MLS game recap: Sporting KC lose 2-1 to Seattle Sounders
In one of Sporting KC’s biggest games at Children’s Mercy Park since the 2018 Decision Day win over LAFC, the hosts were unable to capitalize on home ground advantage against the Seattle Sounders.
Captain Johnny Russell scored Sporting KC’s lone goal in a 2-1 loss to the Sounders on Sunday night in Kansas City, Kan.
KC entered the game one point ahead of second-place Seattle with one more game played. At stake was a cushion at the top of the Western Conference.
A brilliant start from Kansas City was stopped in the 31st minute by Cristian Roldan, whose first 12-yard shot slipped past the hands of Tim Melia and into the back of Sporting’s net.
The lead doubled in the 55th minute on a Will Bruin goal, but Russell scored the equalizer five minutes later.
Sporting KC coach Peter Vermes had been looking for a good start for the past few weeks: a quick attacking attack that didn’t give the opposition a chance to settle down.
But the first goal never came for Sporting KC. The home team had some good appearances, but sloppy passes turned into defensive play that was sloppy overall.
Vermes has called the Sounders “the best in the league” several times this year, and they certainly punished Kansas City’s defensive mistakes on Sunday night.
Controlling the ball on his defensive right side at the half hour mark, Graham Zusi was guided to the sideline by Seattle winger Brad Smith.
Zusi’s scoreless heel was quickly recovered and gave Smith the opportunity to attack the wide-open right side and put the ball on a plate for Roldan’s opener. Kansas City’s rambling play continued through the half-time and the home side could be lucky to only enter the break one goal.
Sporting gave Seattle their second goal in the second half, when center-back Ilie Sanchez failed to control a ball sent into KC’s box by Zusi. Zusi had a restless night; the veteran right-back completed just 79 percent of his passes, the team’s second-shortest, and received a late yellow card that puts him on hold for Wednesday’s game against FC Dallas.
Russell scored his seventh goal of the season just five minutes later, triggering a hoarse Children’s Mercy Park. The Scottish winger caught Luis Martins’ deep free kick from behind the Seattle area, pulling low and hard. His shot deflected Sounders goaltender Stefan Frei and went into the net.
Sporting kC continued to spice up Frei’s goal, taking 14 shots in total, but couldn’t find the equalizer despite controlling much of the final 30 minutes.
KC dropped two points behind the Sounders after playing an extra game, but travels to Seattle on October 23 for a rematch at Lumen Field.
This story was originally published September 26, 2021 8:21 pm.