Sporting KC take down Earthquakes in 1-0 shutout win

San Jose Earthquakes midfielder Jamiro Monteiro looks to pass the ball during the match at Children’s Mercy Park on Saturday Aug 27, 2022. (San Jose Earthquakes)

by Marko Ukalovic

A familiar result in a place that has been harsh for the San Jose Earthquakes.

Sporting Kansas City scored early in the first half and held on for a 1-0 shutout victory over the ‘Quakes on Saturday evening at Children’s Mercy Park.

San Jose is winless in seven of its last eight matches. Sporting KC has won three out of its last four matches.

Sporting KC (8-15-5-29 points) has points in 12 out of its past 13 (8W, 4D) matches against San Jose, including 14 of the past 17 at Children’s Mercy Park.

In their last four matches, Sporting KC has scored 10 goals in the first half during that stretch.

Dániel Sallói was at the right place at the right time during a clearing attempt by Paul Marie in the 10th minute. Roger Espinoza started the play with a cross into the middle of the box where Marie deflected the ball right onto the foot of Sallói who fired a shot into the right corner for his sixth goal of the season.

San Jose (6-12-9-27 points) had a golden opportunity to get on the board in the fifth minute. Benji Kikanovic sprung Jeremy Ebobisse on a breakaway. Ebobisse’s shot attempt was intended for the far left corner but sailed wide of the net.

“We had an opportunity from Cristian Espinoza, Jeremy [Ebobisse] had an opportunity, a set piece was another one and then we had another from Cade [Cowell] where Jebo [Jeremy Ebobisse] couldn’t get to it. It was an interesting game and I believe we did all we could do to win the game,” interim head coach Alex Covelo said.

Sporting KC took control of the second half as they had the pitch tilted inside the ‘Quakes zone for the majority of the half by creating numerous scoring chances only to have ‘Quakes goalkeeper JT Marcinkowski keep the ball out of the net.

The home team thought they had doubled their lead in the 58th minute when Graham Zusi floated in a cross to an unmarked Nicolas Isimat-Mirin who one touched the ball into the back of the net. However, after a VAR review, the play was determined offsides.

San Jose had a chance for the equalizer in the 82nd when they were awarded a free kick just outside the box. However, Ebobisse’s attempt went beyond the net to the left side past an outstretched Sporting KC goalkeeper John Pulskamp.

“At this point in the season, anything besides three points is really frustrating. We obviously know that we only have seven games left now. I think this was a big opportunity tonight but then there’s another one next Sunday against Vancouver,” Marcinkowski said.

Pulskamp was a perfect four for four to earn his first clean sheet of the season. Pulskamp has started the past five matches in place of injured Tim Melia. Marcinkowski made a season high seven saves on eight shots in the losing effort.

Oskar Aegren started at center back for San Jose in place of Nathan who was suspended for the match due to yellow card accumulation. It was Aegren’s third appearance for San Jose.

GAME NOTES: San Jose finished with two corner kicks. Sporting KC had four.

San Jose is now 25-29-10 all-time vs. Sporting KC, including an 8-22-2 record on the road.

The Earthquakes are now 6-8-6 in MLS play under Covelo.

Midfielder Jamiro Monteiro made his 100th MLS appearance (75 w/ PHI, 25 w/ SJ), and played the entire 90 minutes.

Seventeen-year-old rookie midfielder Niko Tsakiris made his fifth career appearance, entering the match as a substitute in the 73rd minute.

Tommy Thompson played in 178th games for San Jose, which ranks fourth all-time in franchise history.

UP NEXT: San Jose returns home to host the Vancouver Whitecaps on Sunday 9/4 at 6:30pm at Pay Pal Park.

Sporting KC rolls past Earthquakes 3-1

Visiting Sporting KC came in and took care of business against the San Jose Earthquakes at Pay Pal Park in San Jose on Sat May 22, 2021 (@BlueTestamentKC photo)

by Marko Ukalovic

SAN JOSE, Calif–Sporting KC scored three unanswered goals as they came back from an early deficit to defeat the San Jose Earthquakes 3-1 on Saturday evening at Pay Pal Park.

San Jose has lost three matches in a row after winning three of its first four games. Sporting KC have won two in a row and have outscored their opponent 6-1 in its last two matches.

The Earthquakes (3-4-0) grabbed the momentum early as they drew first blood in the fourth minute. Sporting KC conceded a corner kick. Off the set piece, Cristian Espinoza served the ball outside the box from the left end. Chofis gathered the ball, made one touch before chipping a shot into the upper left corner for his second goal of the season past Sporting KC goalie Tim Melia.

Sporting KC (4-2-1) answered back in the 15th minute thanks to a nice individual play by Alan Pulido, who was a thorn in the side of San Jose all game long. Pulido won a ball off Paul Marie and threaded a pass between three Quakes defenders over to Jaylin Lindsey. The Sporting KC defender got behind Cade Cowell and tapped the ball past Quakes goalie JT Marcinkowski, who challenged the shot, into the lower left corner for his first goal of the season.

Sporting KC were able to keep the momentum on their side for most of the first half thanks to some sloppy turnovers by San Jose.

Each goaltender made a big save in the opening 45 minutes. Melia stopped a chance from Cowell in the 24th minute making a sliding two-hand save on Cowell’s shot from 10 yards out. Marcinkowski made a kick out save on Pulido after a Quakes turnover led to a mini breakaway for Pulido down the center of the box.

San Jose held a slight edge in possession in the first half with a 51%-49% margin. Sporting KC out shot San Jose eight to four also in the first half.

The second half was tale of the Quakes missing out on its opportunities and Sporting KC taking advantage of theirs.

In the 59th minute, Chofis made nice serve into the middle where a wide open Andy Rios mistimed his header wide left instead of into an empty net.

Just a minute later, Sporting KC’s counter attack led to the game winning goal.  Dániel Sallói dribbled down the right wing before making a cross pitch pass over to Pulido. The native of Cuidad Victoria, Mexico made one move left before going right and firing the ball off the leg of Tommy Thompson that went under the crossbar in the upper right corner for his fourth goal of the season.

Another missed opportunity for San Jose came in the 72nd minute when Paul Marie made a nice move down the right wing and centered a ball into the box where a wide open Chris Wondolowski fired the ball wide left instead of into an empty net.

Sporting KC put the game away with its third unanswered goal three minutes later off another counter attack. This time it was Pulido setting up Sallói. Pulido dribbled in from the mid-line down the right side. He fed Sallói who made a one touch before bending the ball into the right corner past Marcinkowski for his third goal of the season.

Quakes head coach Matias Almeyda could only look on in helpless frustration as Sporting KC had his team on their heels for the majority of the match.

Melia finished the match with four saves, including the Quakes final good scoring chance when he stopped a point blank shot from Jackon Yueill in the 84th minute, on five shots to earn his fourth victory. Marcinkwoski (3-4) made four saves on seven shots in the losing effort.

GAME NOTES: San Jose had eight corner kicks. Sporting KC had two.

Chofis’ goal in the fourth minute snapped an 187 minute goal less draught by San Jose.

San Jose has scored eight goals at home, the most in the MLS.

The Quakes have conceded three goals after the 75th minute, also the most in MLS.

Wondo, who substituted in the 65th minute for Rios, made his 350th appearance for the Quakes.

UP NEXT: San Jose travels to Los Angeles to begin a three-game road trip as the take on the Galaxy on Saturday 5/29 at 4:00pm at Dignity Health Sports Park.

Sporting KC edges Earthquakes in penalties to cap off wild, thrilling match. Advance to the Western semi-finals

Sporting KC players celebrate after shutting the San Jose Earthquakes out in a 3-0 shootout following a 3-3 draw in Kansas City in the first round of the MLS playoffs (AP News photo)

by Marko Ukalovic

KANSAS CITY, Kan.-If Chris Wondolowski decides to call it a career, he’ll have one amazing, emotional memory to have finished it.

Wondo’s equalizer goal in the final seconds off stoppage time wasn’t enough to get his team to the next round of the playoffs. Sporting KC’s Tim Melia stopped all three penalty shots he faced in the penalty kick round to give his team a 3-3 (3-0 PK) victory over the San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday afternoon at Children’s Mercy Park.

Sporting KC advanced to the Western Conference semi-finals where they will host Minnesota United, who shutout the Colorado Rapids 3-0 in its first round matchup. San Jose hasn’t won a playoff match since 2010.

San Jose was all but dead with five minutes left in stoppage time when Gianluca Busio’s goal 36 seconds into stoppage time gave Sporting KC a 3-2 lead. Just moments before Busio’s goal, Wondo’s header from point blank range was knocked away by Melia and off the left goal post that led to Sporting KC’s counter attack.

Matias Almeyda’s squad had the “Goonies never say die” attitude with seconds remaining in the six minute of stoppage when Cristian Espinoza sent in a left footed cross to where only Wondolowski could get a header on it and into the lower left corner of the net sending the game into extra time.

It was only Wondo’s second career post-season goal but the biggest of the match for San Jose.

The Quakes had a golden opportunity in the 97th minute when Espinoza led a two-on-one counter attack with Wondo. Espinoza raced down the pitch for 60 yards with a Sporting KC defender draped all over him before his shot attempt went wide left.

San Jose had Sporting KC on the ropes during both 15-minute halves of extra time but could not get the winning goal despite maintaining the majority of the possession in the final 30 minutes.

“I’d like to congratulate Sporting Kansas City for making it through. What I told the players is what I feel: I felt like we gave our last drop of sweat until the last second. It was a positive year. We competed in two tournaments and in both of them we competed. For moments it seemed like San Jose was dead, but we came back,” Almeyda said.

Melia, who is one of the best goal keepers when it comes to shootouts. The veteran goalkeeper stopped attempts from Oswaldo Alanís, Jackson Yueill and Espinoza. Melia’s teammates took care of their end of the shootout with goals from Johnny Russell, Ilie Sánchez and Khiry Shelton.

Sporting KC took advantage of the Quakes deer in the headlights start to the match. In the fouth minute, Russell sent in a cross off a corner kick where Roger Espinoza headed into the back corner of the net past Quakes goalkeeper J.T. Marcinkowski for his first career playoff goal.

San Jose came into the match having been the worst team in the MLS with goals conceded off set pieces (10) while Sporting KC came in as the best team in the MLS scoring off set pieces (12).

The Quakes stormed back in the 22nd minute when Espinoza sent in a cross that Carlos Fierro’s attempt deflected off the face of a Sporting KC defender into the back of the net. Fierro was credited with his first career playoff goal.

San Jose gained its only lead in the 35th minute off a quick counter attack. Espinoza once again led the charge down the right side where his cross found a wide open Shea Salinas into the middle from 10 yards out and Salinas buried the ball past Melia for a 2-1 lead.

“Yeah, it was wild,” said Salinas. “For me, it was an extremely emotional game just not knowing how many more of these opportunities I’m going to have. To be 2-2 when I was subbed off, I was excited for Cade [Cowell] because I know he can make a difference, but it was also really difficult because I now didn’t have control. It was emotional, but for us to fight back, the cross from Cristian [Espinoza], and the goal from Wondo [Chris Wondolowski] there at the end was just insane. My heart still hurts a little bit from the game, but it was an awesome experience.”

It didn’t take long for Sporting KC to regain the momentum in the second half. Once again off a corner kick. This time Busio crossed the ball into the middle where Ilie headed the ball off the shoulder of Alanís into the back of the net for the equalizer.

The Man of the Match, Melia finished the evening with five official saves before the shootout in earning the victory. Marcinkowski also finished with fives saves in the losing effort.

If this was Wondolowski’s last match of his storied career he leaves the game as the MLS All-Time goal scorer with 166 goals.

“Spent. I think that’s the best emotion to describe it right now,” said Wondo when asked what emotions he was feeling after the game. “We all left it out there for 120 minutes, and to be honest, I think both teams did. I think it was one of the cleanest and most physical playoff games. I thought both teams came to tackle but still out there playing the game. We’re connecting passes. Do I wish we won? Yes, absolutely. I think that we did a lot of correct things and things that we’re proud of, but in the long run, we didn’t do enough.”

Wondo also said he still has passion for the game and would love to come back but hasn’t made that decision just yet.

“I know that the door is open, but I was fully committed to putting everything I have into this year, and I did. Now I need to re-evaluate. I just want to re-evaluate everything: my personal life, my life where I want to be, and also where the club is to see the direction that it’s going.”

GAME NOTES: San Jose finished with six corner kicks. Sporting KC had five.

San Jose is now 4-8-2 when they have conceded the first goal of the match.

The Earthquakes now hold a 12-13-1 overall postseason record, including a 4-10-0 record in true road matches.

This was the fifth time in Quakes history to go to overtime and first since Nov. 15, 2003. It also marked the first time in Earthquakes history that a postseason match was decided by penalty kicks.

San Jose scored 3+ goals in a playoff match for the eighth time in club history and first time since Nov. 4, 2010. It also marked just the fourth time in club history the team has scored twice in the first half of a playoff match and first time since Nov. 23, 2003.

Espinoza was involved in all three goals, tallying two assists. He became the first player to record 2+ assists in a single playoff match for the Earthquakes since Brian Mullan on Nov. 23, 2003.

At 37 years and 299 days, Wondolowski became the oldest player in Earthquakes history and sixth oldest player in MLS history to score in the postseason. His goal, scored with 96:49 on the clock, was the third-latest non-overtime goal in MLS playoff history and the second-latest lead-changing goal.

Fierro tallied one goal and one assist, both firsts of his MLS playoff career. He became the fifth player in club history to tally at least one goal and one assist in a playoff match, joining Bobby Convey, Landon Donovan (4), Jamil Walker and Manny Lagos.

Cade Cowell became the youngest player in club history to make a postseason appearance at 17 years and 40 days.

Andy Rios tallied an assist on Wondolowski’s goal, the first assist of his MLS playoff career.

San Jose Earthquakes podcast with Marko Ukalovic: Quakes should be at full strength for playoff on Nov 22 in KC

The San Jose Earthquakes stadium will sit silent throughout the playoffs as the Earthquakes will be traveling for all of the playoffs which it opens on Sat Nov 22 against Sporting KC (@ SJEarthquakes photo)

On the San Jose Earthquakes podcast with Marko:

#1 The San Jose Earthquakes opened the last game of the season against the Seattle Sounders without Jackson Yueill, Andy Rios, and Carlos Fierro due to yellow card accumulations and an injury.

#2 Marko, talk about Shane Salinas, Luis Felipe, and Cade Cowell who replaced Yueill, Rios, and Fierro.

#3 Although the playoffs weren’t at stake as both teams had clinched for post season already. What would you say were some of the take aways in the Seattle match as the Quakes head into the playoffs.

#4 Chris Wondolowski had been key in the home stretch of the season scoring twice in a 2-0 win over Real Salt Lake Oct 28th and had a goal in the 3-2 win over LAFC on Wed Nov 4th.

#5 The Quakes next opponent of the first round of the playoffs on Sat Nov 22 Sporting KC who finished first in the Western Conference with three straight wins to finish the regular season. Taking that into account what are the Quakes odds?

Join Marko each Friday night for the SJ Earthquakes podcasts at

Quakes come back once, but not twice, in 2-1 loss

photo from San Jose Earthquakes forward Tommy Thompson, right, reaches in to stop Colorado Rapids forward Andre Shinyashiki who drives to the net in the first half of an MLS soccer match Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019, in Commerce City, Colo.

By Pearl Allison Lo

The San Jose Earthquakes fell behind on the road for the fourth straight time as the Colorado Rapids were successful for their second game in a row Saturday.

The result put an end to the Quakes’ five-game unbeaten streak. Vako was the lone scorer with his fourth goal in five games. Colorado’s Diego Rubio had a goal and an assist. 

In the first half, San Jose led possession (64.4%-35.6%) and shots 11-7, two of them hitting the post and Chris Wondolowski (back in the lineup) led all with four shots, his frustration clear after his attempts. 

One of the two posts hit, came in the 21st minute from Judson, his rebound going straight to Florian Jungwirth and then to keeper Clint Irwin. 

Vako, Salinas and Wondolowski had a try at tic-tac-toe, but it fell short with Wondolowski in the 27th minute. Judson was then able to stop Kei Kamara at the other end.

Before two minutes of stoppage were added, the Rapids were the first to score this time as  Kellyn Acosta scored his first goal since May 11, Kamara taking a piggyback ride in celebration.

In the second half, the Quakes maintained their possession advantage, but the Rapids were much better. 

San Jose’s Danny Hoesen and Carlos Fierro (debut) came in as substitutes in the 58th minute.  

Right after Andre Shinyashiki hit the post, Magnuss Eriksson sent the ball down to Hoesen, who with his back to net, made the much shorter pass up to Vako. Vako kicked at net and Irwin did not even have the chance to make a save attempt in the 62nd minute. 

Colorado went back up 2-1 when Rubio received the pass from Keegan Rosenberry with space. Rubio was easily able to maneuver himself into an advantageous position in the 73rd minute. It was Rubio’s third straight goal in as many games, the first of the streak beginning against the Quakes and looking back further, his sixth goal in the past eight games. 

The Rapids were able to maintain their lead through five more minutes of stoppage time in the second half.

Up Next: San Jose continues their three-game road trip next Saturday versus Sporting Kansas City at 5:30 pm.