Tired of “kissing its sister,” Sporting Kansas City seeks its first result — and first goal — of the season when it hosts the unbeaten San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday evening at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kan.
Sporting (0-0-2, 2 points) has yet to score or yield a goal so far in the 2017 season.
The Earthquakes (2-0-0, 6 points) shut out the Montreal Impact 1-0 in their first game before overcoming a 2-0 deficit to defeat the Vancouver Whitecaps 3-2.
Sporting KC ranks second in MLS in both shot attempts (29) and average possession (65 percent), but hasn’t been able to dent the net.
“I won’t sugarcoat it,” Sporting manager Peter Vermes said. “You have to score.”
The good news for Sporting is that it has yet to allow a goal. In the home opener a week earlier, Sporting limited FC Dallas — last year’s Supporters Shield winners — to just six shot attempts.
It was the first time since 2012 that Sporting has opened the season with consecutive shutouts. The club has not allowed a regular-season goal in the last 367 minutes, dating to last October.
“From a defensive perspective, I feel very good,” Vermes said. “I think that has a lot to do with us not giving the ball away in critical areas of the field.”
San Jose won its first two games at home, so the trip to Kansas City is its first road excursion of the season. Anibal Godoy has scored both game-winning goals for San Jose. He leads MLS with successful passes and duels won.
Chris Wondolowski, who scored the first goal against Vancouver, is fourth all-time in goals in MLS history. If Wondolowski scores Saturday, he will tie Landon Donovan for the MLS record with his 63rd road goal in his career. Coincidentally, Donovan scored his 63rd road goal against Sporting.
The Earthquakes hope to keep rolling in Kansas City. “I think the biggest thing is remembering what we’re doing that’s keeping us successful,” San Jose midfielder Shea Salinas said. “Right now we’re pressing teams well and we’re very energetic.”
Sporting hopes recent trends will continue. It is 7-0-3 in its last 10 games at Children’s Mercy Park, while San Jose is 1-11-7 in its last 19 road contests. Sporting has won 11 of the last matches at home against San Jose.
Sporting Kansas City remains without forward Diego Rubio (torn ACL), while Saad Abdul-Salaam (thigh strain), Cameron Iwasa (hamstring strain) and Erik Palmer-Brown (ankle sprain) are listed as questionable. Forward Quincy Amarikwa and midfielder Marc Pelosi are sidelined for San Jose with long-term knee injuries.