Sporting Kansas City 3, Seattle Sounders 0: Clint Dempsey returns, but Sounders come up empty

Clint Dempsey returned to the starting lineup but the Seattle Sounders fell 3-0 in their Western Conference road matchup with Sporting Kansas City on a sweltering Sunday afternoon at Children's Mercy Park.

Dom Dwyer scored twice and Jacob Peterson added one of his own in first-half stoppage time to pace Sporting KC. Both sides battled the elements throughout the afternoon, with the temperature at kickoff reportedly a whopping 95 degrees.

Dempsey started and logged a full 90 minutes after missing the team’s last game with a red card suspension, but the Sounders played without suspended star midfielder Ozzie Alonso, and his absence paid huge dividends for the hosts.

SKC put the pressure on from the get-go, almost taking the lead in just the sixth minute off a strike Peterson. But Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei made the reaction save to keep it scoreless.

SKC finally struck in the 21st minute courtesy of Dwyer, who found space in front of the Seattle goal and headed home a cross from Roger Espinoza to give the home side the quick 1-0 advantage. Peterson then made it 2-0 just before the halftime whistle off a well-taken laser finish into the upper right corner.

Seattle made an array of lineup changes at halftime, moving center back Brad Evans and left back Joevin Jones into the midfield and plugging in rookie Tony Alfaro and veteran Zach Scott into the back line. But the moves couldn’t spark a Seattle attack that looked sluggish throughout the afternoon.

Overall, SKC outshot Seattle 18-1 on Sunday, with the Sounders’ lone attempt not coming until an 88th-minute look from Jones.

Dwyer sealed the result for SKC in the 79th after picking off a wayward back pass and finishing the attempt past Frei, pitting SKC to a 3-0 lead that would hold as the game’s final score.

With the loss, the Sounders fell to 6-12-2 on the season ahead of their next match, a home fixture against the LA Galaxy at CenturyLink Field on July 31. It will be the second meeting in an 11-day span for the sides, the last matchup a 4-2 victory for the Galaxy over Seattle in US Open Cup play on July 20. 

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