The San Jose Earthquakes lost in a penalty-kick shoot-out to Sporting Kansas City at Sporting Park. The loss eliminated the Quakes from U.S. Open Cup play, and jeopardizes any hope of silverware for the 2017 season.
While the scoreline may reflect a close game (1-1 after 120 minutes of play, 5-4 in the shoot-out), the game was anything but close. Sporting KC dominated the match by a wide margin, including having the edge on shots 31-11 (12-4 on frame), possession (68%-32%), passes (753-364), corners (15-1), and key passes (22-8).
Sporting KC left no room for chance as they fielded a lineup of regular starters including ‘keeper Tim Melia, defenders Graham Zuzi, Matt Besler, and Ike Opara, and midfielder/attacking players Benny Feilhaber, Gerso Fernandes, Roger Espinosa, and Diego Rubio. The Quakes mainly featured players that have not seen many starts this season: Andrew Tarbell, newly signed designated player Vako, newly signed center-back Francois Affolter, super-sub Shea Salinas, and Danny Hoesen. Noticably missing from the XI were Chris Wondolowski, Victor Bernardez, Anibal Godoy, David Bingham, and Jahmir Hyka.
While the team played with heart and passion, and were able to take Sporting KC to a PK shoot-out, Sporting KC’s veterans outplayed San Jose’s. Both Chris Wondolowski and Victor Bernardez, who were subbed into the match, failed to convert their PK opportunities, which led to the Sporting KC win.
The loss was not in vain as San Jose’s corps of youth proved they have what it takes to carry the team into the future. Defenders Nick Lima and Francois Affolter, midfielders Tommy Thompson and Jackson Yueill, and goal-keeper Andrew Tarbell all started for San Jose and average just 23 years of age.
The Quakes’ next match is at the Houston Dynamo on Saturday, August 12th at 5:30pm.