The Seattle Sounders scored three unanswered goals after conceding an early opener, eventually bagging a 3-1 victory over Western Conference foe Sporting Kansas City at CenturyLink Field on Saturday afternoon.
Raúl Ruidíaz scored Seattle’s first goal in the 12th minute, while Nicolás Lodeiro added a second-half penalty kick to help pace the Sounders. Seattle’s other goal came on a 56th-minute own goal that deflected off Sporting’s Graham Zusi off an attempted cross from Harry Shipp.
SKC’s Diego Rubio opened the scoring in bizarre fashion just after kickoff, after Seattle couldn’t clear a ball in its own penalty box, allowing the SKC striker to pounce and lash a laser shot past Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei, giving the visitors a dream start inside of three minutes.
The lead would be short-lived, however, as Ruidíaz found himself on the end of a pinpoint cross from left back Brad Smith, giving the Peruvian the easy tap-in for the equalizer just 10 minutes later.
Seattle would then strike twice just after second-half kickoff, the first coming off the own goal that Shipp banked off Zusi. The Sounders were then awarded a penalty in the 56th minute after SKC defender Ike Opara was whistled for a handball in his own box off a cross from Smith, allowing Lodeiro to convert the penalty to move the lead to 3-1 that would hold as the final. Center back Chad Marshall received a red card late in the match after referee Baldomero Toledo deemed him to have denied an obvious goal-scoring opportunity and the Sounders would finish the match with 10 men.
It was a milestone victory for Seattle, as the Sounders came into the contest tied with this very same SKC side for the longest win streak in MLS history with seven. Seattle now have that single-season post-shootout era record all to themselves with the eighth straight victory, as the club continues its recent tear and climb up the Western Conference table. The Rave Green - with a slate of Week 27 MLS matches to come Saturday evening and Sunday - currently sit in 4th place with 41 points.
Nicolás Lodeiro and Harry Shipp celebrate after Shipp forced an SKC own goal / Mike Fiechtner
This may have been Seattle’s toughest test yet over the course of this recent run, as SKC are currently in second place in the West at 45 points and were on a four-game win streak of their own prior to Saturday’s match. They made it difficult, too, with Rubio’s opener making for a bit of a shocking start to the match and generating a couple of chances at a go-ahead tally that would have drastically altered the complexion of the match.
BYE WEEK LOOMS
The Sounders will now have some time off coming off the victory, as they’ll get next weekend off for the upcoming FIFA international break. Seattle had a handful of players get called into for duty for those matches, so keep an eye out for Raúl Ruidíaz (Peru), Gustav Svensson (Sweden), Román Torres (Panama) and Jordy Delem (Martinique), as they represent their countries over the weekend. Seattle return to MLS play with a road matchup against the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday, Sept. 15.
SKC - Diego Rubio (Gerso Fernandes) 2'
SEA - Raúl Ruidíaz (Brad Smith, Osvaldo Alonso) 12'
SEA - Graham Zusi (OG) 52'
SEA - Nicolás Lodeiro (PK) 56'
SEA - Kim Kee-hee (Unsporting Behavior) 27'
SKC - Diego Rubio (Unsporting Behavior) 32'
SKC - Ilie Sánchez (Dissent) 43'
SKC - Ike Opara (Unsporting Behavior) 45'+1'
SEA - Chad Marshall (Denial of obvious goal scoring opportunity) 81'
SEA - Stefan Frei (Dissent)