Sporting KC heads to San Jose clinging to playoff spot

Sporting KC also is riding a 12-game road winless streak dating back to early April. 

John Rieger/John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Hanging on to the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, a desperate Sporting Kansas City travels for a Saturday game at San Jose, a site where Kansas City has not won since 2000.

To make things worse, SKC also is riding a 12-game road winless streak dating back to early April. SKC leads Seattle by five points, but the Sounders have two games in hand.

An equally desperate San Jose Earthquakes squad, six points below the red line, are hoping to make the MLS playoffs for the first time since 2012, and the three points that would come with a home win would be very handy.

Both clubs enter Saturday’s match on five-game winless streaks in all competitions. Sporting (11-12-7, 40 points) settled for a pair of home draws in its last two matches. The ninth-place Earthquakes (7-8-13, 34 points) have won just twice over the last four months

The problem for San Jose has been the offense. The Earthquakes are last in MLS with 0.96 goals per game and have scored just eight times over their last 10 matches — a stretch that includes six ties and two defeats. They have even struggled at home, winning just one of their last eight at Avaya Stadium (1-2-5).

Sporting had hoped to build on its home success, but back-to-back draws against the Houston Dynamo and Los Angeles Galaxy have left Kansas City searching for answers on the road. The fact that both games saw the opposition score in the closing moments — Houston late in stoppage time — makes the draws harder to accept.

SKC’s Dom Dwyer scored his team-leading 14th goal of the year against Los Angeles, moving into the top five on the MLS scoring charts. Jacob Peterson extended a career high with his sixth goal of the season, five of which have come since July 24. Benny Feilhaber has notched five assists in his last seven appearances.

U.S. international forward Chris Wondolowski leads San Jose with 10 goals, but seven of those came before the end of April.