Recap: Sporting Kansas City's depth delivers in 1-1 draw against Seattle Sounders

Sporting Kansas City picked up an important point in the Western Conference playoff race with a 1-1 draw against the Seattle Sounders FC on Sunday at Sporting Park. Dom Dwyer scored the game-tying goal in the 79th minute, five minutes after coming off the bench, to cancel out Obafemi Martins first-half strike.

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Playing the second of four games in an 11-day stretch and the club's final match before the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final on Wednesday in Philadelphia, Manager Peter Vermes showcased his squad's depth against a full-strength Sounders side that won the MLS Supporters' Shield a season ago. Sporting KC fielded all three of the team's Homegrown players - Jon Kempin, Erik Palmer-Brown and Kevin Ellis - for the first time in club history while utilizing all eight players on the club's supplemental roster and starting six players 22 years of age or younger.

Twenty-one-year-old midfielder Jordi Quintilla made his first start since arriving last month, while Bernardo Anor made his first start since the season opener. The duo - who entered the match without a single shot on goal this season in their 14 total appearances - combined for five attempts on target in the first half.

Quintilla made an immediate impact, forcing a fingertip save from Stefan Frei in the seventh minute with a shot from the edge of the penalty area. The Seattle goalkeeper was called into action again on the ensuing corner kick, taken by Connor Hallisey, as Anor's header was grabbed on the goalline.

On the opposite end, 22-year-old Jon Kempin made his first of two saves on the night in the 25th minute to smother a shot from Martins. The two-time MLS All-Star and reigning Best XI selection would not be denied in the 32nd minute however, scoring his team-leading 14th goal of the season. The Nigerian Designated Player raced onto a ball from Gonzalo Pineda and held off a challenge from Kevin Ellis before finding the back of the net for the fifth straight game.

Sporting Kansas City would be shut out in the first half for a sixth straight game, but closed out the opening 45 minutes with a pair of scoring opportunities. Anor matched his single-game career high with a third shot on goal in the 43rd minute, while Quintilla saw his shot from 10 yards out deflected and ultimately held by Frei after Hallisey had beaten fellow 2015 SuperDraft selection Oniel Fisher on the dribble to deliver a dangerous cross from the endline.

The early highlight of the second half came in the 52nd minute when Kempin made a point-blank save on U.S. Men's National Team captain Clint Dempsey. Fellow Designated Player Nelson Valdez provided a pinpoint pass into the path of Dempsey at the top of the six-yard box and Dempsey was poised to double the visitors lead with a first-time shot until Kempin slid to his right to make an acrobatic save.

Sporting Kansas City had been held without a shot on goal in the second half until Dwyer entered with 15 minutes remaining for his 100th appearance across all competitions and he wasted little time in pulling his side level. Jacob Peterson, wearing the captain's armband, and rookie Amadou Dia set up the equalizer as Dia first made an overlapping run and then found Dwyer at the backpost for a sliding finish. Dwyer now has 16 goals across all competition in 2015, most among all Sporting KC players, and 44 goals in his career across all competitions -- breaking a tie with Chris Klein for fourth most in club history.

The series between Sporting KC and Seattle has been marked by late goals, including Benny Feilhaber's 84th minute game-winner in the previous meeting, and there was again suspense until the final whistle on Sunday. Dempsey directed another attempt, from nearly the same spot as his earlier effort, inches wide of the post in the 85th minute and Dwyer snapped a header just off target three minutes later.

It would be Sporting Kansas City, who improved to 13-1-5 at home this season, with the last look at a go-ahead goal and it came in the final minute of stoppage time. Frei did well to make a one-handed stop at his near post on a strongly-struck shot from Dwyer, then was rescued by Fisher with a goalline clearance after Mikey Lopez was first to the rebound.

Sunday's draw marked the second time the two teams had split points in 2015 as Sporting KC went 1-0-2 against the Sounders in 2015. The five points earned were more than Sporting KC had secured in the previous nine all-time series meetings (1-7-1). 

Both sides remain separated by a single point in the Western Conference standings with Sporting KC sitting in fifth place with four games remaining in the regular season. The top six teams in each conference will qualify for the postseason as Sporting KC seeks a fifth straight playoff berth.

Sporting KC, who prevailed over the Sounders in the 2012 U.S. Open Cup Final, will play for the team's third title in the tournament when they take the field against the Philadelphia Union at 6 p.m. CT on Wednesday at PPL Park. The championship match will be nationally televised on ESPN2 and Univision Deportes Network with a free watch party available to fans of all ages at the KC Live! Block in the Kansas City Power and Light District in downtown Kansas City.

Major League Soccer
Regular Season: Game 30
 
Sporting Park | Kansas City, Kan.
Attendance: 19,496 (68th straight sell out)
Weather: 80 degrees and partly cloudy
 
SportingKC.com Links
2nd Half: Dom Dwyer Goal
Full Time: Video Highlights
Full Time: Photo Gallery
Postgame: Mikey Lopez
Postgame: Jacob Peterson
Postgame: Dom Dwyer
Postgame: Amadou Dia
Postgame: Peter Vermes
Postgame: Quote Sheet

Score

1

2

F

Sporting KC (12-9-9, 45 pts)

0

1

1

Seattle Sounders FC (14-13-4, 46 pts)

1

0

1

Sporting Kansas City: Jon Kempin; Amadou Dia, Erik Palmer-Brown, Kevin Ellis, Jalil Anibaba (Saad Abdul-Salaam 66); Paulo Nagamura (Soni Mustivar 46), Jordi Quintilla, Mikey Lopez; Bernardo Anor (Dom Dwyer 74), Jacob Peterson, Connor Hallisey

Subs Not Used: Trey Mitchell, Jimmy Medranda, Marcel de Jong, Amobi Okugo

Seattle Sounders FC: Stefan Frei; Tyrone Mears, Zach Scott, Brad Evans (c), Oniel Fisher; Gonzalo Pineda, Osvaldo Alonso (Erik Friberg 73), Nelson Valdez (Lamar Neagle 84), Andrea Ivanschitz (Marco Pappa 64); Clint Dempsey, Obafemi Martins

Subs Not Used: Troy Perkins, Chad Marshall, Cristian Roldan, Leonardo Gonzalez

Stats

SKC

SEA

Shots

12

9

Shots on Goal

7

3

Saves

2

6

Fouls

15

7

Offside

1

1

Corner Kicks

5

2

Misconduct Summary:
SKC -- Paulo Nagamura (caution; reckless foul) 35
SEA -- Osvaldo Alonso (caution; tactical foul) 44
SKC -- Erik Palmer-Brown (caution; reckless foul) 82

Scoring Summary:
SEA -- Obafemi Martins 14 (Gonzalo Pineda 2) 32  
SKC -- Dom Dwyer 11 (Amadou Dia 1, Jacob Peterson 2) 79

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