Sporting Kansas City proved to be too much for ninth-place Seattle, as they won their fourth straight home match. SKC grabbed another three points from their defeat over Seattle.
Sporting notched its’ 82nd consecutive sell-out in MLS matches, although it was apparent some people decided to stay home and avoid the intense heat. With the temperature around 95 degrees throughout the match, the match would be stopped once in the 30th minute and once in the 70th minute for hydration breaks.
Kansas City dealt with good and bad news over the week regarding injuries.
Graham Zusi returned to the line-up after missing three straight matches with a hamstring injury. The return of Zusi came along with the loss of Matt Besler, who strained his MCL in training over the course of the week.
In addition to Sunday’s match vs Seattle Sounders FC, it was announced Besler would miss next week’s MLS All-Star game as well.
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Sporting Kansas City started strong against Seattle, who are near the bottom of the Western Conference, dominating possession early. In the 21st minute, SKC strung together a string of beautiful passes, cutting through Seattle defenders, and ended when Roger Espinoza crossed the ball to Dom Dwyer, who slipped the header past Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei for the opening goal.
SKC doubled their lead just before halftime, thanks to a golazo by Jacob Peterson. In first half stoppage time, Saad Abdul-Salaam made a run down the right side of the field, and passed back across to Peterson in the box, who shot the ball past Frei into the top left corner of the net.
Sporting really opened up the match in the second half, creating chance after chance on counter attacks. After many near misses, Dom Dwyer scored his second goal of the match, blasting a shot past Stefan Frei into the back of the net. Seattle didn’t get their first and only shot of the match until the 88th minute, and that shot drew a sarcastic cheer from Sounders supporters at Children’s Mercy Park.
Cameron Porter made his SKC debut in the second half after being acquired from Montreal Impact FC just over a week ago.
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Porter showed off his skills, with a cheeky nutmeg on Joevin Jones late in the match. It’d have been nice to see Porter be more aggressive in the attacking third, but SKC’s big lead and the fact that this was his first action for the club are likely to blame.
Porter showed a little bit of what Sporting saw in him when they acquired him, and he has the potential to be a huge part of this team down the stretch of the MLS season.
Coming into the match, Sporting had fallen to seventh, outside the playoffs, after two straight losses. The win moves SKC into a tie for fourth place in the West, now just four points behind LA Galaxy for third.
SKC’s next two matches both come against Portland Timbers FC, one at home and one on the road, and they’ll be pivotal for the playoff race. Portland fell to seventh with Sporting’s win today and are just two points behind Kansas City for fourth place in the Western Conference.
Each team has a chance to change the standings and put some distance between themselves and the other in the extremely tight Western Conference. Sporting will have the advantage in the first match, having won four straight at Children’s Mercy Park, and they’ll be hungry to carry that momentum to Portland.