During Seattle’s first season in the MLS, Kansas City handed the Sounders their first loss after a phenomenal start.
Since that time, Seattle has won them all. The Sounders won the last match 1-0 in Seattle with an extra time goal, another recurring feature in the series.
Going into the new Livestrong Park, the Sounders faced a hot Sporting Kansas City team that hasn’t lost at home since opening the stadium eight games ago (4-0-4) and hasn’t lost in 14 matches. Seattle, meanwhile, was playing a packed schedule with the CONCACAF Gold Cup competition and was running on fumes.
It showed as well as Kansas City took control of the match from kick off, getting the most of possession and shots. The Seattle defense has been shaky lately; this match looked to be disastrous for the Sounders as K.C. attacked from wide over and over again.
Finally in the 20th minute, the defense broke down on a long throw by Matt Besler to a completely unmarked Kei Kamara at the top of the box. Kamara beat Kasey Keller to the ball and flicked it into the net for an easy score, a score that Seattle should have been looking for since K.C. scored on the exact same play against Real Salt Lake four days previously.
Seattle almost got the score back to even just eight minutes later as defender James Riley found enough space from the side of the box to put a nice cross to the back post. Alvaro Fernandez was waiting there but missed on his header and put the ball wide.
The second half started out the same way as the first did for Seattle, so coach Sigi Schmid went to his bench to replace Fernández and Fredy Montero with Pat Noonan and Mike Fucito in the 55th minute.
In the 59th minute, after K.C. had been controlling the match from the start, Omar Bravo earned a straight red card for a two-footed, studs up tackle of Noonan. Bravo made an ugly, well deserved ejection worse by getting in Noonan’s face, trying to goad Noonan into earning an ejection as well and then play acting that he had been head-butted by Noonan when the replays clearly showed he’s an even worse actor than he is a soccer player.
With K.C. down a man, despite stifling heat, Seattle started turning things around. In the 69th minute, Fucito hit a shot that K.C. keeper Jimmy Nielsen blocked. The rebound went to Lamar Neagle, who probably couldn’t believe his luck. Nielson wasn’t done though as he made a save of the year to deny Neagle as well.
The 1-0 score looked to be the final as the seconds ticked away into extra time when Mauro Rosales found himself with the ball just inside the box. He hit the shot that found the net and drew the score 1-1.
Less than two minutes later, Rosales was leading the move again, carving up the defense before feeding Neagle. Nielsen couldn’t stop Neagle this time as he put his shot in a great spot and took the score to 2-1 in the Sounders’ favor. That was the final score and with it, Kansas City’s unbeaten run ended at 14.
Man of the Match
My man of the match is Mauro Rosales for the late fireworks. I could give it to Bravo because his well earned red card turned the match but I feel that would be like rewarding a bratty kid for his bad behavior.
The win takes Seattle to 11-5-8 and 41 points, one point from second place FC Dallas and three behind MLS-leading L.A. Galaxy. The Sounders return home to welcome Chivas USA to the newly renamed CenturyLink Field on Saturday, August 13.
Photo Credit: PETER AIKEN/GETTY IMAGES