The San Jose Earthquakes have the rare opportunity to make a visit to the middle of the country feel rewarding.
Looking to further their hold on a playoff spot despite coming off a defeat last weekend, the Earthquakes pay a visit to Sporting Kansas City on Saturday, setting foot in a city that has not always been kind.
The Earthquakes (11-8-5, 38 points) have just one victory in their last 12 visits to Kansas City. San Jose enters the game in sixth place in the Western Conference, one spot ahead of the playoff cutoff line.
The Earthquakes will find a desperate Sporting KC side that badly needs a victory toward keeping its playoff streak alive. The home team has made the MLS playoffs in eight straight seasons, but at 7-11-7, good for 28 points, that run is in jeopardy now. They're nine points behind seventh-place Portland, with Houston and FC Dallas also in the way.
San Jose does not plan to take its opponent for granted.
"If you look at their results, it doesn't reflect their potential," Earthquakes head coach Matias Almeyda said. "They are a great team that is well managed. I have a lot of admiration for their coach. It will be a tough match."
Sporting KC has just one victory in its last five matches overall, and is also just 1-4 in its last five home matches. The most recent defeat on the schedule came Wednesday in a 1-0 loss at Orlando City.
Sporting KC will face only Western Conference teams over the last nine games of its schedule, and head coach Peter Vermes was succinct when asked on the FOX Sports broadcast what is needed from his team heading into the game against the Earthquakes.
"Obviously we have to take care of business against every team," Vermes said.
The teams last met April 20 at San Jose. The Earthquakes won 4-1, the start of a 10-3-5 run that has vaulted them into playoff contention.
--Field Level Media
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