By MATT GASCHK
Sounders FC Insider
KANSAS CITY, Kansas - The Sounders FC have grown comfortable playing the spoilers in the last two years.
First, it was a win in Columbus to stop the Crew’s 22-match home unbeaten streak in 2009. Then in May this year, they shocked Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium to end a 29-match home unbeaten streak.
On Saturday night at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park, they pulled double duty, ending Sporting Kansas City’s 14-match unbeaten streak and handing them their first loss at their new stadium with a 2-1 victory.
Like he did against Salt Lake, it was Lamar Neagle who provided the game-winner in the 92nd minute while Mauro Rosales netted the equalizer and assisted on Neagle’s goal in a tremendous stretch of play to earn the victory. Also like Salt Lake, Seattle benefited from a man-advantage in their win over Kansas City.
“Obviously, we’re pleased with the result to come from behind like that. You know the red card was a game changing moment,” said Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid, who tallied his 150th career MLS win. “Right after that I felt like we got into a better rhythm and you know after that we lost it again. Two tremendous plays by Mauro Rosales at the end but over all for our team after playing 120 minutes in a really hard game against a team from Panama. I was really proud of them.”
While Seattle was able to get some threatening efforts in the first half, they didn’t register their first shot on goal until the 47th minute. Kansas City, meanwhile, forced Keller to make three first-half saves as they held most of the run of play in the first 45 minutes.
However, Sporting went into the break with a 1-0 lead after Kei Kamara went unmarked and headed in a long throw-in from Matt Besler in the 20th minute for his sixth goal on the season.
“We knew they were going to put us under some pressure at the beginning and I thought they did a good job,” Keller said. “We held on a little bit and anytime you keep the game to one goal you know there’s a chance to get something from the game.”
Seattle came out strong in the second half, but the turning point came in the 59th minute when Kansas City midfielder Omar Bravo came in two-footed on Pat Noonan outside the box for a red card ejection.
Over the final 30 minutes, Seattle had control of the game, but still had trouble cracking the Kansas City defense. In the 69th minute, it looked like they would break through, but Jimmy Nielsen stopped rapid-fire shots from second-half subs Mike Fucito and Neagle, kicking out his left leg to barely clear a ball that was bound for the net off the boot of Neagle.
Then, in the 90th minute, Servando Carrasco rolled a ball into the box for Rosales from the right side. Rosales worked around two defenders, then sent a left-footed shot inside the far post for his third goal of the season.
Rosales wasn’t done with the heroics there, though. In the second minute of stoppage time, he powered his way into the box but couldn’t find an open shot, so he passed off to Neagle coming up the left side. Fucito got a touch to it and Neagle gathered and fired from the left side, beating Nielsen inside the far post for his second goal of the year.
“You can tell that our effort is always there,” Neagle said. “At the end of the game we’re still striving to get that win no matter what the score is even though we’re down one or whatever it is, we still come back. We’ve gone down a goal many times, but we always seem to fight back and win the game, and that’s what happened.”
The win improves the Sounders to 11-5-8 and moved within a point of FC Dallas for second place in the Western Conference. It was also the third time the Sounders bested Kansas City with a stoppage-time winner. Mike Fucito did it in Seattle in 2010 and Jeff Parke did it earlier this year at CenturyLink Field.
The Sounders will return home on Saturday to face Chivas USA at CenturyLink Field.
Sounders FC - Mauro Rosales (Servando Carrasco) 90; Lamar Neagle (Mike Fucito, Mauro Rosales) 92+.
Sporting Kansas City - Kei Kamara (Matt Besler) 20.
Sounders FC - None.
Sporting Kansas City - Birahim Diop (caution) 37; Omar Bravo (ejection) 59.
Sounders FC - Kasey Keller, James Riley, Zach Scott, Jeff Parke, Tyson Wahl, Mauro Rosales, Servando Carrasco, Osvaldo Alonso, Alvaro Fernandez (Pat Noonan 56), Fredy Montero (Mike Fucito 56), Roger Levesque (Lamar Neagle 67).
Sporting Kansas City - Jimmy Nielsen, Michael Harrington, Matt Besler, Julio Cesar, Seth Sinovic, Kei Kamara (Chance Myers 82), Graham Zusi, Jefferson (Luke Sassano 39), Birahim Diop, Omar Bravo, CJ Sapong (Teal Bunbury 65).