Friday, December 1, 2023
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MLS Preview: San Jose Earthquakes (10-10-14) at Sporting Kansas City (12-14-8)

Sporting Kansas City has lost just one of its last 20 home matches against the San Jose Earthquakes dating back to August 2004, including advancing in a three single-leg knockout ties in that time (W16 D3, including penalty shoot-out wins in the 2017 US Open Cup Semifinals and the first round of the 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs.

Sporting Kansas City qualified for the playoffs despite collecting just three points from it first 10 matches (W0 D3 L7) this year, not winning a league match until May 7. Sporting Kansas City is the first team in MLS history to reach the postseason despite collecting fewer than five points from its first 10 matches of a season.

The San Jose Earthquakes won three of its 17 matches in the second-half of the regular season (D9 L5) but reached the playoffs with six draws in its last eight (W1 L1). Since winning MLS Cup in 2003, the San Jose Earthquakes have advanced just once in six playoff appearances, including eliminations by Sporting Kansas City in 2004 and 2020.

Johnny Russell’s brace on Decision Day took him to eight goals on the season, the fifth time in his six MLS seasons that he’s scored at least eight goals and third in a row. Russell is one of three players (Raul Ruidiaz, Gyasi Zardes) to score at least eight goals in five of the last six seasons dating back to 2018.

Cristian Espinoza has scored (5) or assisted (7) on 12 of the San Jose Earthquakes last 15 regular-season goals, including scoring the lone goal in a 1-1 draw with Austin FC on Decision Day. Nine of the San Jose Earthquakes’ 1 wins this season came in matches in which Espinoza contributed to at least one goal.

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