SEATTLE — Once again, Seattle left it late. And this time, the goal came from the most unlikely of sources.
Jeff Parke scored his first MLS goal in seven years, heading home a Tyson Wahl corner kick in stoppage time to give Seattle an unexpected 1-0 win over Sporting Kansas City Saturday night at Qwest Field.
The last time these two teams met at Seattle's home field, the Sounders stole a 1-0 victory on a late Mike Fucito goal. This time, the heroics belonged to Parke, who rose above a crowd of players to direct a header just inside the far post.
It was a fortuitous ending for Seattle, who had failed to generate much offense until that point.
Playing their eighth consecutive road match as they await the debut of LIVESTRONG Sporting Park, Sporting defended well all night and stymied the makeshift Seattle attack. They also attacked well at times, forcing five saves from Seattle goalkeeper Kasey Keller, who earned his third shutout of the season.
Neither team could find a rhythm early as scoring opportunities were at a premium. Sporting KC had the better early chances, including a hard low shot from Ryan Smith in the fifth minute. Keller made the initial save, then gobbled up a rebound attempt that Omar Bravo mis-hit.
As the half moved forward, the home team grasped the momentum, but had difficulty turning possession into shots on goal.
In the 20th minute, Seattle’s Mauro Rosales earned a free header in the penalty area, but his effort went over Jimmy Nielsen’s crossbar. Fourteen minutes later, the Argentine had players queuing up for a cross from the right side, but the Kansas City defense interceded. Seattle failed to post a shot on goal in the first half, despite some good passing spells.
Kansas City might have expected to do better offensively as well. With Smith making his first start of the season after offseason knee surgery, Sporting KC offered arguably their strongest attacking personnel for the first time this season.
C.J. Sapong came on in the 73rd minute to provide an additional spark, replacing Teal Bunbury. Bunbury would have liked to have scored, especially with friend and University of Akron teammate Steve Zakuani watching in the stands. It was the Seattle midfielder’s first appearance at Qwest Field since his injury at Colorado on April 22.
Fucito, a second-half substitute, nearly stole the spoils for Seattle late, but his 83rd-minute shot was well blocked by defender Matt Besler. That set up Parke’s heroics in stoppage time, giving Seattle three points just one week after a disappointing draw at home vs. the Portland Timbers.
Seattle (4-3-5, 17 points) face a short turnaround before their next match as FC Dallas come into town on May 25. Sporting Kansas City (1-6-1, 4 points) continue their epic road trip to start the season, playing May 28 at Colorado.
SEA -- Jeff Parke 1 (Tyson Wahl 1) 93+
SEA -- Alvaro Fernandez (caution; Delaying a Restart) 44
KC -- Ryan Smith (caution; Dissent) 49
SEA -- Servando Carrasco (caution; Tactical Foul) 51
SEA -- Mauro Rosales (caution; Reckless Tackle) 64
SEA -- Osvaldo Alonso (caution; Tactical Foul) 84
Sporting KC -- Jimmy Nielsen, Michael Harrington, Aurelien Collin, Matt Besler, Roger Espinoza, Craig Rocastle, Ryan Smith (Chance Myers 86), Kei Kamara, Davy Arnaud, Omar Bravo (Graham Zusi 76), Teal Bunbury (C.J. Sapong 73).
Substitutes Not Used: Birahim Diop, Julio Cesar, Luke Sassano, Eric Kronberg.
Seattle Sounders -- Kasey Keller, James Riley, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Tyson Wahl, Servando Carrasco (Nate Jaqua 55), Osvaldo Alonso, Alvaro Fernandez, Mauro Rosales (Mike Fucito 69), Fredy Montero (Patrick Ianni 89), Roger Levesque.
Substitutes Not Used: Erik Friberg, Lamar Neagle, Zach Scott, Terry Boss.
Referee: Geoff Gamble
Referee's Assistants: Corey Rockwell; Eric Proctor
4th Official: Drew Fischer
Time of Game: 1:53
Weather: Cloudy and 53 degrees