San Jose, CA (June 17, 2017)– Sporting KC and the San Jose Earthquakes played to a goalless draw on Saturday night. The scoreline wasn’t too indicative of the way the game was played. But we’re going to dive into five things that you can take-away from this match if you are a supporter of either squad.
San Jose Earthquakes vs Sporting KC: Five things to Take-away
The San Jose Earthquakes aren’t very good
They’ve fooled us a few times this year. The big win in Dallas, the 3-1 defeat over Portland Timbers. They are very good results. I won’t take anything away from how they played in those matches. But they have five wins. Five! Two of those came against 10 men for more than 100 minutes! They’ve won three times against 11 men, and twice against a “full-strength” team. Ironically, both have come on the road. But here is the thing. The Earthquakes have put in too many performances like the 3-0 loss to Colorado, the 2-0 loss in Portland, the loss in NYC, the list goes on. Too many bad performances out-weigh the good. At one point it just felt like they were an even mix of “Jekyll and Hyde.” Now they’re more Jeykll than Hyde, and that doesn’t bode well.
Sporting KC, for all their road dominance, have little to show
Sporting KC have now scored 3 goals in 810 minutes on the road, while allowing 8. They are near the top of the table thanks in large part to their stellar home form. That’s fine, that’s how most good teams do it anyways. But they haven’t been that great at picking up points on the road. They only have seven points from nine road matches. Not great. You would ideally like to average a point over each road game. If they can end that way, with their home record, they’ll be hosting a playoff game.
Andres Imperiale needs to play more
Andres Imperiale went 180 minutes between Wednesday night and Saturday, and I thought he was fantastic in both matches. If Kinnear is still looking to play four at the back (he did go with five on Wednesday, so who knows), I would advocate for Imperiale being paired with Bernardez. That could push Florian Jungwirth into the midfield, where his game is entirely suited for. He roves all over the place, makes tackles all over the place, and loves to get involved in the attack. He’d be great in the midfield, and Kinnear should try and take advantage of it when Jungwirth is healthy.
Latif Blessing has a ways to go, but he’s still pretty good
Before the season started, many were trying to get a beat on who Latif Blessing was, what he’d actually be able to do. Here’s the thing, he was a standout at 19 years old in a league that is no where near as polished as this league. It should’ve been expected that he wouldn’t be as polished technically when he came to the US. He’s grown leaps and bounds from what we saw in the pre-season. He’s starting to get a feel for the possession based system that Peter Vermes employs.
What his next step would be is learning the link up play between Dwyer and Feilhaber within the attacking third. While he was in the game, it felt like he would immediately look to dish the ball off to a supporting player to hold possession every time he got into a spot where he wasn’t sure what to do or where to go. You also saw what happened when Medranda came into the game. His link-up play with Dwyer created a few electric chances towards the end. Blessing needs to learn how to get those types of moves going. If he does, he could really be a big threat on the field.
The next match is a must win for San Jose
The Earthquakes are starting to waver at the bottom of the Western Conference Standings. They have a match upcoming with arguably the worst team in MLS in Real Salt Lake. They have to come away with a dominant three points. If they don’t it could very well be the axe for Dom Kinnear. Falling out of the playoff picture, coupled with the terrible losses in recent weeks already have him on a hot seat. A loss to Real Salt Lake would consign him to a fate that many are surprised he hasn’t faced already.