Earthquakes-Sporting Kansas City Preview

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Peter Vermes is unsure whether he will be able to take his place on the sidelines for Sporting Kansas City against the San Jose Earthquakes, but his side will keep pushing.

Sporting KC coach Vermes is in health and safety protocols relating to the coronavirus pandemic, along with two players.

The incident has hampered preparations for the midweek game against the Earthquakes, Vermes acknowledged.

“It’s going to definitely cause shuffling in the line-up, plus with players away on international duty,” he said. “But we’ll put a good team out on the field as we always try to.”

Sporting KC are on a three-match winning run and the players still available are certainly determined to unsure a tricky week does not see their season come off the rails.

SKC are three points behind Western Conference leaders the Seattle Sounders with a game in hand.Winger Johnny Russell said: “We’ve got a big squad for reasons like this.

“Everyone knows with what’s going on in the world now, circumstances change and change quickly. We have more than enough quality players who can step in.

“We have a lot of games coming up. This is where we’re going to get tested as a squad.

“If we continue to pick up points the way we have been, this can set you apart from the pack. A lot of teams will look at it that way.”

They should certainly fancy their chances against the Earthquakes, who have not won in nine games – a stretch that includes a home defeat to Sporting KC.

San Jose’s most recent game – a 1-1 draw with the Colorado Rapids – was most notable for coach Matias Almeyda’s translator being sent off.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Sporting Kansas City – Johnny Russell

Russell’s actions must continue to back up his words. The winger returned to the line-up at the start of June and has a goal and two assists in five games since then, his sole strike teeing up the win against the LA Galaxy last time out.

San Jose Earthquakes – Eduardo ‘Chofis’ Lopez

Chofis is starting to combine with Cade Cowell, which provides Almeyda with some encouragement. “Chofis is a player that needs to have partnerships,” he said after a goal against Colorado that the Quakes hope will provide a platform for more.

KEY OPTA FACTS

– Sporting Kansas City have lost only one of their past 15 home matches against San Jose (D1, advancing on penalties, L1) dating back to September 2004.

– Sporting Kansas City are unbeaten in 10 straight regular season home matches (W8 D2) dating back to October 2020. Kansas City last had a longer regular season unbeaten run at home when they went 24 straight without defeat at Children’s Mercy Park from June 2016 to September 2017.

– San Jose are winless in nine consecutive games after a 1-1 draw at Colorado on Saturday (D3 L6). The Quakes have managed to draw consecutive matches after taking just one point from their previous seven games.

– Daniel Salloi has been involved in five of Sporting Kansas City’s last six home goals (four scored, one assisted). Only Raul Ruidiaz (eight) has scored more goals at home this MLS season than Salloi (five).

– Chris Wondolowski’s stoppage-time equaliser in last season’s playoffs marked the ninth different season that Wondolowski has scored against Sporting (including playoffs) in his career, including in each of the past three campaigns. Wondolowski has scored against just one team in more individual seasons, finding the net at least once in 10 different campaigns against Seattle.

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