Sporting KC cannot afford to underestimate San Jose
Sporting Kansas City might have a shot at first place when it takes the pitch Saturday evening.
SKC, which will be at Avaya Stadium in San Jose to face the last-place Earthquakes, trails FC Dallas by one point in the Western Conference. Dallas hosts Columbus earlier Saturday.
Despite playing an opponent with an MLS-worst 20 points on the season, Kansas City coach Peter Vermes vowed that his team would not underestimate the Earthquakes.
"We view this as any other match. It's a big game for us. San Jose is a good team. They have some very strong aspects to their game we have to be really concerned with," Vermes told MLSsoccer.com. "That's an important aspect -- if you want to get a result, you have to make sure you understand and respect your opponent's strengths and that's what we have to do against San Jose."
The Quakes (4-15-8) won twice in August after going 12 games without a victory (0-6-6) following a win over Minnesota United on May 12. San Jose has two wins each against Minnesota and Dallas this season.
The Earthquakes have been off since a 2-1 defeat in Vancouver two weeks ago. Defender Jimmy Ockford said the team needed the rest.
"I think mentally and physically we all needed a few days off and we got that, so coming back in training on Monday we were all sharp and looking forward to this game Saturday," Ockford said. "We can expect a good soccer team, working the ball around really well, they've got good players all around. It's going to be a tough one."
Sporting Kansas City (14-7-6), which is coming off a 1-0 win in Orlando, is 5-1 in its past six games.
Felipe Gutierrez provided the lone goal against Orlando. It was his first since April.
"I think for him, he was feeling really good at the start of the season," Vermes said, according to Pro Soccer USA. "He was very confident and in great form, and I think he's been trying for a while to get back in that form, and I kept telling him, 'It's gonna come. Be patient.' He strikes the ball really well. He's got good placement. He sees the field really, really well, and so the finish was great. And it was at a good time, because we needed it for sure."
Gutierrez underwent surgery for a sports hernia in May and missed more than two months.
SKC has four wins and a tie in its past five matchups with San Jose.
Updated September 14, 2018