Preview: SKC eager to extend unbeaten streak vs. Seattle
Their unbeaten streak reaching league-record territory, Sporting Kansas City continue their long homestand when Seattle Sounders FC come to Livestrong Sporting Park on Saturday night. Sporting extended their unbeaten run to league-best 14 games this season, with a 2-0 win against Real Salt Lake at midweek. Sounders FC are coming off a 3-1 loss at Houston in league play, though they advanced in the CONCACAF Champions League at home at midweek.
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REFEREE: Jair Marrufo. SAR (bench): Frank Anderson; JAR (opposite): James Conlee; 4th: Fotis Bazakos
MLS Career: 117 games; FC/gm: 24.7; Y/gm: 3.2; R: 28; pens: 40
INJURY REPORT: SPORTING KANSAS CITY – OUT: DF Korede Aiyegbusi (concussion); MF Davy Arnaud (sports hernia surgery); DF Aurelien Collin (lower back fracture); DF Kevin Ellis (R ankle sprain); Craig Rocastle (R knee sprain); MF Konrad Warzycha (R knee surgery); DOUBTFUL: DF Chance Myers (R quad strain) … SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC – OUT: MF Steve Zakuani (R leg fracture); GK Terry Boss (concussion); DOUBTFUL: MF Brad Evans (hamstring strain); QUESTIONABLE: DF Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (knee MCL sprain)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED: KC: Roger Espinoza (through Aug. 7)
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: KC: Aurelien Collin … SEA: Servando Carrasco, Fredy Montero
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: KC: Omar Bravo, Julio Cesar … SEA: Osvaldo Alonso, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, James Riley, Tyson Wahl
ALL-TIME (5 meetings): Sporting 1 win, 4 goals … Sounders FC 4 wins, 7 goals … Ties 0
AT KC (2 meetings): Sporting 0 wins, 2 goals … Sounders FC 2 wins, 5 goals … Ties 0
- The teams are meeting for the second time this season, after yet another late goal gave Sounders FC a victory against KC, Jeff Parke scoring in stoppage time in a 1-0 win May 21 at Qwest Field.
- Sounders FC have won the last four meetings between the teams in league play, five in a row when adding a U.S. Open Cup encounter.
- Kansas City’s only win all-time against Seattle came in 2009 at Qwest Field, a 1-0 victory in the first meeting ever between the clubs.
- Coaches record: Peter Vermes vs. SEA: P4 W0 L4 D0 … Sigi Schmid v KC: P37 W17 L15 D5
LAST MEETING (MLS)
5/21: SEA 1, KC 0 (Parke 93+)
- Once again, it was late heroics to give Sounders FC the victory against Kansas City. Jeff Parke scored his first MLS goal in seven years, heading home a Tyson Wahl corner kick three minutes into stoppage time for the winner. A year ago, Seattle snatched a late 1-0 win on a last-minute goal from Mike Fucito.
- SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC (4-1-3-2): Kasey Keller – James Riley, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Jeff Parke, Tyson Wahl - Osvaldo Alonso - Servando Carrasco (Nate Jaqua 55), Mauro Rosales (Mike Fucito 69), Alvaro Fernandez - Roger Levesque, Fredy Montero (Patrick Ianni 95+).
- SPORTING KANSAS CITY (4-2-3-1): Jimmy Nielsen - Michael Harrington, Aurelien Collin, Matt Besler, Roger Espinoza - Davy Arnaud, Craig Rocastle - Kei Kamara, Omar Bravo (Graham Zusi 76), Ryan Smith (Chance Myers 86) - Teal Bunbury (C.J. Sapong 73).
SPORTING KANSAS CITY
Sporting Kansas City extended their undefeated streak to 14 games, getting two first-half goals for a 2-0 win against Real Salt Lake on Wednesday evening at Livestrong Sporting Park. Sporting have 30 points from 22 matches on the season, tied for third place in the Eastern Conference.
- Sporting opened the scoring on 29 minutes. Roger Espinoza stole a pass at the top of the box and burst into the area before driving a left-footed rocket just under the sprawling Nick Rimando in the RSL goal.
- Just five minutes later, SKC was up 2-0. Rimando made an impressive diving save on a Kei Kamara header from a long throw, but could only push it wide of the goalmouth, and Alex Bunbury swooped in to hammer the rebound off Rimando's hand and to the back of the net.
- Kansas City went down a man in the 56th minute after Espinoza was sent off for a tackle from behind on Kyle Beckerman, but the visitors could not take advantage.
- Sporting manager Peter Vermes made three changes to the team that grabbed a late 1-1 draw with the New England Revolution at Livestrong Sporting Park. Michael Harrington, Omar Bravo and Teal Bunbury came into the team, for Chance Myers, Daneil Cyrus and C.J. Sapong.
- SPORTING KANSAS CITY (4-2-3-1): Jimmy Nielsen - Michael Harrington, Julio Cesar, Matt Besler, Seth Sinovic - Roger Espinoza (sent off 57), Jeferson (Birahim Diop 79) - Kei Kamara (C.J. Sapong 74), Omar Bravo (Luke Sassano 94+), Graham Zusi - Teal Bunbury.
- The victory matched the LA Galaxy’s 14-game unbeaten streak as the longest in MLS this season, and is tied for the sixth-longest in MLS history. The LA Galaxy twice had streaks of 15 games (1997-98 and 2009-10); those marks are next on the leaderboard. Real Salt Lake and FC Dallas hold the record with 19-game unbeaten streaks.
- “I thought if you compare it to our last couple of games here at home and all the games that we’ve played throughout the season there is one other game I can compare this to and this was probably the best 90-minute performance that we’ve played all year,” said SKC manager Peter Vermes.
- Teal Bunbury has goals in back-to-back games for the second time this season, after netting in back-to-back games March 26 vs. Chicago and April 2 (two) vs. Vancouver – his last goals before scoring last weekend vs. New England.
- Roger Espinoza scored his first goal in MLS since his rookie season – July 17, 2008, during a 3-3 draw with the Columbus Crew, where he spent his college years.
- Roger was at a different level tonight. Not just his goal but his pressing and anticipation on the ball,” said Vermes. “I can’t tell you much about the red card because I really did not see it and I didn’t get a chance to see the replay even if there was one. … But the one thing I will say was that from the opening whistle his commitment to press the ball and cut out passing lanes was fantastic.”
- Sporting recorded a shutout for the first time since a scoreless result at the Philadelphia Union on June 22.
- “I think we played probably our best game this season over 90 minutes; very solid. In the first half I don’t think they had a shot on target,” said goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen. “When we got a man down we still played with big discipline and very aggressive and hard but fair. I think overall a credit to the whole team. It was a tough performance by the team today.”
- Sporting have had three league games at midweek with a game following quickly at the weekend, and they’ve recorded two wins and a draw in those quick turnarounds.
- “We’re used to the quick turnaround. We’ve been playing Wednesdays and Saturdays for about the last month now,” said midfielder Graham Zusi. “We just need to get our bodies healthy again, and just come out the way we did tonight. Seattle is a good team, and during the week we really need to focus on the way we play.”
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC
Seattle Sounders FC saw their undefeated run come to an end after nine games, falling 3-1 to the Houston Dynamo on Saturday evening at Robertson Stadium. Sounders FC have 38 points from 23 games on the season, sitting in third place in the Western Conference.
- The Dynamo took the lead after seven minutes. Geoff Cameron sent in a cross that Brian Ching was unable to bring down, but Colin Clark was right there in the six-yard box to settle the ball and put home a left-footed shot.
- The home side doubled its lead in the 23rd minute when Cameron took a layoff from Brad Davis and put a curling ball in the box, where Ching sent a well-placed header just inside the left post.
- Seattle pulled within one in the 36th minute when forward Fredy Montero drew a foul in the penalty box after Corey Ashe caught him from behind. Referee Niko Bratsis immediately pointed to the spot, and Alvaro Fernandez converted the penalty kick.
- But the Dynamo restored their margin in the 70th minute after a furious sequence that saw Houston take three shots. Cam Weaver and Adam Moffat both saw efforts from distance blocked until Clark finally sent a right-footed pass across the box that Ching buried from the corner of the six-yard box.
- Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid made no changes to the team that defeated the Colorado Rapids 4-3 at Qwest Field.
- SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC (4-4-2): Kasey Keller - James Riley, Jeff Parke, Patrick Ianni, Tyson Wahl - Mauro Rosales, Erik Friberg, Osvaldo Alonso, Alvaro Fernandez (Mike Fucito 78) - Fredy Montero (Pat Noonan 67), Roger Levesque (Nate Jaqua 57).
- In addition to seeing their club-record undefeated run come to an after nine games, Sounders FC saw their road unbeaten streak put to a stop after six games. Seattle had won five of their last six league games.
- “It just feels like a long stretch. I think right now their minds are a blank slate. I don’t know what they are feeling. I think they are feeling tired and disappointed and embarrassed,” said Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid. “We have to make sure we get together for our next game.”
- Alvaro Fernandez moved into a tie for the team lead with six goals, scoring for a second consecutive match and the third time in five league games.
- In the first 20 MLS games, Sounders FC conceded multiple goals in a game four times. They’ve now conceded multiple goals in each of the last three league games, allowing eight goals in that time.
- “It’s just frustrating because when you lose their leading goal scorer a couple times inside the six, and he bangs those balls in, those are the things that are frustrating. Getting beat on something special, it happens and I’m making them earn it,” said goalkeeper Kasey Keller. “But just giving them chance after chance is something we really need to get out of our game if we want to continue to make a run. Right now, it’s just too easy to score goals against us, and that’s not the way we normally play.”
- After the games of July 4, Sounders FC had the third-best defensive record in the league, allowing less than a goal per game (0.90). They have fallen to seventh in MLS (1.13); they still have the second-best attack in MLS, scoring 1.43 goals per game (33 in 23 games).
- “I think we have been a little bit shaky defensively for weeks now. We got to a stage where we couldn’t outscore the opponent. If you give away too many of those chances from six yards out, you are going to lose some games,” said Keller. “We have to clean up our game. We have been talking about it the past few weeks, and [against Houston] we got punished for it.”
- On Wednesday, Sounders FC went to extra time, but finally got past San Francisco FC of Panama in their CONCACAF Champions League preliminary round series. Alvaro Fernandez scored in the 41st minute to level the tie on aggregate, then Nate Jaqua scored in the 98th minute to send Sounders FC through to the group stage.
- Here’s the Sounders FC team: Kasey Keller, James Riley, Jeff Parke, Zach Scott, Leo Gonzalez, Mauro Rosales, Osvaldo Alonso, Erik Friberg (Servando Carrasco 112), Alvaro Fernandez (Lamar Neagle 111), Pat Noonan (Nate Jaqua 68), Fredy Montero.