Sporting Kansas City (0-3-2, 2 points) fell 4-1 to Seattle Sounders FC (3-1-1, 10 points) on Saturday night at Children’s Mercy Park.
Forward Willy Agada lifted Sporting into an early lead with his first goal of the season, but Seattle replied emphatically as U.S. international Jordan Morris scored four unanswered goals—three of which were assisted by winger Leo Chu—as the Sounders snapped their 10-game road winless skid dating back to last July.
Manager Peter Vermes fielded an unchanged lineup from last weekend’s road loss to FC Dallas, marking the first time Sporting has deployed the same XI in consecutive matches since last August. At the forefront, seven-time MLS All-Star Graham Zusi logged his 400th appearance for Sporting in all competitions, becoming Kansas City’s first player to hit that milestone, while Daniel Salloi played his 150th regular season match and fellow forward Khiry Shelton eclipsed 100 regular season appearances for the club.
On the bench, Sporting’s depth was bolstered by the welcome returns of forward Johnny Russell and goalkeeper Tim Melia—both of whom had recovered from preseason injuries—as well as Mexican striker Alan Pulido, the club’s prized Designated Player who had been sidelined for the last 15 months recovering from knee surgery.
Buoyed by a buzzing home crowd, Sporting drew first blood inside five minutes. Salloi, who entered the weekend ranking third in MLS in shot attempts, swiftly cut past Cristian Roldan and Josh Atencio on the left edge of the box before smashing low to force a save from Seattle goalkeeper Stefan Frei at the near post. Agada, however, was on hand to cannon the rebound into the roof of the net for his eighth in as many starts at Children’s Mercy Park since joining the club last summer.
Agada has now scored each of his last two goals in home appearances against Seattle, having bagged the winner in a 1-0 decision last October. The scoring play clocked in as Sporting’s earliest regular season tally since Remi Walter struck in the fourth minute of a 2-1 road victory at Seattle on Oct. 23, 2021.
Seattle equalized in the 23rd minute off a break down the left flank. Galloping at full stride, Chu fizzed a low delivery across the face of goal for Morris to slot home at close range, breaking Sporting’s 235-minute home shutout streak dating back to Sept. 17, 2022.
The final 45 minutes belonged to the visitors. Morris notched his second of the evening in the 54th minute, finishing off an incisive attack involving Chu and Joao Paulo after Sporting keeper John Pulskamp did well initially repel a free kick attempt from Nicolas Lodeiro. Morris then secured his first career MLS hat trick on 69 minutes, slotting low into the right corner off a bending Lodeiro cross.
Morris buried his fourth goal of the game and his MLS-leading seventh of the season on a header, nodding past Pulskamp off Chu’s looping cross from the left side of the penalty area.
Russell, Sporting’s captain since 2021, entered in the 61st minute for his first appearance of the season, and in the 84th minute midfielder Danny Flores was summoned for his MLS and Sporting debut.
Vermes’ men will look to bounce back next Saturday when they travel to face reigning the Eastern Conference champion Philadelphia Union (2-3-0, 6 points). Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. CT with live coverage on Apple TV’s MLS Season Pass.
2023 MLS Regular Season | Match 5
Children's Mercy Park | Kansas City, Kansas
Weather: 54 degrees and clear
Sporting Kansas City (0-3-2, 2 points)
Seattle Sounders FC (3-1-1, 10 points)
Sporting Kansas City: John Pulskamp; Graham Zusi (Jake Davis 83'), Robert Voloder, Andreu Fontas, Ben Sweat; Remi Walter, Roger Espinoza (Felipe Hernandez 46'), Erik Thommy (C) (Cam Duke 70'); Khiry Shelton (Johnny Russell 61'), Willy Agada (Danny Flores 84'), Daniel Salloi
Subs Not Used: Tim Melia, Robert Castellanos, Chris Rindov, Alan Pulido
Seattle Sounders FC: Stefan Frei; Cristian Roldan (Sota Kitahara 87'), Yeimar Gomez Andrade, Jackson Ragen, Kelyn Rowe (Ethan Dobbelaere 84'); Joao Paulo (Danny Leyva 84'), Josh Atencio; Albert Rusnak, Nicolas Lodeiro (C), Leo Chu (Fredy Montero 78'); Jordan Morris (Dylan Teves 84')
Subs Not Used: Jacob Castro, Stefan Cleveland, Abdoulaye Cissoko
SKC -- Willy Agada 1 (unassisted) 5'
SEA -- Jordan Morris 4 (Leo Chu 1) 23'
SEA -- Jordan Morris 5 (Leo Chu 2, Joao Paulo 1) 54'
SEA -- Jordan Morris 6 (Nicolas Lodeiro 1) 69'
SEA -- Jordan Morris 7 (Leo Chu 3, Albert Rusnak 1) 77'
SKC -- Ben Sweat (yellow card; unsporting behavior) 53'
SKC -- Ben Sweat (red card; second yellow card) 63'
Shots on Goal
Referee: Alex Chilowicz
Assistant Referee: Chris Wattam
Assistant Referee: Meghan Mullen
Fourth Official: Jon Freemon
VAR: Kevin Terry Jr.
AVAR: Peter Balciunas