Sporting Kansas City stunned an opening night crowd of 39,525 fans Saturday night at Century Link Field with a 1-0 win over a ten men Seattle Sounders FC side. The Sounders dominated the early play, with ball possession which resulted in a five zero corner kick advantage inside the first 18minutes of the game.
In the 18 minute span, Jordan Morris mooned a right footed shot, Clint Dempsey’s right footed shot was saved by Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Tim Melia and to make it three strikes your out, Chad Marshal beat Melia on the next shot but his shot hit the cross bar. For Sounders coach Sigi Schmid the missed opportunities were a major disappointment.
“A disappointing result – it’s a tough game having to play with 10 guys. It makes the game a little bit harder. Even when we went down to 10 we bent a little bit, but we didn’t give up. We had a great chance early – Jordan Morris, if he buries that chance it changes the game for us. We had a couple others – off the post, crossbar, the goalkeeper made some great saves for them – [in addition to] Dempsey’s free kick and Andreas [Ivanschitz]’s shot. It was a tough game from the standpoint of having to play a man down for that amount of minutes.”
The Inability to convert came back to haunt the Sounders in the 40th minute when Oniel Fisher was given a straight red for his two footed studs up tackle on Sporting KC midfielder Connor Hallisey. Seattle was able to overcome the Oniel transgression and went into the half time break at 0-0 and full of optimism
“The message at halftime was to stay in a 4-4-1 and look to see if there’s an opportunity to put ourselves in a situation where we can get some corners and some free kicks because we think we’re dangers on those, which we did. The group went out there for 15, 20 minutes and then we would start to get some fresh legs on, and go from there.” Schmid said in his post game conference.
Seattle came out of the break focused and determined to score and nearly did in the 53 rd minute when Joevin Jones and Clint Dempsey had a nifty give and go that resulted in a wicked Andreas Ivanschitz shot that beat Sporting KC goalkeeper Tim Meli but could not beat the cross bar.
The Sounders inability to score came back to haunt them once again and this time it was a bullet they could not dodge, in the 73rd minute Nuno Andre Coelho hit a right footed blast that bounced on the slippery turf and slid under Seattle goalkeeper Stefan Frei for the game winner.
Finding themselves down 1-0 Seattle pushed the agenda but it was of no avail, and insult literally turned into injury in the 87th minute when Brad Evans was fouled by Sporting forward Dom Dwyer and suffered a painful injury that resulted in the Sounder Captain leaving the game. Evans status for the Sounders March 12th game at Real Salt Lake will be determined after a medical examination to determine the severity of the shoulder injury.