The drought in San Jose dates to Aug. 16, 2000, when Sporting Kansas City possessed a different name, a different home stadium and even a different ownership group. In fact, the last time the franchise escaped San Jose with a victory, its current manager, Peter Vermes, was in the starting lineup.
The latest defeat added insult to injury.
The Earthquakes beat visiting Sporting KC 1-0 on Sunday at Avaya Stadium, scoring its only goal on a second-half penalty kick, which came moments after an apparent foul against Sporting forward Dom Dwyer in the penalty area was left uncalled.
In the 55th minute, San Jose defender Andrés Imperiale clipped Dwyer in the box, but referee Jair Marrufo kept his whistle silent rather than awarding Sporting KC a penalty kick.
“I saw the thing live — 100 percent a penalty kick and a red card. It’s a very poor mistake,” Sporting coach Peter Vermes said in a phone interview after the match. “More importantly, there was a level of arrogance after that from the referee. That’s the part I’m most disappointed about. I understand guys are going to make mistakes, but the level of arrogance in the game after that was ridiculous.
“For our guys not to get some of the calls, there’s something wrong there. It was unfortunate. It truly was the change in the game.”
Vermes stuck out his hand for a postgame handshake with Marrufo, who reluctantly reciprocated without breaking stride on his walk off the field.
Sporting KC departed winless over its last 18 matches in San Jose, including the postseason.
An opportunity to break the skid evaporated as quickly as it appeared Sunday. Imperiale had already picked up a yellow card in the first half, and another card would’ve put San Jose down to 10 men for the remainder of the match.
Asked if the team received an explanation for the no-call, Sporting KC midfielder Benny Feilhaber said, “No. Jair doesn’t want to talk to anybody unless he’s showing people a yellow card. He’s very unfriendly with any of the players, and it’s frustrating to be in that situation when you’re trying to get some kind of communication from the referee and he’s not giving it to you.”
Four minutes later, a full-manned San Jose club broke the tie.
On its own penalty kick, no less.
Sporting keeper Tim Melia tripped San Jose midfielder Simon Dawkins in the penalty box, drawing the call. Chris Wondolowski buried the ensuing kick for his seventh goal of the season.
A game-changing sequence.
“From my vantage point, the play with Dwyer there, it looks like a penalty,” San Jose coach Dom Kinnear acknowledged in a postgame TV interview. “If he would’ve called it, I don’t think I would’ve complained.”
Sporting, 4-4-0, dropped its third straight match and travels to Vancouver on Wednesday.
A sour finish Sunday negated a promising start.
Sporting KC opened the game on the front font, though it failed to make the advantage show on the scoreboard. Dwyer put a header on goal. Graham Zusi turned in a chance seconds before the halftime whistle.
San Jose keeper David Bingham made five saves for the shutout.
“We played very well. I thought we controlled a lot of the game,” Vermes said. “I thought we had great chances, especially in the first half, and I really don’t think we gave too much away.
“But unfortunately, (the no-call) is a big change in the game. That’s a big miss.”
SAN JOSE 1
SPORTING KANSAS CITY 0
KANSAS CITY: Tim Melia, Saad Abdul-Salaam, Lawrence Olum, Nuno Coelho, Matt Besler (Ike Opara, 75th), Amadou Dia (Diego Rubio, 86th), Roger Espinoza, Benny Feilhaber, Brad Davis, Graham Zusi, Dom Dwyer.
SAN JOSE: David Bingham, Shaun Francis, Marvell Wynne, Andres Imperiale, Victor Bernardez, Fatai Alashe, Alberto Quintero (Tommy Thompson, 90th), Simon Dawkins (Shea Salinas, 77th), Anibal Godoy, Chris Wondolowski, Quincy Amarikwa (Adam Jahn, 71st).
San Jose: 2, Wondolowski 7 (penalty kick), 59th minute. Kansas City: none.
Shots on goal
Kansas City: Besler, 33rd; Feilhaber, 59th; Dia, 81st.
San Jose: Godoy, 1st.
Kansas City: None.
Referee: Jair Marrufo.
Assistant Referees: Mike Rottersman.
Assistant Referees: Philippe Briere.
4th Official: Juan Guzman.