Kevin Ellis notched what can only be described as a chance goal in the 81st minute of the match to bolster Sporting KC to victory at Avaya Stadium Saturday night.
Adding further insult to injury, San Jose lost the services of star forward Quincy Amarikwa in the game's opening minutes. If the injury is as bad as it looked in instant replay, it could very likely be a season-ending injury. Additionally, the Quakes' winless streak now stands at six games.
For Sporting KC, the victory snaps an 18-match winless streak. The club received some help earlier in the day from the Houston Dynamos, who emerged victorious over the defending-MLS Cup champion Portland Timbers, which allows Sporting to move into fifth position in the Western Conference. They carry an eight-point advantage over the No. 7 Seattle Sounders.
For San Jose, the loss in front of an announced crowd of 18,000 now puts an even greater strange-hold on any thoughts of snapping its postseason drought. They haven't won a match since Aug. 12. The Quakes will very likely miss the postseason for the fourth consecutive year.
Perhaps losing Amarikwa, and the game, were only the second or third things in the sequence of an awful night.
It began even before kickoff — San Jose's largest and most boisterous supporters' group, the Ultras, made an independent decision not to attend the game, a team spokesperson said. The move was made in protest of a sanction the group received, preventing them from entering the stadium with their flags and banners for the rest of the season, according to a Sept. 15 letter the Earthquakes received.
The Amarikwa injury came in the game's opening moments — the 28-year-old hyperextended his knee while breaking toward the goal. As soon as he went down, it became readily apparent he was not returning to his feet. With the aid of a stretcher, he was carried off the pitch.
"I know I tore something," he said after the match. "It was a case of bad timing."
Quakes manager Dominic Kinnear opted to replace Amarikwa with newcomer Henok Goitom.
Just moments after Amarikwa went down, Sporting KC poured some salt on the wound by opening the scoring in the game in the seventh minute. The goal, which came off Dom Dwyer's head, was his 15th of the season.
Later in the opening frame, Simon Dawkins collected his fourth goal of the season after a nifty back heel pass from the aforementioned Goitom. San Jose had more than enough opportunities in the match — they outshot Sporting KC 16-6, four shots of which found the target. Sporting converted into goals the two shots on target they recorded, San Jose just the one.
"It's an all-mighty blow to our position," Jordan Stewart said during the postgame. "It's bitterly disappointing."
Anibal Godoy also missed his fourth consecutive match courtesy of a hamstring injury.