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Thursday, August 5, 2021

Second-Place Sporting Back Home Wednesday To Host San Jose Earthquakes

Following a two-week break for the Concacaf Gold Cup group stage, Sporting Kansas City (8-3-2, 26 points) will continue their pursuit of first place in the Supporters’ Shield table when the San Jose Earthquakes (3-7-3, 12 points) visit Children’s Mercy Park for a 7:30 p.m. CT kickoff on Wednesday.

Tickets for the Western Conference clash are available via match sponsor SeatGeek, including Family Four-Packs bundling four general admission tickets in the South Stand, four Coca-Cola products and four Domino’s pizzas. Fans in attendance will also have the opportunity to receive a COVID-19 vaccination starting at 6 p.m. CT on the Mazuma Plaza, administered by the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas.

Sporting’s first fixture in 17 days will be shown live on Bally Sports Kansas City, Bally Sports Midwest Plus, BallySports.com and the Bally Sports app with three hours of live coverage starting at 7 p.m. CT. The contest will also air locally on Sports Radio 810 WHB (English) and La Grande 1340 AM (Spanish), with The Final Whistle postgame show immediately following on 810 WHB. The Sporting KC app will provide additional in-game updates and unique offers, including a digital coupon for free Coca-Cola two-liters courtesy of Price Chopper.

Sporting last took the field on the Fourth of July when they posted a 2-0 road win over the LA Galaxy with seven saves from standout goalkeeper Tim Melia and goals from captain Johnny Russell and fellow forward Khiry Shelton. The team has enjoyed a period of rest and recuperation since then and can soar atop the Supporters’ Shield standings with a win over San Jose and a New England Revolution loss or draw at Inter Miami CF on Wednesday night.

Seeking their first four-game regular season winning streak since August 2018, Sporting own a 6-1-1 record since mid-May and sit just three points back of first-place Seattle Sounders FC. Manager Peter Vermes’ side leads MLS in several attacking metrics, including goals (24), goals per match (1.85), expected goals (26.2), shots per game (16.8) and chances created per game (11.9). Winger Daniel Salloi has led the way with seven goals and three assists as one of 13 Sporting players on the MLS All-Star voting ballot.

The hosts will enter Wednesday high on confidence, having gone 8-0-2 in their last 10 regular season home matches since last October. Sporting have also scored in a club-record 22 straight regular season home games dating back to Aug. 10, 2019. The Earthquakes, meanwhile, have endured significant troubles on their travels to Kansas City over the last decade and a half, prevailing just once in their last 16 visits across all competitions.

No team in MLS has more victories (six), points (19) or goals (20) since mid-May than Sporting. The Earthquakes, however, have failed to win each of their last eight matches during the same time period. After starting the season 3-1-0 under third-year head coach Matias Almeyda, San Jose has gone 0-5-3 and slipped to 11th in the West. Among the team’s bright spots, 17-year-old wunderkind Cade Cowell leads the team in both goals (four) and assists (four). Almeyda’s men have also picked up back-to-back road results, tying Minnesota United FC 2-2 on July 3 and playing the Colorado Rapids to a 1-1 stalemate on Saturday.

Sporting and San Jose are slated to meet for the third time in less than eight months. The most recent tilt saw Kansas City claim a 3-1 road win on May 22 behind goals from Salloi, Alan Pulido and Jaylin Lindsey. The sides also squared off in the opening round of the Audi 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs at Children’s Mercy Park, scrapping to a 3-3 thriller before Melia saved all three San Jose penalty kicks to give his team an unforgettable shootout victory. Sporting are 7-1-3 in their last 11 matches against San Jose in all competitions.

Wednesday marks the start of a busy run of games for Sporting, who will play nine times in 32 days between July 21 and Aug. 21. That ledger includes eight league fixtures and a highly anticipated Leagues Cup battle against LIGA MX giant Club Leon on Aug. 10 at Children’s Mercy Park. The squad’s depth with therefore be put to the test, especially with Mexico’s Pulido and U.S. midfielder Gianluca Busio on international duty at the Gold Cup and Lindsey (hamstring), Gadi Kinda (foot), Remi Walter (knee) and Roberto Puncec (undisclosed) all listed as questionable on the club’s player availability report.

On the San Jose sideline, Tommy Thompson is out with a knee ailment, U.S. midfielder Jackson Yueill is absent on Gold Cup duty, and Carlos Fierro (thigh), Judson (lower back) and Benji Kikanovic (thigh) are all questionable.

Derek Nesterhttps://sunflowerstateradio.com
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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