Sounders head into SKC match full of confidence

The club has played much better soccer over the last few weeks and is bullish about its 2012 U.S. Open Cup rematch with Kansas City.

Sounders FC @ Sporting Kansas City
May 8, 2013, 5:30 pm PT, Sporting Park
TV/Radio: KONG 6/16; THIS-TV (KOMO 4.2) and La Gran D 99.3 FM (Spanish)

Throughout Seattle’s short history, they have played many memorable matches. For one reason or another, many of those matches have come against Kansas City and this week at Sporting Park, the Sounders meet Sporting KC for the only time during the regular season.

In MLS play, the Sounders haven’t lost to Kansas City since April 11, 2009, when Kasey Keller was sent off in the 29th minute and Seattle suffered their first defeat as an MLS franchise, 1-0, at CenturyLink Field. Since then, they have gone 5-0-1 in league play after winning five straight matches from 2009-2011.

Each of those victories came with some drama, too.

In 2009 at CommunityAmerica Ballpark, the shared-use baseball field that the Kansas City Wizards called home, the Sounders outslugged Kansas City 3-2, coming back from a 2-1 second-half deficit to clinch a berth in the playoffs, becoming the first MLS expansion franchise to reach the postseason since 1998.

The following year, a win at CommunityAmerica Ballpark would again clinch a spot in the playoffs for Seattle, this time with a 2-1 victory that came after an unforgettable 90th minute win at CenturyLink Field. In that match in Seattle, Mike Fucito scored his first goal as a Sounder, racing up the right side to field a throw-in from Brad Evans and ripping a shot first-time into the net for the game-winner. Moments later, Seattle would still need some heroics from Keller, as he deflected a last-ditch effort from Chance Myers away and the Sounders finished with the 1-0 result. That save was later voted the MLS Save of the Year in 2010.

In 2011, history would repeat itself, with Jeff Parke providing the game-winner at CenturyLink Field with a stoppage-time header in a 1-0 victory over Sporting Kansas City. Like Fucito, his goal to beat Jimmy Nielsen was his first as a Sounder. But the last-minute victories wouldn’t stop there for Seattle that year. In August, they would visit Kansas City’s brand new stadium, Sporting Park, where the home side had yet to lose. Kansas City would also go into the match on a 14-game unbeaten streak. That, too, came to an end thanks to Mauro Rosales. With the Sounders trailing 1-0 in the 90th minute, Rosales took over, scoring once and then adding an assist on a Lamar Neagle goal to single-handedly sour the night for SKC while running Seattle’s win streak to five matches in the series.

Finally last year the Sounders shared points with KC in a 1-1 draw at CenturyLink Field, keeping their unbeaten streak alive at six matches as Patrick Ianni’s side-winding equalizer was voted MLS Goal of the Year. Even the US Open Cup victory for Kansas City came on a penalty-kick shootout and goes in the record books as a 1-1 draw after Zach Scott was called for a late penalty but fought back with a goal minutes later to force the game into overtime and eventually, the shootout.

So as Sigi Schmid looks at his roster of players available on Wednesday and sees a list of players that doesn’t include DeAndre Yedlin or Neagle, who are serving red card suspensions after a heated match in Philadelphia on Saturday. It also won’t have Obafemi Martins, Shalrie Joseph and Steve Zakuani, with each out due to injuries.

But if the past has proven one thing in the series against Kansas City, the match is sure to be a memorable one.