Santa Clara, CA – Sporting Kansas City will hope to maintain its position at the top of the Eastern Conference by claiming a positive result against the San Jose Earthquakes at Buck Shaw Stadium on Saturday.
Kansas City thumped the New England Revolution in a 3-0 rout at Sporting Park last weekend, a result good enough to displace Red Bull New York at the summit following its 2-0 loss to the Columbus Crew.
Kei Kamara bagged a brace on the night thanks to two superb deliveries from Soony Saad, and Sporting doesn't look to be showing any signs of slowing down on the offensive end.
"One of the tiebreakers is most goals scored and right now I think we're tied in the Eastern division, so it's an important aspect as we move through the rest of the season," said SKC head coach Peter Vermes. "You don't want to keep your opponents hanging around. I think we're getting better at clinically finishing teams off at the end of the games."
But while the offensive appears to be firing on all cylinders, getting the defense organized seems to be key to Sporting's success. The club recorded seven shutouts in the first 12 games of the season before falling out of first place, but two clean sheets in their last five outings has helped Kansas City climb back to the top.
San Jose, meanwhile, saw its three-game winning streak come to en end with a 2-0 loss to Vancouver Whitecaps FC at BC Place last weekend.
The 'Quakes certainly are much better home side than on the road as they have dropped their last four away matches while winning four consecutive contests at Buck Shaw.
"We knew there was a lot on the line, so we're obviously disappointed," San Jose interim coach Mark Watson said. "We had a couple opportunities to score. One or two (goals) early on, it may have changed the game. ... That's the game, right? The team that scores its chances wins."
San Jose's upcoming schedule does little to ease the mind. After Saturday's clash with Sporting, five of San Jose's next eight games will take place away from home. But goalkeeper Jon Busch remained adamant that the 'Quakes will fight for a postseason berth until its mathematically impossible.
"Until you're out, there's always a chance," Busch said. "You've got to keep going. We know how important these last 10 (matches) are and how important the points are. There's plenty of points on the table. We've just got to keep working."