Looking at the records, Seattle should have been able to go on cruise control when Sporting Kansas City visited Qwest Field on Saturday (May 21, 2011). After all, Seattle (3-3-5) has been on a roll recently, despite some major injury woes.
Sporting Kansas City (1-5-1) came into Seattle on a road trip skid as they waited for their new home field to be ready. KC’s match against the Sounders marks the eighth consecutive road match for it.
Despite the disparity, this was not an easy win for the Sounders. Kansas City came out early on and had the majority of the attack. Its best chance came in the fifth minute when Kasey Keller saved a hard low shot from Ryan Smith. Keller made that save and then smothered the rebound attempt that Omar Bravo mishit.
As the time passed however, Seattle got more of the opportunities. Mauro Rosales, in a different three-forward lineup manager Sigi Schmid tried out, had the best chance in the 20th minute but the ball went over the crossbar.
Seattle’s passing and possessions kept ratcheting up the pressure but KC kept them out for the full 90 minutes of regulation. KC defender Matt Besler blocked an 83rd minute shot from Sounders replacement Mike Fucito that felt like a draw was inevitable.
Finally, in the third minute of extra time, the Sounder found the back of the net. The heroes were the least likely scoring combo in Seattle, both backup defenders, Tyson Wahl and Jeff Parke.
On what was probably the last set piece of the match, Wahl took a corner kick and sent it into the box. In the midst of traffic, Jeff Parke was on the other end waiting.
Parke is not a goal scorer; his last goal was in 2004 for the MetroStars against San Jose. In this game, he had no trouble redirecting the ball with a header that avoided all the traffic while curling away from KC keeper Jimmy Nielsen but inside the far pole..
With no ready made goal celebration, Parke went to the old standby of elation and exuberance over dance steps, like a Fredy Montero would have had on the ready. It was refreshing and exciting to see Parke running around like a little boy.
Man of the Match
For the three points, as well as the impromptu celebrations, I’m giving the honor to Jeff Parke. I always like to see the little guy win, hence me being a die hard Seattle fan, so it was extra sweet to watch.
The win takes Seattle to 4-3-5 and 17 points, good enough to tie for second in the Western Conference. The loss drops KC to 1-6-1 and 4 points, the lowest in the MLS.
The Sounders have a busy week coming up with home games against FC Dallas (5-3-2) on Wednesday and Real Salt Lake (5-1-1) on Saturday.
Photo credit: OTTO GREULE JR / GETTY IMAGES