Sporting confronts vivid history with visit to Seattle
Heartbreaking. Head-scratching. Downright unlucky.
All of which could describe Sporting Kansas City’s painful three-year history against the Seattle Sounders FC. Since becoming Major League Soccer’s 15th team in 2009, Seattle is 5-1-0 versus Sporting KC and undefeated at CommunityAmerica Ballpark and LIVESTRONG Sporting Park.
This lopsided advantage, however, is not indicative of how competitive the series has been. Consider the following:
· All six games in the matchup have been decided by a single goal
· Seattle has sealed three wins in second-half stoppage time and come from behind to win twice
· Eight of Seattle’s nine goals in the series have come in the second half, four of which were scored beyond the 90th minute
· In the six matches combined, Sporting KC has outshot Seattle 72-63 and holds a 36-26 edge in corner kicks
It is plain to see why Sporting KC feels terribly snake-bitten against the Pacific Northwest club. Erase Seattle’s four stoppage time goals, and the series is an even 2-2-2.
Peter Vermes’ men will be hoping for a reverse in fortune Wednesday night at CenturyLink Field in Seattle. The current form of both clubs appears to favor the visitors. Sporting KC has bounced back from its four-game winless streak with two comprehensive victories, while Seattle has collected just two points from five games.
On the other hand, given the way this matchup has played out, Seattle may own the psychological edge. One thing is certain: Wednesday night’s match should be highly entertaining. Until then, here’s a brief game-by-game summary of Sporting KC’s wretched past with Seattle.
April 11, 2009: Wizards 1, Sounders 0 (in Seattle)
Things started brightly for the then-Wizards, who handed Seattle their first ever-loss in MLS. Davy Arnaud’s excellent 35-yard strike in the 80th minute silenced 28,780 Sounders fans.
October 17, 2009: Sounders 3, Wizards 2 (in Kansas City)
Kansas City fell behind 1-0, but surged ahead with two goals early in the second half. However, Seattle's Roger Levesque equalized with a header in the 69th minute and Nate Jaqua scored the game-winner seven minutes later. Seattle clinched a playoff spot and the Wizards were eliminated from playoff contention.
April 17, 2010: Sounders 1, Wizards 0 (in Seattle)
Seattle’s second half substitute Michael Fucito fired home the winner 75 seconds into stoppage time. It was the first goal that keeper Jimmy Nielsen conceded as a Wizard, having pitched 270 shutout minutes prior to Fucito’s strike.
October 9, 2010: Sounders 2, Wizards 1 (in Kansas City)
For the second year in a row, Seattle sealed a playoff birth and virtually ended the Wizards’ season at CommunityAmerica Ballpark. Two goals in the second half from Sanna Nyassi and Alvaro Fernandez gave Seattle a comfortable lead. Arnaud pulled one back for Kansas City from the penalty spot in the 85th minute, but Kei Kamara’s shot to equalize in stoppage time hit the post.
May 21, 2011: Sounders 1, Sporting KC 0 (in Seattle)
It was déjà vu in Seattle as the Sounders snatched victory at the death. Jeff Parke’s header off a corner kick in the 93rd minute handed Sporting KC its fifth consecutive loss and sent them to the bottom of the MLS standings. Sporting KC wouldn’t lose again until…
August 6, 2011: Sounders 2, Sporting KC 1 (in Kansas City)
For Kansas City fans, this one probably stings the most. Sporting KC took a franchise-best 14-match unbeaten streak into its summer showdown with Seattle at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park. And for almost 90 minutes, it looked like another win for the home side. Kamara gave his team a 1-0 lead in the 19th minute, but Omar Bravo was sent off in the 59th, giving Seattle a one-man advantage for the final half hour. Sure enough, Mauro Rosales and Lamar Neagle scored less than two minutes apart in stoppage time. The shocking loss was Sporting KC’s first at its new stadium.