The Seattle Sounders earned goals from Raúl Ruidíaz and Kelvin Leerdam, but couldn’t overcome a hat trick from Johnny Russell, dropping a 3-2 result to Sporting Kansas City at Children’s Mercy Park on Sunday.
Russell struck for a brace in the first half, the first coming in the 29th minute and the second in first-half stoppage time with a pair of rocket finishes past Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei.
Ruidiaz got Seattle on the board in the 63rd minute after finishing off a chance set up by a nifty spin move and cross from Leerdam to cut the lead in half, but Russell struck for his hat trick just minutes later to put the Sounders back down by two goals.
Leerdam headed home a corner kick in the 71st minute to pull the Sounders within 3-2, but Russell’s third would stand as the game-winner as Seattle chased an equalizer that never quite materialized.
With the defeat, the Sounders fell to 7-2-5 and remain on 26 points through 14 matches ahead of their next game, which will pit them against another Western Conference foe in FC Dallas at Toyota Stadium on Saturday.
RUSSELL RUNS WILD
SKC’s 29-year-old Scottish international was a man possessed in this contest, finishing off seemingly every chance he got in the box. The Sounders didn’t have an answer for him on the day, with his third goal proving to be the decisive blow.
Center back Kim Kee-hee was exited the contest in the first half with what looked like a leg injury, forcing Brian Schmetzer to sub on newly signed Ecuadorian Xavier Arreaga for his MLS debut. It came sooner and under less ideal circumstances than Head Coach Brian Schmetzer would have liked, but Arreaga finished off the game, showcasing some of the skillset that led to the Sounders bringing him in as a Designated Player. With the retirement of Chad Marshall, expect Arreaga to become a fixture in Seattle’s back line sooner rather than later.
LEERDAM LIGHTS IT UP
Leerdam was the standout performer in defeat, factoring in both of Seattle’s goals with the highlight-reel assist to Ruidiaz and the set-piece finish that gave the Sounders a ray of hope in the second half. The Dutch right back has been more active on the stat sheet thus far in 2019 for Seattle, as he’s now up to four goals and two assists through 12 starts.