(August 18, 2013) -- Sporting Kansas City lost to the San Jose Earthquakes 1-0 Sunday night at Buck Shaw Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. U.S. Men's National Team forward Chris Wondolowski provided the game's lone goal off a second-half header to give the home side three points.
Despite the result, Sporting KC remains tied for first place in the Eastern Conference with the New York Red Bulls and two points behind Western Conference leader Real Salt Lake in the Supporters' Shield race.
Sporting KC was limited to only nine shot attempts in Sunday's physical affair. Sporting KC goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen recorded two saves on the night, both in the first half. His first came in the 33rd minute off a Marvin Chavez set piece. The Honduran midfielder's curling ball found Clarence Goodson's head 12 yards from goal. Goodson's header appeared destined for the far corner, but Nielsen reacted quickly to palm the ball off the goal line.
San Jose broke through in the 55th minute. Earthquakes midfielder Sam Cronin attempted to play a ball into the Sporting KC penalty box, but Sporting KC midfielder Uri Rosell deflected the attempt. The ball caromed out wide, where right back Steven Beitashour one-timed the ball to the penalty spot. Wondolowski headed the ball inside the post for his team-leading eighth goal of the season to give the Earthquakes the lead.
Sporting KC nearly answered minutes later. Soony Saad controlled a long ball around an Earthquakes defender and darted toward the endline. The third-year professional, who turned 21 on Saturday, played a quick pass to a streaking Teal Bunbury but the striker was unable to hit the pass cleanly and the ball sailed over the goal.
Saad was in the middle of the action ten minutes later when Matt Besler hurled a long throw-in into the Earthquakes penalty box. Collin headed the ball to the back post, but Saad appeared to get tangled up with an Earthquakes defender and was unable to connect.
Sporting Kansas City has a quick turnaround as they travel back to Kansas City to prepare for Friday's nationally televised match against the Chicago Fire. The game kicks off at 7:30 p.m. CT and can be seen live on the NBC Sports Network.
Despite the loss, Sporting KC remains atop the Eastern Conference with 39 points and holds the tiebreaker advantage over New York (even on wins and goals scored, ahead on goal differential).
Sporting KC remains second in the race for the Supporters' Shield, two points behind Real Salt Lake.
Sporting KC is 223-214-115 all-time and 76-134-65 on the road all-time.
Sporting KC is 11-8-6 on the season and 5-4-3 on the road in 2013. The road record remains the best in MLS this season despite Sunday's defeat.
Sporting KC is the only team in the Eastern Conference with a positive goal differential away from home in 2013.
Seven of Sporting Kansas City's eight losses in 2013 have come by one goal margins of defeat.
Sporting KC has allowed one or fewer goals in 18 of the team's 25 games this season.
Sporting KC is 20-21-7 against the San Jose Earthquakes and 4-14-6 on the road in the series.
The loss snapped Sporting KC's four-game unbeaten streak against San Jose.
Sunday marked the lone meeting between Sporting KC and the San Jose Earthquakes during the 2013 regular season.
Sporting KC is 3-3-3 when allowing one goal and 0-4-2 when scoring 0 goals in 2013.
Sporting KC is 4-5-4 when tied at the half and 2-6-1 when conceding the first goal in a match in 2013. Sporting KC has lost three straight matches when tied at halftime.
Sporting KC is 35-41-13 during the month of August all-time.
Sporting KC (36) is tied with the New York Red Bulls, the Philadelphia Union and the Montreal Impact for most goals scored in the Eastern Conference and second in the League behind Real Salt Lake (41).
Sporting KC's +11 goal differential is best in the Eastern Conference and second best in the League behind only the Portland Timbers (12).
Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen has started and played every minute in 81 consecutive MLS matches dating back to 2011, the fourth longest streak in MLS history.
Claudio Bieler has appeared in every MLS match for the club this season, the only field player to do so.
Sporting Kansas City is 2-4-2 against Western Conference opponents in 2013.
Sporting KC leads MLS in shots taken (384) and shots against (215) in 2013. Sporting Kansas City has also conceded the fewest shots on goal (75) in Major League Soccer this season,
Sporting KC and San Jose each had nine shots on Sunday, marking the first time this season that Sporting KC have taken the same amount of shots as their opponent.
Sporting KC's nine shots were the third fewest in a match for the club this season.
Sporting KC's nine fouls suffered on Sunday were the second fewest in a match for the club this season.
Sporting KC is 0-6-0 when trailing at the 75-minute mark in 2013.
Home teams are undefeated in the last 17 MLS matches and went 8-0-1 this weekend.
With the loss, Sporting KC's winless streak at San Jose reaches 16 games dating back to the 2000 season.
The San Jose Earthquakes are now unbeaten in 12 consecutive home matches, the longest home unbeaten streak in MLS this season, and haven't lost at Buck Shaw Stadium since March 3 in their first game of the season.
The Earthquakes have won five straight matches at home, their longest home winning streak since 2005.
San Jose has scored the most home goals (62) in the League since the start of the 2012 season.
Chris Wondolowski scored the game's lone goal on Sunday and has now scored in five straight games against Sporting KC. The 2012 MLS MVP has five goals in five games in his Earthquakes career against KC.
Wondolowski is now tied for the MLS lead with five game-winning goals in 2013. He is also tied with Jason Kreis for fourth on the all-time game-winning goals chart in MLS history with 31 in his career.
Wondolowski scored on San Jose's only shot on goal of the second half.
Jon Busch recorded the 100th regular season win of his MLS career on Sunday and moved into a tie for the MLS lead with 82 saves in 2013.
Sporting KC's next two matches will be on the road as the team travels to Chicago for Friday's rivalry match at Toyota Park.
Sporting Kansas City controlled 50.8% of the possession on Sunday, the ninth straight match the team has had the advantage in possession. The team ranks first in MLS for possession this season with 56.57% overall.
Sporting KC midfielder Oriol Rosell will receive the good behavior incentive and have his caution accumulation total reduced by one following Sunday's match.
Jacob Peterson started his first match since June 1st on Sunday. The appearance was his 175th MLS game played (including postseason) in his career and he surpassed 9,000 minutes played (including postseason) in his career on Sunday.
Teal Bunbury's 44 minutes played on Sunday was a season-high after returning from a torn ACL suffered last season. Prior to Sunday, Bunbury's longest appearance was 17 minutes on July 7.
Sporting Kansas City was without Kei Kamara, Graham Zusi, Josh Gardner and Paulo Nagamura due to injury on Sunday. Zusi turned 27 on Sunday.
Aurelien Collin's ten cautions lead MLS this season and match his MLS single-season high set in 2011.
Collin recorded the 28th shot of his 2013 season on Sunday, tying his single-season career high set last year.
Seth Sinovic led all players with five open crosses on Sunday. He recorded the 13th shot of his 2013 season on Sunday, setting a new single-season career high.
Oriol Rosell led all players with 62 passes on Sunday.
Soony Saad led all players with four fouls suffered on Sunday.
Jaime Alas started his first MLS match on Sunday for the Earthquakes.
Christian Duke was named Orlando City SC's 2013 Rookie of the Year on Sunday. The midfielder joined Sporting KC's USL PRO affiliate on loan in March.
Dom Dwyer's 15 goals for the Lions tied for the USL PRO lead in goals scored this season. He played in 13 games for Orlando City SC this season and received the Fans' Player of the Year Award.
SPORTING KANSAS CITY MANAGER PETER VERMES
On his team's performance:
"I thought the guys played hard. Unfortunately there were certain things that went against us and that made it hard for us to find our rhythm. I don't think either team was able to find a rhythm. The game was a pretty ugly one."
On the absence of both Kei Kamara and Graham Zusi:
"Those two guys are great players and they add a lot to our team, but those guys in the other room are a very talented group. I know, we know we can win with those guys. Could things have ended differently? Maybe, but there isn't anything we can do about that now."
SPORTING KANSAS CITY GOALKEEPER JIMMY NIELSEN
On the backline's performance:
"I think the guys played well for us. It was unfortunate to give up the goal, but the guys did well to stop their forwards for the most part. Wondo [Chris Wondolowski] and [Steven] Lenhart are two dangerous attackers and we knew it was going to be physical in the box. I think we dealt with them pretty well throughout the game."
SPORTING KANSAS CITY DEFENDER MATT BESLER
On missed chances:
"We had our opportunities, but we weren't able to convert any. They get one real solid chance and Chris puts it away. I think our finishing just wasn't good enough, that's all I can really say about it."
On playing against USMNT teammate Chris Wondolowski:
"I really enjoy playing against Wondo. He is a hard guy to mark. He finds the smallest of spaces and can punish you. It's always a good challenge to come here and play a guy you are teammates with on another team, but it's enjoyable too."
Score 1 2 F
Sporting Kansas City (11-8-6, 39 pts) 0 0 0
San Jose Earthquakes (9-10-6, 33 pts)
0 1 1
Sporting Kansas City: Jimmy Nielsen (c); Seth Sinovic, Matt Besler, Aurelien Collin, Chance Myers; Oriol Rosell, Lawrence Olum, Benny Feilhaber (Peterson Joseph 77); Soony Saad, Claudio Bieler ( Teal Bunbury 56), Jacob Peterson (C.J. Sapong 69)
Subs not used: Eric Kronberg, Mechack Jerome, Ike Opara, Mikey Lopez
San Jose Earthquakes: Jon Busch, Steven Beitashour, Victor Bernardez, Clarence Goodson, Jordan Stewart, Marvin Chavez (Justin Morrow 81), Sam Cronin, Rafael Baca, Jaime Alas (Cordell Cato 68), Chris Wondolowski, Alan Gordon (Steven Lenhart 90)
Subs not used: David Bingham, Jason Hernandez, Adam Jahn, Walter Martinez
Stats KC SJ
Shots 9 9
Shots on Goal 3 3
Saves 2 3
Fouls 16 9
Offside 3 2
KC -- Chance Myers (caution; reckless foul) 23
KC -- Aurelien Collin (caution; reckless foul) 32
SJ -- Chris Wondolowski 8 (Steven Beitashour 3) 55