The Quakes will try to rekindle some magic against Western Conference rival Sporting KC tonight.
Kansas City is enjoying a three-game win streak versus San Jose, and currently sit in first place in the West with an impressive 7-4-5 record and 26 total points. However, the road has not been kind to Sporting, who has just one win and six points in eight road games this season. Prior to KC’s current win streak, San Jose had their own three-game win streak against Sporting, including a 5-0 shelling in August, 2015.
Line Up Predictions
Sporting will have a potent lineup ready to challenge a depleted San Jose defense. Dom Dwyer should take advantage of the much slower Victor Bernardez and could see a brace. Behind Dwyer is an all-star lineup assembled by Sporting KC head coach and general manager Peter Vermes. Expect a 4-3-3 with Dwyer, Gerso Fernandes, and Jimmy Madranda up top. Roger Espinosa Matt Besler, and Benny Feilhaber should start in the midfield. Defensively, Graham Zusi, (former Quake) Ike Opara, Kevin Ellis, and Seth Sinovic should see the XI. However, Vermes has been toying with slotting Besler as a center-back in place of Kevin Ellis, with Ilie Sanchez assuming the defensive mid roll; I doubt he’ll do this as the Quakes probably won’t be attacking much due to a focus on defense containing the three Sporting forwards. Tim Melia will start in goal.
The Quakes should come out with the bucket 4-4-2, as they will need all the defensive help they can muster. The Quakes are missing three defensive players: center-back Flo Jungwirth sprained his ankle in Open Cup play on Wednesday and is out for the foreseeable future, fullback Kip Colvey is in Russia for the Confederations Cup, and defensive mid Darwin Ceren is on a red card suspension. Expect Bingham to start with Cato at right-back, Andres Imperiale starting place of the injured Jungwirth at center-back with Bernardez, and Lima as left-back. Darwin Ceren and Fatai Alashe should start as defensive mids, with Hyka and Thompson starting on the wings. I’m hopeful Hoesen sees the starting XI with Wondo at forward as Urena has just one goal and two assists in 15 games this season.
Apparently word got out that some Quakes players were partying up in Portland after the match. The Ultras even made a post about it, and protested the first half the Quakes U.S. Open Cup game because of it. The team sounds like it’s in disarray, and it’s gut-check time. Will the team come together and play hard, or will this season’s demons condemn San Jose to their fourth straight loss to Sporting, and possibly put the team well below the playoff line? I’m guessing the latter.
Simply put, Vermes has proven himself to be a competent coach and team architect. The dude has built a winner from scratch, and the fact that Sporting is in first place is no accident. With reports of the player partying in Portland, I’m questioning Dom’s control over his players. He also doesn’t seem to be equipped to deal with MLS 2.0 as 2017 is the worst start since his return to San Jose. The Quakes are out-matched, and routine injuries have left the Quakes performing lineup triage yet again. I predict the team will give 100%, but without Flo, it won’t be enough. 2-1 Sporting KC, Dwyer with the brace, Wondo scores a PK (the Quakes have yet to attempt a PK all season; they’re due).