Although they’ve struggled mightily on the road, the San Jose Earthquakes have stayed in the playoff picture with a lengthy unbeaten streak at home that includes four consecutive victories.
Sporting Kansas City knows just how challenging it is to win in San Jose.
The Earthquakes will try to make it 12 straight home games without a loss by denying Kansas City its first road win in the series in 13 years Sunday night.
San Jose (8-10-6) had a season-best, three-game win streak snapped last Saturday in Vancouver with a 2-0 defeat, its fourth in a row away from home. The Earthquakes have one of the worst road records in MLS at 1-9-2, but they’re 7-0-4 in their last 11 home games.
They’ve scored 18 goals in 12 games at Buck Shaw Stadium this season, compared to seven in 12 road contests, and now seek their first five-game home win streak since June 18-Aug. 6, 2005.
“Any time we’re at home, we’re trying to protect our home field,” defender Steven Beitashour told the league’s website. “We’re definitely going for the win. If we get those 15 (points in the final five home games), it’d be making things a lot easier for the road games.”
San Jose is 17-2-10 at home over the past two years and 8-0-5 in the last 13 visits from Sporting Kansas City (11-7-6) in the regular season. Kansas City’s last win in San Jose was Aug. 16, 2000, when it was known as the Wizards.
Despite those road woes in the series, Kansas City is 3-0-1 in the last four matchups and won 2-1 in the most recent one May 27, 2012.
Kei Kamara had a goal and an assist in that game, and he helped Sporting KC avoid a third straight loss last Saturday by scoring twice in a 3-0 victory over New England. However, he had to leave in the 86th minute with a sprained left ankle.
Kamara, questionable for this contest, has three goals and an assist in his last two games.
Teammate Soony Saad also has been hot, with three goals and two assists in his last five.
There’s a chance Sporting KC could get Graham Zusi back from a strained right quad. The midfielder got hurt in the MLS All-Stars’ loss to Italian club AS Roma on July 31.
“It’s coming back well,” Zusi told the league’s website. “I’m just building it up little by little. I don’t want to push it unnecessarily.”
Kansas City is 3-1-2 in its last six road games.