SEATTLE – Sounders FC matches against Kansas City have become known for their dramatic, last-minute finishes.
Wednesday night at CenturyLink Field was no exception.
With the score tied at 1-1 and the final whistle closing, Fredy Montero collected a pass at the left post, then retreated to the top of the box. There, he took on Sporting Kansas City right back Chance Myers and got just enough room to snap a left-footed shot toward the near post. Kansas City goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen dove to the post and got a piece of it, deflecting it back across the goal mouth, where it struck the far post and bounced back to the middle. Defender Lawrence Olum stepped in front of Osvaldo Alonso and cleared the ball from the front of the goal and the opportunity to knock off Sporting KC with more late heroics was lost.
"I thought it was a major jump forward from the way we played in Montreal," Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid said, noting a 4-1 loss to the Montreal Impact on Saturday. "I thought our effort and our desire was very good and unfortunately it didn’t bear the ultimate fruit for us in terms of winning the game, but we did get a point tonight and we’ve got to build upon this and move forward."
Jacob Peterson scored an early goal for Kansas City, but Patrick Ianni responded with a highlight reel volley to equalize and that score held as Seattle goalkeeper Andrew Weber had four saves in his first start for Seattle in a 1-1 draw in front of a crowd of 46,932.
The notoriously fast-starting Kansas City side got on the board in the eighth minute off a deflection in the box. Peterson took a long throw from the right side that bounced around in the box until it landed back at the right corner of the box where Peterson hit it off the bounce, deflecting it off the foot of Osvaldo Alonso and inside the far post for his first goal of the season and a 1-0 lead.
Seattle bounced back quickly though and got a tremendous goal form an unlikely source.
In the 15th minute, Mauro Rosales lofted a free kick in from the right side and Ianni got free of his marker and twisted a leaping, side-winding volley from 17-yards out into the back of the net for his first goal of the season, evening the score at 1-1.
“It was just a good ball by Mauro and it came a little behind the line,” Ianni said. “It just kind of snuck through to me. I thought, if it comes all the way through, I’m just going to get good contact on it and put it on frame and fortunately it went in.”
While Seattle narrowly missed on their late opportunity, Kansas City had some heart-stopping chances too.
In the 19th minute, Soony Saad slipped into the box on a ball up the left side by Roger Espinoza and he got a shot away, but clipped the bottom of the crossbar and the score stayed at 1-1.
In the second half, Weber came up with a nice diving stop of a chance off of a corner kick. Second-half substitute Graham Zusi sent the ball into the box where it bounced off of Eddie Johnson and Chance Myers, causing Weber to dive to his left and spear the ball off the line for the save to preserve the draw.
While Montero’s late chance nearly gave the Sounders the victory, a stoppage time foul by Alvaro Fernandez set off some fireworks. In a physical contest, Fernandez was clipped from behind by Espinoza. When no call was made, Fernandez retaliated and picked up the red card for his tackle.
It was that type of physical play the prevented Schmid from inserting Steve Zakuani into his first match since fracturing his leg April 22, 2011. Zakuani was on the bench for the first time since the injury, but Schmid said that the overly physical nature of the game forced his hand in deciding not to put the speedy winger into the match.
“One of the reasons I didn’t come with him was because of the physical nature of the game and the referee wasn’t really protecting players and I didn’t think that was a good environment to throw him into in the first game,” Schmid said.
The Sounders meet the Portland Timbers on Sunday at JELD-WEN Field in Portland in a nationally televised match on ESPN. Kickoff is slated for 2 p.m. Pacific and there will likely be over 1,000 Sounders FC fans on hand, many of them taking supporter busses to the match.
Sounders FC – Patrick Ianni (Mauro Rosales) 15.
Sporting KC – Jacob Peterson (Aurelien Collin) 8.
Sounders FC – Zach Scott (caution) 89; Alvaro Fernandez (ejection) 91+.
Sporting KC – Aurelien Collin (caution) 17; Lawrence Olum (caution) 48; Jimmy Nielsen (caution) 59.
Sounders FC – Andrew Weber, Zach Scott, Jeff Parke, Patrick Ianni, Marc Burch, Brad Evans (Andy Rose 72), Osvaldo Alonso, Mauro Rosales (Alvaro Fernandez 81), Alex Caskey, Fredy Montero, Eddie Johnson (Sammy Ochoa 81).
Sporting KC – Jimmy Nielsen, Chance Myers, Aurelien Collin, Lawrence Olum, Michael Harrington, Peterson Joseph (Graham Zusi 51), Roger Espinoza, Michael Thomas, Soony Saad (CJ Sapong 86), Teal Bunbury, Jacob Peterson (Kei Kamara 65).
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