Seattle Sounders FC (17-7-7, 58 points) fell 2-1 at home to Sporting Kansas City (16-7-7, 55 points) Saturday afternoon at Lumen Field. Nico Benezet scored the lone goal for Seattle, as the Rave Green sit three points clear of SKC for the top spot in the Western Conference following today’s result. Sounders FC faces a quick turnaround, traveling to face Los Angeles FC on Tuesday at Banc of California Stadium (7:30 p.m. PT / ESPN, ESPN Deportes, 1090 KJR AM, El Rey 1360 AM).
The visitors struck first in the fourth minute courtesy of Rémi Walter. After a pair of close-range SKC attempts were thwarted by Stefan Frei and Alex Roldan, the latter of which was cleared to the edge of the area, Walter found the ball at his feet and fired a left-footed shot into the far corner of the net.
Seattle equalized in the 58th minute with Benezet’s fourth goal across all competitions with Seattle since joining the club in July. João Paulo delivered a corner kick that found Cristian Roldan, whose snap-header went straight to Benezet for a re-direct into goal. It marked the 11th assist of the season for João Paulo and sixth for Roldan.
Johnny Russell found the match-winner in the 79th minute, getting behind the Seattle defense on a ball from Roger Espinoza and converting a shot past Stefan Frei to give the visitors the 2-1 victory.
Brian Schmetzer’s side remains in first place in the Western Conference with three games remaining, three points ahead of SKC. Following Tuesday’s match at LAFC, the club returns home on Monday, November 1 vs. the LA Galaxy (7:00 p.m. PT / FOX 13+, TUDN, Prime Video, 1090 KJR AM, El Rey 1360 AM) before a Decision Day matchup at Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Sunday, November 7 (3:00 p.m. PT / FOX 13+, Prime Video, Univision-Seattle, 950 KJR AM, El Rey 1360 AM).
• Seattle remains in first place in the Western Conference with 58 points (17-7-7), with Sporting just three points behind with 55 points (16-7-7). With the win today, Sporting clinched a berth in the 2021 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs.
• Sounders FC is now 10-9-4 all-time against SKC in regular-season play, including a 5-5-2 mark at Lumen Field.
• Sporting and Seattle have now faced off three times in 2021, with the Rave Green going 1-2-0 in those contests.
• Nico Benezet’s goal marked his fourth for Seattle across all competitions since joining the club in July.
• Midfielder João Paulo tallied his 11th assist of the season on Benezet’s goal. He was also cautioned in the first half and is now suspended for Tuesday’s game at LAFC due to yellow card accumulation.
• Cristian Roldan tallied his sixth assist of the season, three shy of his career high. He already matched his career high with six goals in 2021.
Seattle Sounders FC 1 – Sporting Kansas City 2
Saturday, October 23, 2021
Venue: Lumen Field
Referee: Ismail Elfath
Assistants: Corey Parker, Mike Rottersman
Fourth Official: Ramy Touchan
VAR: Rubiel Vazquez
Weather: 54 degrees and rain
SKC – Remi Walter (Luis Martins) 4’
SEA – Nicolas Benezet (Cristian Roldan, João Paulo) 58’
SKC – Johnny Russell (Roger Espinoza) 79’
SEA – João Paulo (caution) 35’
SEA – Kelyn Rowe (caution) 51’
SEA – Alex Roldan (caution) 55’
SKC – Tim Melia (caution) 56’
SKC – Gadi Kinda (caution) 63’
SKC – Roger Espinoza (caution) 74’
SEA – Yeimar (caution) 76’
SEA – Fredy Montero (caution) 89’
LINEUPS & STATS
Seattle Sounders FC – Stefan Frei; Alex Roldan, Yeimar, Xavier Arreaga (Léo Chú 82’), Shane O’Neill (Fredy Montero 82’), Jimmy Medranda (Nouhou 66’); João Paulo, Kelyn Rowe, Cristian Roldan, Nico Benezet (Josh Atencio 72’); Will Bruin
Substitutes not used: Stefan Cleveland, Spencer Richey, Ethan Dobbelaere, Abdoulaye Cissoko, Danny Leyva
Total shots: 15
Shots on goal: 5
Sporting Kansas City – Tim Melia; Andreu Fontas, Nicolas Isimat, Graham Zusi, Luis Martins; Ilie Sanchez, Roger Espinoza, Gadi Kinda, Remi Walter; Johnny Russell, Khiry Shelton
Substitutes not used: Robert Puncec, Amadou Dia, Grayson Barber, Kendall McIntosh, Cameron Duke, Jake Davis, Kaveh Rad, Wilson Harris
Total shots: 8
Shots on goal: 3