next seven Major League Soccer games.
The brutal route could determine whether the Quakes are a playoff team. San Jose was one of the MLS’s biggest surprises after winning three of the first four games of the 2021 season.
And they looked good in a 1-0 loss to first-placed Seattle Sounders FC on May 12th. Since then, San Jose has won 5-1.
“We got off to a great start, but we need to make changes quickly after these defeats,” said coach Matias Almeyda in Spanish through a translator.
Sporting KC (4-2-1, 13 points) took control of the game in the 15th minute when Jaylin Lindsey equalized with Alan Pulido’s intelligent service.
Pulido proved too much to defend San Jose while Sporting got a grip on the Quakes’ attempts to launch an offensive with his high pressure marker. Pulido scored the game-winner in the 60th minute when he collected a pass from Daniel Salloi, falsified left to find some space, and hit a shot from the top of the box that deflected defender Tommy Thompson into the net.
Despite being thoroughly pitted, San Jose had its chances. Goalkeeper Tim Melia was forced to make four saves, including a one-handed stop of a Cristian Espinoza shot in the 52nd minute. MLS top scorer Chris Wondolowski had good chances in the penalty area in the second half, but his open shot went wide to the left. Andy Rios missed a header in front of goal after a nice serve from Chofis.
“I think we do well to turn teams on their backs and we create opportunities. We just have to put them down,” said Thompson, who was one of the better Quakes players on Saturday.
Sallói scored in the 75th minute and deflected a shot just out of reach for goalkeeper JT Marcinkowski, who had little chance of stopping one of Sporting’s goals.
“Losing three home games after such a good start to the season is unacceptable,” said Thompson. “It feels like we’re running out.”
Almeyda’s conclusion: “We played two big teams in our last two games where they had few chances and still scored a goal. We had a lot of options, but we didn’t score. ”