For all of the recent success Sporting Kansas City has enjoyed — including three significant trophies over the past four seasons — the club has been unable to solve the San Jose Earthquakes away from home.
The latest trip added insult to injury.
San Jose dealt Sporting KC a 1-0 loss on Friday after Sporting KC captain Matt Besler departed the match early in the second half with an undisclosed injury.
Coach Peter Vermes was tight-lipped about Besler’s departure in the 60th minute but considered the issue minor.
“He needed to come off,” Vermes said. “I think he’ll be fine for Wednesday,” when the team returns to action against Colorado.
Sporting KC has not won in San Jose since 2000, a span of 17 MLS matches, including the postseason. Sporting missed an opportunity Friday to clinch its fifth consecutive postseason berth, which required only a draw against the Earthquakes.
San Jose midfielder Anibal Godoy thwarted that plan with a goal in the 47th minute.
Sporting KC keeper Tim Melia made seven saves.
Sporting KC shanked a couple of prime opportunities — one on a Dom Dwyer breakaway in the first half and the other on a Mikey Lopez header in the second half.
“I thought we had great chances. We had a breakaway; we had an unbelievable header (chance); we had a couple good set pieces; we had our chances,” Vermes said. “It was a battle. They scored one. We didn’t. I thought we had a good run of play in the second half.”
Sporting KC also played without Kevin Ellis (ankle) and Soni Mustivar (hip), who did not make the trip. Erik Palmer-Brown started in Ellis’ place in the middle of the Sporting KC defense, alongside Besler, who was later replaced by Amobi Okugo. Paulo Nagamura shifted to the defensive half of the midfield to fill in for Mustivar.
During the pregame, Sporting KC players wore shirts supporting the Kansas City Fire Department. They wore armbands during the match for the same cause.
Sporting KC has two matches remaining in the regular season — both of them at Sporting Park. It will face Colorado on Wednesday before closing out the schedule against the LA Galaxy on Oct. 25.